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- Bet on Buffett's company before Icahn's company: Barron's
- Sun, 09 Mar 2014 13:19:29 -0400 -
(Reuters) - Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc trades at a lower premium and has more earnings power than Carl Icahn's Icahn Enterprises Inc , and investors wishing to invest alongside either billionaire may want to side with the so-called Oracle of Omaha, Barron's said in its March 10 edition. Both conglomerates posted record profit in 2013, with Berkshire recording $19.5 billion of net income and $15.14 billion of operating income while Icahn Enterprises, a so-called master limited partnership, posted a $1.03 billion profit. Berkshire owns more than 80 businesses including the BNSF Railway and Geico car insurance, and shares such as Wells Fargo & Co and Coca-Cola Co . Icahn Enterprises owns stakes in companies like auto parts maker Federal Mogul Corp , and through investment in an Icahn hedge fund stocks such as Apple Inc and Herbalife Ltd .
- Rolls-Royce to buy Daimler stake of power systems unit with cash, borrowing
- Fri, 07 Mar 2014 13:33:01 -0500 -
By Li-mei Hoang LONDON (Reuters) - British engineering company Rolls-Royce said on Friday it would fund the purchase of German carmaker Daimler's 50 percent stake of a jointly owned power systems company using cash and some borrowing. Rolls-Royce said it had ample liquidity to take full ownership of the three-year-old joint venture Rolls-Royce Power Systems with Daimler's holding estimated to be worth 1.9 billion pounds ($3.18 billion). Jefferies analyst Sandy Morris said the surprise move could add up to 5-6 percent to its shares when they open on Monday. "The using of cash and borrowing facilities to pay for this clearly means that the related interest charge is modest and therefore the enhancement to Rolls-Royce's earnings is probably 5 or 6 percent and a useful little fillip," he said.
- South Africa's main stock index ends flat, Sanlam climbs
- Fri, 07 Mar 2014 10:47:18 -0500 -
South African stocks ended a see-saw session virtually unchanged on Friday, pulling back from record high set earlier in the day as investors digested the widely watched U.S. jobs data. But Sanlam, which posted a 39 percent jump in annual earnings this week, surged after several brokerages, including Barclays Capital, gave upbeat comments about its prospects. Shares in the nation's biggest insurer climbed 1.8 percent to 53.19 rand, making it the top gainer on Johannesburg's main stock index Overall, investors were largely cautious as they digested the U.S. jobs data that reassured them about the health of the world's biggest economy but also reinforced worries the U.S. will rein its economic stimulus programme. Job numbers are better than expected ... What's not in doubt is that the taper will continue as is" said Marcus Bullus, trading director of MB Capital.
- Kenyan shilling steady, shares edge up on earnings hopes
- Fri, 07 Mar 2014 10:18:15 -0500 -
By Duncan Miriri NAIROBI (Reuters) - The Kenyan shilling held steady against the dollar on Friday, while shares eked out meagre gains on expectations that some firms may post higher earnings for last year. "It's really range-bound," said Duncan Kinuthia, head of trading at Commercial Bank of Africa, adding there was a good supply of dollars at 86.50 and good demand for them at 86.30. In the stock market, the benchmark NSE-20 share index inched up 0.2 percent to close at 4906.72 points as investors bet firms that have not posted their full-year earnings will report profit growth. "They did 28 percent growth in earnings per share in the third quarter so for the full year they will be around that level," said Kuria Kamau, a research analyst at Kestrel Capital.
- S.Africa miner ARM says H1 earnings jump, helped by ferrous unit
- Fri, 07 Mar 2014 02:32:56 -0500 - Diversified mining group African Rainbow Minerals reported a 66 percent rise in headline earnings on Friday as higher prices and a weaker rand boosted its ferrous unit. Headline earnings per share for the six months to the end of December increased by two-thirds to 1,084 cents per share from 654 cents in the same period a year earlier. Headline EPS, the benchmark profit measure in South Africa, excludes certain one-time items. "ARM Ferrous headline earnings increased 108 percent, buoyed by higher dollar prices as well as a 19 percent weakening of the rand versus the dollar," the group said.
- Deep discounting eats into Costco's holiday-quarter profit
- Thu, 06 Mar 2014 15:22:07 -0500 -
(Reuters) - Warehouse retailer Costco Wholesale Corp reported a bigger-than-expected 15 percent fall in quarterly profit as unusually deep discounting in the holiday shopping season hurt margins, sending its shares down as much as 3.6 percent. Weaker gross margins, particularly during the holiday shopping season, and lower international profit due to a weakening of foreign exchange rates hurt earnings in the second quarter, Chief Financial Officer Richard Galanti said on a conference call with analysts. Wal-Mart Stores Inc , the world's largest retailer, last month blamed sharp cuts in food stamp benefits and higher payroll taxes for a disappointing full-year profit forecast. At Sam's Club, Wal-Mart's warehouse chain that competes with Costco, sales at stores open at least a year - a key retail metric called same-store sales - fell 0.1 percent in the quarter ended January 31.
