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Heinz and Kraft to merge in Warren Buffett mega deal
 
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Global food companies Heinz and Kraft will join forces to become the world’s fifth largest food and beverage company following the two companies entering into a definitive agreement. The deal was brokered by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and Brazilian investment company 3G Capital, and will result in Heinz buying Kraft for a reported $US 46 billion dollars. Kraft shareholders will receive 49 per cent of the stock in the combined entity, plus a special cash dividend of $US16.50 a share. Berkshire and 3G will invest an additional 10 billion dollars to pay the dividend to Kraft shareholders and will retain 51 percent of the combined company. The combined business, to be called the Kraft Heinz Co, will have dual headquarters in Pittsburgh and the Chicago area, with current Heinz chief executive officer Bernardo Hees staying on to run the new company. The combination of Heinz and Kraft will bring together a wide portfolio of well-known brands and benefit from Heinz's international distribution platform. Shoppers aren’t expected to see any major changes following the creation of the Kraft Heinz Company, although the move does reflect the pressures facing some of the biggest packaged food makers in the U.S. Consumers are increasingly migrating away from longtime pantry staples in favour of healthier alternatives. The new company will have eight billion-dollar brands and five others worth more than 500 million in sales, while total annual revenue is expected to be about 28 billion dollars. Following the completion of the deal Kraft will undergo a significant cost-cutting program, in addition to the expected savings of $1.5 billion dollars by combining manufacturing and distribution networks. The boards of both companies have unanimously endorsed the deal, although it still needs approval from federal regulators and shareholders of Kraft Foods. The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2015, and if completed would return Heinz to public company status after Berkshire and 3G took it private in 2013 in a 28 billion dollar acquisition.
Views: 1347 Projection
Towers Watson and Willis to merge, Santander expands
 
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Towers Watson announced it will merge with global risk advisory and reinsurance firm Willis Group, creating a new entity valued at US $18bn - plus Spanish bank Santander has partnered with mobile banking software provider Monitise to launch a financial technology joint venture
Views: 616 Projection
Gilead Sciences Earnings Beat Expectations - Nov 11, 2014
 
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Gilead Sciences announced that sales of its Hepatitis C drug, Sovaldi, fell nearly 20 percent from the prior quarter. The healthcare firm reported third quarter earnings per share excluding items of $2.05 and revenue of 6.04 billion dollars. Analysts had expected the company to report earnings of $1.92 a share on 5.99 billion in revenue. The company, which received U.S. regulatory approval earlier this month for new Hepatitis C drug Harvoni, said total product sales for the quarter more than doubled to 5.97 billion dollars from 2.71 billion a year earlier. Third-quarter Sovaldi sales totalled 2.8 billion dollars, while the prior quarter boasted sales of 3.48 billion. Analysts had anticipated a slowdown as some demand may be waiting for the new treatment, but the figure came in below those tempered expectations for sales of 2.97 billion. The company proudly announced to date approximately 117,000 patients have been treated with Sovaldi and with the introduction of Harvoni, many more patients will have the potential to be cured of HCV infection.
Views: 473 Projection
RadioShack Avoids Falling into Bankruptcy - Apr 9, 2015
 
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RadioShack looks set to avoid closing its doors for the final time. After almost falling into liquidation in late March , a revised version of the electronics retailer will debut later in April under the ownership of hedge fund Standard General and Sprint Corporation. According to plans filed with the bankruptcy court, the stores will look a lot like the streamlined outlets RadioShack had hoped to build before running short on cash earlier this year. Top level management will also have a new look, after the resignation of chief executive Joe Magnacca, who was hired two years ago to remake the company into a flashy specialty retailer. Cellphones will be outsourced to Sprint, and to further reduce instore clutter, products like laptops, tablets and digital cameras will also be cut back, as will the less popular name brands. RadioShack will be left to focus on higher margin house-brand chargers, batteries and speakers. The product cull will leave far fewer items in the stores, with that number being as low as 1,000, down from more than 4,000 previously. Standard General also plans to take over only about 1,700 locations out of the more than 4,000 the chain ran last year, with hundreds of stores being closed as part of the bankrputcy. Sprint will share in more than 1,400 locations, with the Sprint logo dominating and the telco taking about a third of the floor space. The plans have all been approved by a bankruptcy judge, although the operating name is still yet to be finalised. Standard General will operate the stores, but Salus Capital Partners, which is owed 150 million dollars, has first claim on RadioShack’s trademarks, patents and customer data. Unless Standard General can persuade Salus to sell it the intellectual property that defines the brand, the new RadioShack may not be called RadioShack going forward. Standard General currently has a six-month royalty-free license to use the RadioShack name and necessary patents, with that period being designed to give RadioShack a couple of months to market the intellectual property and make the most of the assets. If someone else outbids Standard General for rights to the brand, the hedge fund will have a couple of months to take down the RadioShack name and replace it with something else.
Views: 294 Projection
McDonald's unveil turnaround blueprint
 
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McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook announced a restructuring plan to help it compete with fast-casual restaurants like Chipotle Mexican Grill. To foster a quicker reaction to changing trends, McDonald’s is restructuring its units into four groups based on the maturity of its presence in the particular market, where previously the business was segmented by geography. The individual groups will be the flagship U.S. market, established international markets such as Australia and the United Kingdom, high-growth markets such as China and Russia, and the rest of the world. McDonalds also said that 90 percent of its more than 36,200 restaurants around the world will be franchised over the next four years. This is up from 81 percent currently, and will mean the company will rely more heavily on franchising fees and move away from the daily running of restaurants. The organizational changes will contribute to 300 million dollars in cost-cutting targeted by McDonald's, most of which will be realized by 2017. The company is working on streamlining its menu recently cutting seven items including the Deluxe Quarter Pounder burger and six chicken sandwiches, while at the same time working on improving perceptions about the quality of its food with a trio of new sirloin burgers being added. Standard and Poors were left underwhelmed by the plan and subsequently downgraded their rating on McDonalds to A-, while Moody’s put their rating on review for downgrade. Both rating agencies showed concern over McDonald's plans to return between 8 and 9 billion to shareholders in 2015 and to hit the high end of its 18 to 20 billion 3-year goal by the end of 2016, worrying that any stock repurchases will be at the expense of higher debt levels than initially anticipated. The fast food chain in April reported first-quarter comparable sales down 2.3% and revenue of 5.96 billion, falling short of the 6.02 billion analysts had expected. Unfortunately for McDonalds shareholders, the quarterly results were a familiar tale, which for nearly two years has seen its share price fall and same-store sales crumble in the U.S. market and abroad.
Views: 1188 Projection
CVS Caremark to Offer Hep C Drug - Jan 8, 2015
 
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Gilead Sciences hepatitis C drugs, Sovaldi and Harvoni, will get exclusive coverage on several plans from CVS/Caremark, the pharmacy benefits manager reported, taking the opposite stance from competitor Express Scripts. CVS and Gilead didn't immediately release more details on the agreement, including whether Gilead offered a discount to the list price of its drugs. Generally Sovaldi costs $84,000 for 12 weeks of treatment, where Harvoni, a combination of Sovaldi and another therapy, which was approved in October; costs $94,500 for 12 weeks of treatment, although some patients are cured in just eight weeks. Express Scripts said it negotiated a "significant discount" with AbbVie on its Viekira Pak, approved in late December. Analysts have questioned Express Scripts' decision to approve Viekira Pak, because AbbVie's regimen consists of several pills taken each day, while Harvoni is just one daily pill.
Views: 757 Projection
Dollar General impresses the market while CostCo disappoints
 
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Views: 496 Projection
Hep C Drug Sales Boost Gilead Earnings - Mar 10, 2015
 
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Gilead Sciences posted strong quarterly sales of its hepatitis C drugs Harvoni and Sovaldi, pushing the drugmaker's net profit up more than four-fold for the quarter. The company reported quarterly net income of 3.49 billion dollars or $2.18 per share, compared with 791 million or 47 cents per share a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, Gilead earned $2.43 per share, beating the average Wall Street estimate of $2.22 per share. Sales of Sovaldi, the $1,000 dollar pill for hepatitis C which ignited a fierce debate over prescription drug prices, totaled 1.73 billion for the quarter, while sales of follow-on drug Harvoni totaled 2.11 billion. Analysts, on average, had forecast Sovaldi sales of 2.05 billion and Harvoni sales of 1.58 billion. For full-year 2015, Gilead projected total product sales between 26 and 27 billion, falling short of the average Wall Street estimate of 28.6 billion.
Views: 606 Projection
Tesco Accounting Investigation - Sep 25, 2014
 
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Tesco, the world's second-largest supermarket chain after Walmart, has suspended four executives and launched an accounting investigation after admitting that its half-year profit was overstated by 250 million pounds. The scandal deepens the financial woes for the British company, which on had to issue its third profit warning in two years as it struggles to compete with low-cost rivals. The investigation, prompted by information from a whistleblower, comes less than a month after the new chief executive, Dave Lewis, was brought in to turn around the company's business. Lewis took over from Philip Clarke after the company issued a profit warning at the end of August. At the time, Tesco said it expected to report "trading profit" of about 1.1 billion pounds for the six months ended Aug. 23. The retailer now plans to release its earnings for the period on Oct. 23, three weeks later than previously scheduled. Tesco has long dominated the supermarket industry in Britain, but has recently been squeezed by aggressive cost-cutting competitors such as Lidl and Aldi.
Views: 379 Projection
Colgate Total Potentially Dangerous - Aug 14, 2014
 
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The chemical triclosan, which is one of the ingredients in Colgate Total toothpaste, has been linked to cancer-cell growth and disrupted development in animals
Views: 629 Projection
General Mills To Buy Annie's - Sep 10, 2014
 
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General Mills has agreed to buy natural and organic food producer Annie’s for 820 million dollars in an attempt to re-energize sales to combat waning consumption of their traditional goods. The deal will add Annie's products ranging from macaroni and cheese to bunny-shaped cheddar snacks to General Mills' stable of well-known brands, which includes Cheerios and Chex cereals, Green Giant frozen vegetables, and Häagen-Dazs ice cream. The deal consists of $46 per share in cash for Annie’s shareholders, a 37% premium over the stock’s previous closing price of $33.51. It marks the latest effort by General Mills and other big food companies to tap into consumers' growing appetite for foods perceived as being made with more natural ingredients and fewer artificial additives. Annie’s was founded in 1989 and has grown from a small player in the food business to one that had 204 million dollars in food sales in the last fiscal year on over 145 products across 35,000 retail locations.
Views: 122 Projection
TriMas Cuts Full Year Forecast - Sep 25, 2014
 