- Staples to shut 225 stores in North America as sales fall
- Thu, 06 Mar 2014 11:02:23 -0500 -
Staples Inc said it would close up to 225 stores in the United States and Canada - 12 percent of its North America outlets - and forecast another quarter of sales decline as it loses customers to mass market chains and e-retailers. Shares of the largest U.S. office supplies retailer fell as much as 17 percent after the company also reported weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter results and forecast a profit for the current quarter that fell far below analysts' estimates. Staples has 1,846 stores in the United States and Canada. "Our customers are using less office supplies, they're shopping less often in our stores and more online, and their focus on value has made the marketplace even more competitive," Chief Executive Ronald Sargent said on a post-earnings call.
- Acquisition costs dent Cineworld earnings
- Thu, 06 Mar 2014 10:11:54 -0500 -
Cineworld Group Plc reported a 19 percent drop in pretax earnings for 2013 as a result of costs related to acquisitions including Poland's Cinema City group, a deal that made it Europe's second-biggest operator of movie theatres. Revenue rose 13.2 percent to 406.1 million pounds ($679.4 million), with the company's Picturehouse chain - which it bought in late 2012 - contributing 36.6 million pounds. The UK's biggest cinema operator, floated in 2007 by Blackstone Group, said it expected a "satisfactory" 2014. Cineworld shares were up 0.9 percent at 312 pence at 1407 GMT.
- Bamburi Cement's year profit down 23 pct
- Thu, 06 Mar 2014 09:09:30 -0500 - Kenya's Bamburi Cement reported a 23 percent drop in its annual pretax profit to 5.5 billion shillings on Thursday, due to poor demand in the first half of last year. Controlled by French firm Lafarge SA, Bamburi is the biggest cement maker in Kenya, where high demand has been fuelled by a construction boom in recent years. Turnover fell last year to 33.9 billion shillings from 37.5 billion shillings in 2012 and earnings per share slid to 9.55 shillings from 12.17 shillings. However, it raised its final dividend to 9 shillings a share from 8.50 shillings per share in 2012 having paid an interim dividend of 2 shillings a share in October and said it was optimistic for 2014 due to an improved business environment after last year's peaceful elections.
- Aviva CEO says turnaround to continue as profits rise
- Thu, 06 Mar 2014 07:37:45 -0500 -
By Chris Vellacott LONDON (Reuters) - British insurer Aviva unveiled a forecast-beating 6 percent rise in operating profit on Thursday, one year into a turnaround drive that has seen 2,000 lay-offs and sales of underperforming businesses. Operating expenses were down 7 percent and cost saving targets for the year were ahead of plan, Aviva said in an earnings statement on Thursday, although it noted a 60 million pound hit from flood losses in Britain during the first two months of 2014. Chief Executive Mark Wilson acknowledged progress since he joined at the start of 2013 with a remit to revive Aviva's fortunes after a shareholder rebellion that led to the departure of his predecessor. He cautioned, however, that he still saw room for improvement, particularly at divisions such as fund management arm Aviva Investors which saw 5 billion pounds of net outflows during 2013.
- UK house prices see fastest growth in five years in Feb - Halifax
- Thu, 06 Mar 2014 06:11:11 -0500 -
By Andy Bruce LONDON (Reuters) - British house prices jumped sharply in February, rising at the fastest monthly pace since May 2009, mortgage lender Halifax reported on Thursday. Halifax said house prices rose 2.4 percent in February compared with a 1.1 percent rise in January, far outstripping a Reuters poll consensus for a 0.7 percent gain. House prices in the three months to January were 7.9 percent higher than a year earlier, compared with 7.2 percent in January. Halifax said an improved economic outlook, falling unemployment and better confidence had boosted demand, but pressure on household finances and below-inflation growth in earnings would constrain the rise of house prices.
- Broadcaster RTL Group sees flat revenue in 2014
- Thu, 06 Mar 2014 05:22:05 -0500 - European broadcaster RTL Group expects revenues and core earnings to stagnate in 2014 as advertising markets across the continent are expected to remain challenging, it said on Thursday. "Assuming that European economies will continue to recover from the debt crisis, RTL Group expects its total revenue, at constant ... exchange rates, to be broadly stable," the group said in a statement. Earnings before interest, tax and amortization (EBITA), excluding special items, are also expected to remain flat this year, Europe's biggest broadcaster, majority-owned by German media conglomerate Bertelsmann, said. In 2013, sales fell 1.8 percent to 5.889 billion euros ($8.09 billion), the group said, citing negative exchange rate effects and lower revenues at its production arm FreemantleMedia.
- Cobham says U.S. defence, currency headwinds to hit 2014 profits
- Thu, 06 Mar 2014 04:30:40 -0500 - By Brenda Goh LONDON (Reuters) - British defence supplier Cobham said it expects the tough U.S. defence spending environment and unfavourable currency exchange rates to weigh on profits this year, after it posted a 4 percent decline in full-year 2013 pretax profits. Western defence firms are being squeezed as their biggest customers in the United States and Europe reduce spending amid a withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq. BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce also recently warned on earnings, citing U.S. budgetary pressures. Cobham, which pioneered in-flight fuelling and also makes communication equipment for military and commercial airplanes, said on Thursday it would maintain its forecast for low-to-mid single-digit decline in organic revenue in 2014, with a return to growth from the following year.
- Iron ore miner London Mining agrees offtake with Cargill
- Thu, 06 Mar 2014 02:26:13 -0500 - LONDON (Reuters) - Sierra Leone-focused London Mining said on Thursday it signed a five year offtake agreement with commodity trading giant Cargill as it posted core profit below analysts' expectations. The company said last year's EBITDA - earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation - totalled $54.1 million, below analysts' consensus of $77 million, according to a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S poll. London Mining produced almost 3.4 million tonnes of iron ore last year and it targets further growth in 2014. ...
- Strong lending propels Standard Bank FY earnings 14 pct higher
- Thu, 06 Mar 2014 02:09:16 -0500 -
By Helen Nyambura-Mwaura JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Standard Bank, Africa's largest bank by assets, reported a better-than-expected 14 percent rise in full-year earnings on Thursday after booking strong income from lending. Standard Bank said headline earnings per share totalled 1,064.9 cents for the period ended in December, from 935 cents last year. Headline EPS, the benchmark profit measure in South Africa, excludes certain one-time items. Banks in Africa's largest economy have struggled as high unemployment and household debt levels have blunted demand for loans and hurt corporate spending.
- StanChart reassures on capital in face of 'challenging' 2014
- Thu, 06 Mar 2014 00:21:42 -0500 -
By Steve Slater and Matt Scuffham LONDON (Reuters) - Standard Chartered Plc reassured investors about its capital strength on Wednesday, raising its dividend despite reporting its first drop in annual profits for a decade and giving a weak outlook for the first half. Once feted for its exposure to Asia which helped generate years of record earnings, StanChart is now under pressure to show it can adapt to slowing growth and rising bad loans. The bank said after a challenging year it had cut its bonus pool by 15 percent to $1.2 billion, with Chief Executive Peter Sands' own bonus down 21 percent to $2.5 million. The bank warned volatile trading conditions would hurt income and profits in the first half, but its shares were lifted by a 2 percent increase in the dividend and a bigger-than-expected cushion against future losses which reinforced the bank's message that it did not have to raise capital.
- Australia's Billabong faces possible class action lawsuit
- Wed, 05 Mar 2014 22:37:42 -0500 - Law firm Slater & Gordon Ltd said on Thursday it was preparing a class action lawsuit against Australian surfwear company Billabong International Ltd over alleged misleading conduct in information disclosure. The law firm said in a statement it would seek compensation from Billabong on behalf of its shareholders, alleging the company gave earnings guidance for 2012 financial year that lacked reasonable grounds. Billabong said in a filing to the Australian Securities Exchange that it had not been contacted by the law firm or been served any proceedings. Billabong forecast on August 19, 2011 that it would achieve strong earnings growth in finiancial year 2012, but it withdrew the guidance a few months later and said the earnings would suffer a substantial fall, sending Billabong shares down over 50 percent in the following days, Slater & Gordon said.
- Linamar posts higher quarterly results as sales climb
- Wed, 05 Mar 2014 16:45:17 -0500 - TORONTO (Reuters) - Linamar Corp , Canada's second-biggest auto parts maker, reported higher net earnings for the fourth quarter on Wednesday, bolstered by stronger sales in North America, Asia and Europe. Net earnings attributable to shareholders rose to C$68.7 million, or C$1.06 per share, more than double the C$30.7 million, or 47 Canadian cents per share, the company earned during the same period a year ago. Adjusted net earnings were C$55 million, or 85 Canadian cents a share. Revenue rose to C$926.1 million from C$756.5 million in 2012. ...
- Motor insurer Admiral looks outside UK for profits
- Wed, 05 Mar 2014 04:26:27 -0500 - By Jemima Kelly LONDON (Reuters) - British motor insurer Admiral Group Plc posted higher than expected pre-tax earnings growth of seven percent for 2013, boosted by new overseas business, sending its shares up four percent on Wednesday morning. In an annual earnings statement on Wednesday, the FTSE 100 company announced pre-tax profit of 370 million pounds ($617 million) for the 12 months to December 31, slightly above a consensus forecast of 364 million pounds. This is a comfort food set of results," said Chief Executive Henry Engelhardt. Admiral said that, while business in the UK remained flat, its U.S. auto insurance business Elephant Auto had expanded its vehicle base by 34 percent over the year, while Admiral Seguros in Spain had launched its second brand in the country in 2013.