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TriMas cut its full-year adjusted earnings forecast partly due to ongoing softness in its energy and aerospace businesses. The maker of engineered and applied products said that it now foresees adjusted earnings between $1.85 and $1.95 per share down from its previous guidance of $2.15 to $2.25 per share. The Michigan based company anticipates revenue rising between 6 and 7 percent from a year ago. CEO David Wathen said that while the company had taken actions to help improve the performance of the energy and aerospace segments, that the improvements had not taken place at the expected pace. Wathen went on to say that its Cequent businesses will also continue to deal with margin pressures for the rest of the year. TriMas also announced that it is buying Allfast Fastening Systems for approximately $360 million dollars to help strengthen its growing aerospace business. Allfast makes solid and blind rivets, blind bolts, temporary fasteners and installation tools for the aerospace industry.
Views: 81 Projection
Amex to Cut Jobs - Jan 28, 2015
 
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American Express said it plans to cut more than 4,000 jobs over the next year, although the company will also continue to hire selectively in parts of the organization. At the same time the financial giant reported quarterly earnings that slightly beat analysts' expectations mainly due to tight cost controls benefiting the company. The firm posted fourth-quarter earnings per share of $1.39, compared with $1.21 a share in the year-earlier period. Revenue for the quarter came in at $9.1 billion dollars, against the comparable year-ago figure of $8.5 billion. Analysts had expected American Express to report earnings of about $1.38 a share on $8.53 billion in revenue. Amex said fourth-quarter card member spending rose 6 percent, and also revealed that volumes for the year crossed the trillion-dollar mark for the first time. The credit card issuer's revenue was also helped by a $453 million dollar post-tax gain from the sale of its investment in Concur Technologies.
Views: 268 Projection
Virgin Money IPO - Sep 30, 2014
 
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Virgin Money, the banking arm of Sir Richard Branson's empire, is said to be preparing to announce plans this week for its £2bn London IPO, making it the fourth bank this year to capitalise on solid demand for fresh shares. The financial services firm, which is 47pc-owned by Sir Richard, was expected to float at a £2bn valuation next year, but according to reports its directors have been tempted to bring the date forward following a strong earnings report and a Scottish “no” vote. The flotation of Virgin Money, which bought the “good” assets of the bailed-out Northern Rock for almost £800m in 2012, will see an extra £50m to £80m returned to the taxpayer, as agreed at the time of the original acquisition. Wilbur Ross, the American investor who holds a 45pc share, and an Abu Dhabi fund that owns 6pc also stand to profit from the flotation, although neither are expected to sell their entire holdings. Virgin Money’s pre-tax profits grew more-than-fourfold to £59.7m in the first half of this year, on 28pc-increased revenues of £210m.
Views: 111 Projection
CostCo Earnings Beat Expectations, Revenue Disappoints - Mar 30, 2015
 
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CostCo, the third largest US retailer, reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by a tax benefit related to its special cash dividend last month. Revenue fell below forecasts, but sales at comparable stores excluding fuel sales rose 8 percent. Costco said net income rose to 598million or $1.35 per share for the second quarter ended February 15, from 463 million or $1.05 per share a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, the company posted earnings of $1.25 a share. Total revenue, which includes membership fees, rose 4.4 percent in the quarter to 27.45 billion, while sales rose 4.3 percent 26.87 billion. Analysts on average expected a profit of $1.18 per share on sales of 27.65 billion. Costco said its results include a tax benefit of 57 million dollars or 13 cents per share, in connection with the special cash dividend. Comparable sales at outlets open more than 12 months grew 8 percent in the second quarter, excluding fuel, where analysts had expected same-store sales to increase 6.4 percent.
Views: 46 Projection
WW Grainger Earnings Disappoint - Feb 3, 2015
 
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W.W Grainger reported fourth-quarter net income of 148.8 million dollars. On a per-share basis, the Illinois-based company said it had net income of $2.14, while earnings, adjusted for non-recurring items and restructuring costs, increased to $2.80 per share. The results fell short of Wall Street expectations, where the average analyst estimate was for earnings of $2.83 per share. The seller of maintenance and other supplies posted revenue of 2.51 billion dollars in the period, marginally exceeding Wall Street forecasts, where analysts had expected revenue of 2.5 billion. For the full year, the company reported profit of 801.7 million dollars or $11.45 per share as revenue came in at 9.96 billion. Grainger expects full-year earnings in the range of $12.60 to $13.60 per share.
Views: 99 Projection
FedEx Delivers Pretty Package to TNT Shareholders - Apr 10, 2015
 
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FedEx Corporation announced plans to buy Dutch package delivery company TNT Express for an agreed 4.4 billion euros, stepping up the challenge to rivals United Parcel Service and Deutsche Post in Europe. European regulators blocked a 2013 takeover of TNT by UPS due to concerns it would stifle competition. TNT gives FedEx access to pan-European service and the domestic UK and French markets, while TNT customers will get access to FedEx's global distribution platform. Combining FedEx’s 5 percent European market share with TNT’s 12 percent, would catapult FedEx into second place, overtaking UPS which currently holds 16 percent market share. FedEx will offer 8 euros in cash per ordinary TNT share, which even though is a 33 percent premium to TNT’s previous closing price, is still below UPS's 2013 offer of 9 ½ euros. The Tennessee based company is the latest in a long list of companies to take advantage of the current low interest rate environment and finance a deal entirely with debt. The deal has been unanimously recommended by TNT's supervisory board, with TNT's largest shareholder, PostNL also saying it would tender its 14.7 percent stake to FedEx. TNT warned in February it expected tough trading to continue in its main western European markets, in what capped off a disappointing 12 months for the company with the share price dropping 17 percent, against a 21 percent rise in the benchmark index. FedEx said the strong US dollar contributed to perfect timing on its bid, with the Euro down more than a fifth against the greenback in the past year. U.S. companies have announced 195 ½ billion dollars in acquisitions of Western European companies in the past 12 months, more than twice the value of a year earlier. The last two quarters of 2014 were two of the three busiest by value in more than seven years. Unlike the UPS bid back in 2013, FedEx is unlikely to be blocked by European regulators.
Views: 3117 Projection
Tesla Increases Warranty On Model S - Aug 19, 2014
 
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The warranty extension will apply retroactively to all Model S cars produced since 2012 and will have a moderately negative impact on its earnings in the short term. Many current conventional gasoline-powered cars have a standard three-year/36,000-mile warranty. Last year Consumer Reports magazine gave the Model S top marks for its "smoothness, effortless glide and clever, elegant simplicity” although last week the magazine criticized the Model S for having a number of problems including a variety of electrical issues. Tesla shares continue to trade around record highs.
Views: 50 Projection
Stock And Currency Report - July 23, 2014
 
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A solid day for equity markets with all three major indices closing higher. The DOW put on 62 points, the S&P 500 rallied 10 and the NASDAQ was up 31. The Russell 2000 moved higher by just under 10 points and Canada’s main composite index finished up 65 points. The VIX moved lower by around four and a half percent while buying in the bond market saw the yield on the 10 year fall by 1 basis point. An easing of geo political concerns saw oil drop with WTI down about two tenths of a percent and Brent falling about half a percent. Gold was also weaker, falling around half a percent. European markets also closed in the green with the FTSE higher by 1% and the DAX up almost 1.3%. Asian markets were broadly positive on Tuesday with the ASX 200 finishing marginally higher, while the Nikkei was up 8 tenths of a percent and the Hang Seng a whopping 1.7%. In foreign exchange markets the US dollar was higher against the Euro, Yen and British Pound but lower against the Canadian and Aussie Dollars.
Views: 4 Projection
EU Regulators Impose Heavy Fines on Chip Manufacturers - Sep 4, 2014
 
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European Union antitrust regulators fined Philips, Samsung and Infineon Technologies a total of 138 million Euros, about 182 million dollars on Wednesday for fixing prices of chips used in mobile SIM cards. The European Commission, which raided the companies in October 2008, said the cartel took place between 2003 and 2005. German chipmaker Infineon received the biggest penalty at 82.8 million euros, Samsung was fined 35.12 million euros and Philips 20.15 million euros. Philips denied fixing chip prices and said it would challenge the decision in court. Renesas Technology, a joint venture between Hitachi and Mitsubishi Electric escaped a fine of more than 51 million euros as it was the first to alert the EU competition authority about the cartel. The chips produced by the companies are also used in bank cards, identity cards, passports and pay TV cards. The companies had sought to settle the case in return for a 10 percent cut in the fines but talks broke down last year.
Views: 21 Projection
SEC Pays Whistleblower $30M - Sep 24, 2014
 
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An anonymous tipster living abroad will be receiving $30 million dollars, in the largest whistleblower award ever paid out by U.S. securities regulators as part of a program that aims to incentivize insiders to report wrongdoing. The Securities and Exchange Commission said that the whistleblower provided crucial information that helped investigators uncover a ``difficult to detect'' ongoing fraud. The SEC won new powers in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law to entice whistleblowers with monetary awards. Prior to the new law, the SEC was only able to reward people for helping on insider-trading cases. The new program lets the SEC pay a whistleblower who provides original information that leads to an enforcement action with sanctions that exceed $1 million dollars. The SEC can award a whistleblower anywhere between 10 and 30 percent of the money the agency collects. Since the inception of the program in fiscal year 2012, the SEC has awarded more than a dozen whistleblowers with the recent $30 million dollar award being more than double the previous record of 14 million.
Views: 87 Projection
Lehman Brothers Unsecured Creditors To Receive Payout - Aug 20, 2014
 
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Unsecured creditors of Lehman Brothers brokerage unit will begin receiving an initial $4.62bn payout next month. Distributions will begin on September 10 and will initially cover 17 percent of the $27.2bn of unsecured claims associated with the failed bank's unit. Approximately $3.47bn will go to creditors whose claims have been approved and $1.15bn will be set aside for pending claims. The payout follows distributions of $105bn to 111,000 former customers who have been paid in full and other creditors whose claims had higher priority. More payments to unsecured creditors are expected. Lehman was Wall Street's fourth-largest investment bank before going bankrupt on September, 18 2008 and subsequently filing for Chapter 11 protection. It remains the largest U.S. bankruptcy
Views: 77 Projection
Thermo Fisher Scientific Earnings Beat Expectations - Feb 18, 2015
 
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Thermo Fisher Scientific, the world's largest maker of scientific instruments, reported better-than-expected quarterly profit and sales, boosted by the contribution from the Life Technologies acquisition. Thermo said net profit rose to 601.2 million dollars or $1.49 per share in the fourth quarter, from 342.1 million or 92 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding items, Thermo Fisher earned $1.99 per share, where analysts on average had expected $1.94. Revenue jumped 30 percent to 4.49 billion, topping Wall Street's estimate of 4.38 billion. With the addition of the Life Tech business, Thermo Fisher's life sciences business reported a surge in sales to 1.19 billion, compared with 192 million a year earlier. Thermo Fisher, which paid down $3.8 billion of debt in 2014 related to the Life purchase, said it was on track to achieve $300 million in cost saving synergies in year three. The purchase of Life Tech for more than 13 billion dollars was completed in early 2014.
Views: 79 Projection
Time Warner Cable Earnings Disappoint - Nov 17, 2014
 