- Weak S.African rand boosts MTN's annual earnings 27 pct
- Wed, 05 Mar 2014 01:51:04 -0500 - MTN Group, Africa's largest telecoms provider, posted a 27 percent jump in full-year earnings on Wednesday, lifted by foreign exchange gains and strong growth in data revenue. Johannesburg-based MTN, which has operations in nearly two dozen countries across Africa and the Middle East, said diluted headline earnings rose to 1,378 cents per share in the year to end-December, from 1,082 cents a year earlier. Headline EPS, the main profit measure in South Africa, excludes certain one-time items. MTN said last month its earnings would rise by 25 to 30 percent, citing foreign exchange gains of 1.1 billion rand.
- Arkansas lawmakers vote to fund state's alternative to Obamacare
- Tue, 04 Mar 2014 19:37:07 -0500 - By Steve Barnes LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (Reuters) - The Arkansas House of Representatives voted on Tuesday to fund the state's so-called "Private Option" medical insurance program that has drawn interest from lawmakers in other states as an alternative to Obamacare. The measure, which had earlier passed the state Senate, received 76 votes, one more than necessary in the 100-member House. This ended a more than week-long standoff over the health insurance program for lower-income residents. The Private Option uses $915 million in federal Medicaid funds from the Obama Administration's Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, to purchase health insurance for employed individuals whose earnings hover just above the federal poverty level.
- StanChart to sharpen strategy after rare profit drop
- Tue, 04 Mar 2014 18:04:16 -0500 -
Standard Chartered on Wednesday will show how it intends to sharpen its focus and potentially sell several small businesses to revive its fortunes in the face of slower growth and its first fall in profits in a decade, people familiar with the matter said. Standard Chartered warned in December that 10 years of record earnings would end in 2013 due to losses in Korea, weak investment banking income and a slowdown in Asia. That could see it follow rival HSBC and sell businesses that are unprofitable, lack scale or do not align with other parts of the bank. Standard Chartered is seeking buyers for its Hong Kong consumer finance business PrimeCredit Ltd, worth $500 million to $700 million, Reuters reported last month.
- Fiat-Chrysler expects new plant to boost Brazil profitability
- Tue, 04 Mar 2014 14:09:53 -0500 -
By Agnieszka Flak GENEVA (Reuters) - Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) expects a new plant in Brazil to boost its profitability in that market by 2017 after a cut to subsidies and currency effects hit profits there last year, Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne said on Tuesday. FCA, created after Fiat took full control of Chrysler in January in a $4.35 billion deal to create the world's seventh-largest auto group, cut its 2014 profit forecast after an 80-percent slump in Latin American core earnings in the final quarter of 2013.
- Scotiabank raises dividend, still seeks growth abroad
- Tue, 04 Mar 2014 12:41:13 -0500 -
By Cameron French TORONTO (Reuters) - Bank of Nova Scotia capped off Canada's bank earnings period with a higher quarterly profit and a dividend increase on the back of strong domestic lending volumes and wealth management income, but its international retail operations posted softer results. Still, Scotiabank Chief Executive Officer Brian Porter said the bank planned to keep looking for international acquisitions, particularly in its wealth management and insurance business. The results from Scotiabank, Canada's No. 3 lender, follows a series of reports that showed the country's top banks had continued to earn solid returns from domestic lending despite signs that heavily indebted consumers were slowing their borrowing. Scotiabank's net income rose to C$1.71 billion ($1.54 billion), or C$1.32 a share, in the first quarter ended January 31 from C$1.61 billion, or C$1.24 a share, a year earlier.
- SoftBank CEO to discuss US mobile industry after regulatory rebuff
- Tue, 04 Mar 2014 08:31:36 -0500 -
SoftBank Corp CEO Masayoshi Son will present his views on the U.S. mobile industry in Washington D.C. next week, the Japanese mobile operator said, after U.S. regulators expressed skepticism towards a potential SoftBank bid for T-Mobile US Inc. Son's presentation to lawmakers, educators and business leaders is his first public speech to a U.S. audience since SoftBank's $21.6 billion acquisition of No.3 U.S. mobile carrier Sprint Corp last year. His comments on the competitive landscape, which have in the past been highly critical, will be watched after sources revealed that Sprint had held talks to buy T-Mobile, the fourth-largest U.S. mobile carrier. Son declined to comment at last month's earnings briefing about whether his company was in talks about buying T-Mobile, but had harsh words for the state of the U.S. mobile sector, which is dominated by AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications Inc. "What I can say is that the United States' mobile industry is not competitive compared with other countries and its network is not good," he said.