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Time Warner Cable, the second-largest U.S. cable company, reported it lost more residential video customers in the third quarter than in the previous quarter. The company's third-quarter earnings rose to $1.86 per share from $1.69 a share in the year-earlier period, while revenue increased to 5.71 billion dollars from 5.52 billion a year ago. Analysts had expected the cable company to post earnings of $1.90 a share on revenue of 5.75 billion. Time Warner Cable lost 184,000 residential video customers in the quarter, significantly more than the 136,000 customers that market research firm StreetAccount had estimated. The company announced in early October that its stockholders had approved a deal for the firm to become a 100 percent owned subsidiary of Comcast, with the $45 billion dollar merger currently under regulatory review. In late August, TWC settled with the Federal Communications Commission for $1.1 million dollars on charges the company had not reported multiple network outages.
Views: 10 Projection
Becton Dickinson To Acquire CareFusion - Oct 7, 2014
 
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Medical technology firm, Becton Dickinson has announced that it will acquire CareFusion Corporation in a $12.2 billion dollar deal designed to provide a full range of medical products to hospitals, which are under pressure to cut costs and improve quality. New Jersey based Becton will pay $58 in cash and stock for each share of CareFusion, a 26% premium to their previous closing price. Combining BD and CareFusion will create one of the five largest medical device companies in the world, with a range of offerings for pharmacies and hospitals. Becton has about $8.3 billion dollars in annual sales, while CareFusion notches about $3.8 billion and the two companies currently have a combined market capitalization of nearly $32 billion. Becton said it has identified $250 million dollars in synergies from the merger and expects the deal to begin adding to earnings in fiscal year 2018. Under the terms of the offer, CareFusion shareholders will receive $49 in cash and 0.078 of a Becton share for each CareFusion share.
Views: 2013 Projection
Ruby Tuesday Earnings Disappoint - Jan 15, 2015
 
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Ruby Tuesday reported disappointing second-quarter results, with losses being wider than expected, revenues coming in below forecasts and the company lowering its guidance for fiscal 2015. This restaurateur posted a loss of 15 cents per share, marginally wider than the analyst estimates for a loss of 14 cents, but substantially narrower than the year-ago loss of 34 cents. Total revenue was 262.7 million dollars missing, the Consensus estimate of 268 million and declining 4.9% year on year. The company has closed 42 underperforming restaurants since first-quarter 2014. Same-restaurant sales were down 1% at company-owned restaurants, worse than the 1.1% growth in the prior quarter and also failing to live up to management's expectation of a 1% to 2% increase. Restaurant margins came in at 13.6%, up 110 basis points year on year, mainly due to brand transformation efforts. Selling, general and administrative expenses, as a percentage of revenues, declined 300 basis points to 10.4% given lower marketing expenses incurred in the quarter.
Views: 58 Projection
Alibaba Has New Competitor - Jan 7, 2015
 
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Alibaba’s stranglehold on China’s enormous e-commerce market is under fire from rival Wanda E-commerce. Plans for Wanda E-commerce were announced just four months ago, but the venture has already caught the attention -- and dollars -- of two investment funds. Wanda's platform raised 1 billion yuan in funding from Chinese investment funds Centec Networks and Xude Rendao and this is comes before its business model is even "fully operational," which the company expects to happen by the fourth quarter of 2015. The investment quadruples Wanda's value to an estimated 20 billion yuan. Wanda E-commerce -- which aims to leverage WiFi and smartphone capabilities to help shoppers locate and buy products nearby -- is a joint venture between three parties: Majority stakeholder real estate conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, telecommunications company Tencent and search engine Baidu. Wanda Group already has an offline customer base of 1.5 million people and last month, it acquired a stake in online payment platform, 99Bill.
Views: 145 Projection
Olam International Makes Cocoa Purchase - Dec 17, 2014
 
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Olam International, the commodity trader controlled by Singapore’s state investment firm, agreed to buy ’s cocoa business for 1.3 billion dollars to become a top-three processor of the bean. The deal, which is Olam’s biggest acquisition, draws a line under the company’s program last year of spending cuts and reducing debt in response to short-seller Muddy Waters’s questioning of its finances. It follows Olam’s smaller purchase of U.S. peanut sheller McCleskey Mills for 176 million dollars including debt, announced earlier this month. Demand for cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate, has risen three times faster than population growth in the last 15 years. While the trader already has the world’s largest bean sourcing network, the addition of ADM’s unit will give Olam processing capacity, allowing it to sell directly to buyers including Nestle and Hershey.
Views: 1197 Projection
Bean Bag Chairs to be Recalled After Deaths - Aug 26, 2014
 
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About 2.2 million bean bag chairs are being recalled after two children opened them, crawled inside and suffocated to death. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said on Friday that the zippers on the chairs, which are made by Ace Bayou, can open. A 13-year-old boy from McKinney, Texas and a 3-year-old girl from Lexington, Kentucky were found dead inside the chairs after they suffocated from a lack of air and inhaled the foam beads stuffed in the chairs. The chairs were sold at Bon-Ton, Meijer, Pamida, School Specialty, Wayfair and Walmart stores and online at Amazon.com, Meijer.com and Walmart.com. The CPSC advised owners of the bean bag chairs to check if the zippers open and take them away from children if they do. Ace Bayou is offering customers a free repair kit that will stop the zippers from opening, which can be ordered online at acebayou.com
Views: 795 Projection
HSBC FCA Forex Investigation Continues - Nov 20, 2014
 
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HSBC confirmed it had set aside 378 million dollars for estimated fines relating to suspected manipulation of foreign exchange markets, amid ongoing talks with U.K. regulators. The provision came on top of other charges revealed in the bank's third-quarter results, in which it reported pre-tax profit up 2 percent at 4.61 billion dollars. The bank said discussions with the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority over a proposed resolution of their foreign exchange investigation were ongoing. Six banks are involved in talks with the FCA over the allegations that traders had conspired to fix forex rates, with the other 5 institutions already taking provisions. HSBC's operating expenses were 16 percent higher at 11.1 billion dollars, compared with the same period in 2013, including the forex investigation provision and a charge of $550 million dollars relating to an agreement with the U.S. Federal Housing Finance Agency.
Views: 95 Projection
Nordea Bank Earnings Meet Expectations - Feb 10, 2015
 
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Nordea Bank, the Nordic region's biggest bank by market value reported underlying profit in line with expectations in the fourth quarter and also raised its dividend. The bank, flush with cash after years of building capital buffers, raised its proposed dividend to 0.62 euro per share, up from 0.43 euro last year and higher than expected 0.57 euro per share. Operating profit for the period was 1.16 billion euros, in line with forecasts and up from a year-ago profit of 1.01 billion. Nordea CEO, Christain Clausen defended the banks business in Russia, saying that the actual lending portfolio was healthy. He did admit however that Nordea was reducing its Russia exposure "gradually for all sorts of reasons" but Nordea "was quite confident about their actual risks in Russia. "Clausen said Nordea had performed a stress test among its customers in Russia which showed that it had "a very strong credit quality."
Views: 63 Projection
Biogen Q3 Beats Expectations - Oct 28, 2014
 
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Sales of Biogen’s big-selling new oral multiple sclerosis drug Tecfidera, fell short of Wall Street expectations for the first time, as the company reported higher-than-expected third-quarter profit and raised its full-year earnings forecast. Tecfidera, which has enjoyed one of the best new drug launches in pharmaceutical history since its March 2013 U.S. approval, had sales of $787 million dollars in the quarter, falling short of estimates of 800 million. Biogen raised its full-year adjusted earnings forecast to between $13.45 and $13.55 per share, from its previously forecast earnings per share of between $12.90 and $13.10. The biotech company's net profit jumped to $856.1 million dollars or $3.62 per share, from 487.6 million or $2.05 per share, in the year earlier period. Excluding items, Biogen earned $3.80 per share while analysts had expected $3.46. Revenue rose 37 percent to $2.5 billion, roughly in line with estimates of $2.48 billion.
Views: 26 Projection
Chipotle Revenue Jumps - Mar 3, 2015
 
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Chipotle Mexican Grill’s announced that comparable restaurant sales and revenue jumped but still failed to meet Wall Street's high expectations. A previous nationwide price increase that rolled out during the second quarter helped fuel the burrito maker's sales. Its same store sales decelerated during the fourth quarter and rose 16.1 percent, while analysts were expecting them to surge 16.5 percent. Net income rose to 121.2 million or $3.84 per share, compared to 79.6 million or $2.53 per diluted share. Its store openings and price increase fueled a 27 percent rise in revenue to 1.07 billion from 844 million a year ago. Wall Street had forecast Chipotle would deliver earnings per share of $3.79 on revenue of 1.08 billion. During 2015, Chipotle expects low to mid-single digit comparable restaurant sales increases and also plans to open between 190 and 205 new restaurants, adding to its current 1,780 locations.
Views: 30 Projection
General Mills Net Income Falls 4 Percent - Dec 22, 2014
 
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General Mills, the maker of Cheerios cereal and Betty Crocker cake mixes, reported a 37 percent fall in quarterly profit hurt by weak demand in the United States and slowing growth in Europe and Canada. The company said net income attributable to General Mills fell to 346.1 million dollars or 56 cents per share, in the second quarter ended November 23 from 549.9 million or 84 cents per share a year earlier. Revenue fell 3.4 percent to 4.71 billion dollars. Wall Street had expected General Mills to deliver earnings of 77 cents a share on revenue of 4.79 billion. General Mills brands include Pillsbury, Green Giant, and Häagen-Dazs. As yogurt gains popularity with Americans as a breakfast food, the company has attempted to counter the competition by bringing back old cereal brands such as French Toast Crunch and added new kinds, including gluten-free Chex granola.
Views: 17 Projection
Banks Give Warning To Basel Committee - Sep 3, 2014
 
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Banks are warning that a proposed global rule aimed at forcing them to fund themselves more safely, could have "severe" knock-on effects on short selling and other important equities market transactions. Industry lobbyists have warned the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision that proposed funding rules could make it five times more expensive for banks to facilitate short selling, in which investors bet that share prices will fall. The rule would also make it much more expensive for banks to provide equity swaps, according to the letter from two global lobbying groups, the Global Financial Markets Association and the Institute of International Finance. The banks are making a last-ditch effort to modify the Net Stable Funding Ratio, which is seen as the final plank of the "Basel III" banking reforms that seek to prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis. The Basel Committee's NSFR aims to ensure banks hold a minimum amount of stable funding based on the characteristics of their assets.
Views: 119 Projection
Siemens Revenue Beats Forecasts - Feb 5, 2015
 
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Siemens reported a 5 percent rise in first quarter revenue to 17.4 billion Euros, just beating analyst expectations. CEO Joe Kaeser has defended the company's decision to enter the U.S. shale oil market last year, as the group reported a 25 percent drop in net income in the first quarter of 2015. The German electronics and engineering group acquired American oilfield equipment maker Dresser-Rand in a 7.6 billion dollar deal in September. The company reported net income of 1.095 billion Euros in the first quarter, down from 1.457 billion in 2014, as its power and gas unit was hit by a weaker global economy and oil price. Profit at the unit fell 39 percent in the first quarter of the year. The company confirmed its outlook for 2015, but warned that geo-political tensions "among other things" would add to a "complex" business environment. Kaeser also noted that there were "pockets of weakness" in China, but stressed that in the long-term, the country presented a "very attractive market to be in."
Views: 30 Projection
Boeing Increases Dividend and Share Buyback - Dec 18, 2014
 
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Boeing raised its share repurchase authorization to 12 billion dollars from 10 billion and said it would increase its quarterly dividend by 25 percent, in a sign of confidence in its cash outlook for the year. The world's biggest plane maker had $4.8 billion remaining in its previous stock buyback plan and raised the dividend to 91 cents per share from 73 cents. Boeing shareholders have been looking for the company to deliver cash as it ramps up delivery of planes to record levels. In October, Boeing reported an 18 percent rise in third-quarter profit, but its cash generation lagged below expectations, putting a question mark over its ability to meet its forecast for the year. Boeing had promised that cash flow would be "very strong" in the fourth quarter, with the share buyback and dividend increase signalling it was confident of hitting its targets. Boeing also said had finished its stock repurchases for 2014, having spent $6 billion, and plans to resume in January. It added that it expected the purchases under the current plan to take two to three years.
Views: 58 Projection
Groupon Easily Beats Earnings Expectations - Mar 20, 2015
 
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Citing the unfavorable impacts of foreign exchange rates, Groupon said it expects revenue of between 790 and 840 million, below forecasts of 856 million. The company also announced a disappointing profit outlook, saying that it now expects earnings in a range from break even up to 2 cents per share, while analysts currently expect earnings of 2 cents per share. Groupon posted fourth-quarter profit of 6 cents per share, up from 4 cents a share a year earlier, while revenue increased 20 percent to 925 million from 768 million. Analysts had expected the company to report earnings of 3 cents a share on 908 million in revenue. Last quarter, the company said that worldwide gross billings, or the total dollar value of customer purchases through the site, increased 39 percent year on year.
Views: 113 Projection
Procter And Gamble To Shed Half Its Brands - Aug 4, 2014
 
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Procter & Gamble, the nation's largest consumer product company, will be dumping about 90 of its smaller, less popular brands
Views: 19 Projection
AstraZeneca Reports Fourth Quarter Loss - Mar 11, 2015
 
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British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca reported a loss for the fourth quarter of 2014, but reaffirmed that it was on track to return to growth by 2017. The drugmaker, which saw off a £69 billion Pound takeover attempt from Pfizer, reported a quarterly net loss of 321 million, a 38 percent drop from last year's 1.5 billion net profit. Revenue for the last three months of the year fell 2 percent on the same period a year ago to 6.68 billion. The company also declared a second interim dividend of 1.90 per share, bringing the dividend for the full year to 2.80. AstraZeneca received a record six product approvals in 2014, including Duaklir Genuair, a drug used to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which was approved by the European Commission in November.
Views: 87 Projection
AB Foods Issues Cautious Guidance - Nov 21, 2014
 
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Primark owner Associated British Foods posted a 6 percent rise in 2013-14 earnings, though it cautioned it saw limited opportunity for growth in the new year due to an expected large reduction in profit from its sugar business. The group said it expected a marginal decline in adjusted operating profit in the 2014-15 year but said the impact on earnings will be mitigated by much lower tax and interest charges. AB Foods said adjusted earnings per share were 104.1 pence in the year to September 13, up from 98.9 pence in the same period last year, with strong performances from the group's Primark discount fashion chain and grocery division offsetting the adverse impact of lower sugar prices. Group revenue fell 3 percent to 12.9 billion pounds while adjusted operating profit fell 1 percent to 1.16 billion pounds. AB Foods said that in the new year it expected Primark's expansion to continue, with its grocery, ingredients and agriculture businesses all making further progress.
Views: 44 Projection
Lipitor Maker Pfizer to Face Lawsuits - Aug 12, 2014
 
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Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer is facing a number of lawsuits from women claiming the company knew about possible side-effects of its anti-cholesterol drug Lipitor
Views: 148 Projection
Chinese Gamblers Heading to Vegas - Sep 18, 2014
 
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China’s high-spending gamblers are looking to bet outside Macau amid a government assault on corruption and extravagance, and that’s boosting casinos from the Philippines to the Las Vegas Strip. Visitors from China are lifting gambling growth in Las Vegas while casinos in Melbourne and Manila are fighting over Chinese VIPs. That’s while Macau, the one place in China where casinos are legal, has suffered three straight months of declining gambling revenue as the anti-graft crackdown shows no signs of abating. MGM Resorts and Wynn Resorts both posted recent results that beat analyst estimates. Las Vegas casinos revenue has gained 3.7 percent to $3.7 billion dollars in the 12 months to the end of July, driven mainly by a 14.4 percent jump in baccarat revenue. Macau remains the world’s biggest gambling hub despite the recent declines, generating $45.2 billion of casino revenue for the city in 2013, seven times more than the Las Vegas Strip and dwarfing the $36.5 billion for the U.S. as a whole.
Views: 2697 Projection
Archer Daniels Midland Revenue Disappoints - Feb 27, 2015
 
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U.S. agribusiness Archer Daniels Midland reported higher quarterly earnings as a record-large U.S. harvest boosted grain volumes and supported strong exports, although revenue fell short of expectations. Earnings in agricultural services, ADM's biggest business segment in terms of revenue, grew on the back of U.S. corn and soybean crops. ADM reported net earnings of 701 million dollars or $1.08 per share, in the quarter ended December 31, up from 374 million or 56 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding special items such as charges related to ADM's purchase of flavorings company Wild Flavors, earnings were $1.00 per share, up from 95 cents a year earlier and above the analysts' average estimate of 94 cents. Revenue fell to 20.89 billion from 24.14 billion, missing the consensus expectation of 23.85 billion. The company warned of headwinds from deteriorating ethanol margins in 2015.
Views: 176 Projection
Roper Industries Exceeds Forecasts - Feb 2, 2015
 
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Roper Industries reported fourth-quarter net income of 185.9 million dollars. The Florida-based company reported profit of $1.84 per share, which increased to $1.85 per share after being adjusted for non-recurring items. The results came in above Wall Street expectations, where the average estimate of analysts was for earnings of $1.79 per share. The industrial equipment maker posted revenue of 946.1 million dollars in the period, missing Wall Street forecasts for revenue to come in at 953.9 million. For the full year, the company reported profit of 646 million dollars or $6.40 per share and revenue of 3.55 billion. For the current quarter ending in March, Roper Industries expects its per-share earnings to range from $1.47 to $1.53, where analysts had forecast adjusted earnings per share of $1.52. The company forecast full-year earnings in the range of $6.70 to $6.94 per share.
Views: 30 Projection
Tiffany Q2 Earnings Surpass Estimates - Sep 1, 2014
 
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Revenue increased to $993 million dollars from $926 million a year ago, while same-store sales increased 3 percent. Analysts had expected the upscale jeweler to report earnings of 85 cents a share on $988 million in revenue. The company raised its full-year earnings per share guidance to between $4.20 and $4.30 from between 4.15 and 4.25. Lower-priced jewelry such as the Atlas collection - a range of silver jewelry including lariats and pendants priced below $500 - nets Tiffany higher margins than its more expensive pieces for which it is famous. The company said comparable-store sales in the Americas region, which accounts for nearly half of Tiffany's overall sales, rose 8 percent in the second quarter ended July 31.
Views: 11 Projection
Costco Income Beats Expectations - Oct 10, 2014
 
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Costco reported fiscal fourth-quarter net income of $697 million dollars. On a per-share basis, the company said it had net income of $1.58 a share. The results came in above Wall Street expectations where analysts had estimated earnings of $1.52 per share. The operator posted revenue of $35.52 billion dollars in the period, also exceeding analyst expectations of $35.37 billion. Once the home of cheap hot dogs and unreasonably large buckets of mayonnaise, Costco has found a new niche of fresh food and along with it, fresh customers. The company said sales of fruits, vegetables, and other perishables increased in “the high single digits” and overall, it reported profit growth of 13 percent, making this its best quarter since May 2013. Buoyed by 2 million new shoppers, Costco’s membership revenue was up 7.3 percent in the quarter and for the year ended August 31, Costco collected $2.4 billion dollars in membership fees.
Views: 19 Projection
Glencore Approaches Rio Tinto - Oct 8, 2014
 
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t’s been reported that miner and commodity trader Glencore had reached out to Rio Tinto’s largest shareholder, Chinalco, to gauge its interest in a potential deal. Rio Tinto has broken its silence over Glencore's July merger offer, revealing that its board unanimously believed the bid was not in the best interests of the target's shareholders. Glencore chief executive Ivan Glasenberg believes a $US160 billion dollar merged mining giant – with market-leading positions in iron ore, copper, nickel, zinc and coal – makes sense and that corporate advisers at Standard Chartered have been doing preliminary work on a deal. Rio said it rejected Glencore's merger offer last month, after an approach was made in July and there has been no further contact between the parties on the matter. Rio's American depositary receipts rose as much as 20 per cent in New York following the announcement.
Views: 148 Projection
Cablevision and Comcast lose video subscribers in the first quarter
 
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Cablevision Subscribers reported that video subscriber losses in the first quarter doubled from a year ago, as the cable TV company's customers continued to shift to lower-priced bundled services from telecom carriers. A different story at Comcast, with the company delivering quarterly earnings and revenue that beat analysts' expectations. Net income rose 10 percent to 2.1 billion, or 81 cents per share from a year earlier, with adjusted earnings per share coming in at 79 cents, beating the 74 cents forecast by the market.
Views: 19 Projection
Hertz Issues Deepen - Aug 21, 2014
 
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Hertz Global shares tanked after the company said 2014 results were “well below” its forecast, blaming costs for an accounting review and sector wide vehicle recalls that prevented it from meeting demand. In addition to a record level of vehicle recalls, Hertz said it’s experiencing higher-than-expected operating expenses in the U.S. rental-car market and soft demand in its equipment-rental business. The company also highlighted delays with the installation of a computer system, hampering its ability to integrate the 2012 acquisition of Dollar Thrifty Automotive. The car and equipment rental company has yet to report financial results from the first or second quarters. It has delayed earnings reports at least four times since it uncovered accounting errors and said it can no longer rely on its past three years of financial statements. Hertz in May reaffirmed a forecast it would earn at least $1.70 a share this year on sales of at least 11.4 billion dollars. The company now expects to be well below the low end of its 2014 guidance.
Views: 33 Projection