European drugmakers advanced this week after GlaxoSmithKline Plc, Europe's biggest pharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca Plc, the second largest, and Roche Holding AG raised sales and profit forecasts. \nCie de Saint-Gobain SA, the world's biggest glassmaker, and DSM NV, the largest maker of drug ingredients, paced the week's declines among some exporters as the dollar slipped 2.7 percent against the euro to its lowest in three weeks. \nOn Friday, the Dow Jones Stoxx 50 Index dropped 29.55, or 1.2 percent, to 2407.11, trimming its advance for the week to 0.1 percent. The Stoxx 600 declined 0.8 percent to 205.79, cutting the weekly gain to 0.3 percent. \nDrug companies led gains among the Stoxx 600's 18 industry groups. GlaxoSmithKline, Roche and AstraZeneca were among the top 10 performers on the Stoxx 50 after reporting profit that beat analysts' estimates because of sales growth and cost cuts. \n"It shows the darkest period is over for big pharmaceuticals for a while," said Youri Amerijckx, who manages US$460 million of healthcare stocks, including Roche Holding, at KBC Asset Management, Belgium's largest asset manager by market share. \nBefore this week, the Stoxx 600 Healthcare Index had dropped 1.8 percent in 2003, while the Stoxx 600 gained 1.7 percent. \nBenchmark indexes fell in 13 of the 17 Western European markets on Friday. Germany's DAX slipped 0.5 percent. The UK's FTSE 100 declined 0.4 percent, and France's CAC dropped 1.5 percent. \nSeptember futures on the Dow Jones Euro Stoxx 50 Index of companies based in the 12 countries sharing the euro shed 0.9 percent to 2452. The index dropped 1.6 percent to 2442.13. \nDrug companies \nGlaxoSmithKline was the fourth-best performer in the Stoxx 50 this week, climbing 4 percent. Europe's biggest drugmaker said Wednesday full-year earnings per share may exceed the "high single digit" growth it forecast in April. The shares slid 1.3 percent to UK Pound 12.15 on Friday. \nAstraZeneca, Europe's second-biggest drugmaker, climbed 2.6 percent this week. The company boosted its full-year outlook after second-quarter profit fell less than analysts expected. The stock dropped 0.6 percent on Friday to UK Pound 24.94. \nRoche, the world's biggest maker of cancer drugs, slipped 1.3 percent to 111.25 Swiss francs, for a 3 percent weekly gain. The company Wednesday raised the estimate for its Mabthera blood-cancer medicine to Sf4.5 billion (US$3.3 billion) and for Pegasys, a hepatitis C treatment, to Sf2 billion. \n"Drug developers provide defense against all the economic uncertainty out there and on top of that they are releasing good earnings: that makes them a good bet," said Miguel Angel Castro, who helps manage the equivalent of US$577 million at Renta 4 SA in Madrid, which recently bought AstraZeneca shares. \nDollar hurts some \nA declining dollar might outweigh any benefit to European companies from an expanding US economy, eroding earnings generated in the US and making their products more expensive. \nSaint-Gobain, founded in 1665 to produce mirrors in French King Louis XIV's palace in Versailles, slipped 1.8 percent to 33.10 euros, for a weekly slide of 4.2 percent. The company, whose products include perfume bottles and roof shingles, expects full-year profit to drop after first-half earnings fell 5.6 percent to 470 million euros (US$541 million). \nDSM sank 3.4 percent to 40.17 euros after saying third-quarter profit may drop more than 25 percent from 68 million euros in the second quarter. The shares gained 1.4 percent in the week. \nExchange rates \nRhodia SA, France's biggest specialty-chemicals maker, dropped 4.6 percent to 5.38 euros after saying the second half is proving more difficult than anticipated, partly because of changes in demand and foreign exchange rates. It posted a second-quarter net loss of 87 million euros, hurt by increased petrochemical prices. The stock lost 5.1 percent this week. \nSiemens, Germany's biggest electronics and engineering company, dropped 0.2 percent to 49.00 euros, trimming its gain for the week to 3.4 percent. The company said Thursday fiscal third-quarter net income fell 13 percent to 632 million euros, beating the 454 million-euro average estimate by analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. \nRenault SA, France's No. 2 carmaker, climbed 3.8 percent to 49.8 euros. The company said first-half net income rose 32 percent to 1.18 billion euros, boosted by affiliate Nissan Motor Co, which almost tripled earnings. First-half net income beat the 1.1 billion-euro median forecast of 12 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. The stock added 3.8 percent this week. \nInsurers \nLegal & General Group Plc Thursday predicted sales of financial products will rise, lifting shares of UK rivals such as Prudential Plc, the country's largest insurer, and Aviva Plc. \nLegal & General, the UK's fourth-largest insurer, climbed 4.6 percent to UK Pound 0.97, bringing its weekly advance to 8.7 percent. \nThe company said it expects demand to improve in the second half. \nFirst-half operating profit rose 1 percent to UK Pound 365 million (US$587 million). Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had expected profit of UK Pound 364 million. \nPrudential Plc, the largest UK insurer by premium income, climbed 1.6 percent to UK Pound 4.33, for a weekly gain of 3.3 percent. \nAviva Plc, the country's second-biggest insurer, added 1.7 percent to UK Pound 4.9725, for a 4.3 percent rise since last Friday. \nZeltia SA, a Spanish company developing cancer treatments from marine life, slumped 19 percent to 5.79 euros. The rejection of its most advanced drug, Yondelis, by the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products raised concern about the company's ability to continue funding research. The stock fell 6.2 percent this week.
From the customer’s perspective, car rental is a straightforward business. The only uncertainty is whether the hire company will charge you for the scratch they discover when you hand back the vehicle. Hertz Global Holdings Inc’s bankruptcy protection filing on Friday last week was a reminder that today even the simplest business models are underpinned by a lot more financial complexity than meets the eye. The proximate cause of Hertz’s demise was of course the sudden collapse in bookings caused by COVID-19 travel restrictions. The company’s monthly revenue last month fell 73 percent year-on-year, a shortfall that even the most resilient
Uber Technologies Inc, Lyft Inc and Airbnb Inc have slashed thousands of jobs. Salesforce.com Inc and Visa Inc are letting employees work remotely for months; Twitter Inc and Square Inc are allowing them to do so for good. For the companies’ hometown of San Francisco, the moves are early signs of a dire blow. In a city with a long history of booms, busts and natural calamities, the COVID-19 pandemic has suddenly upended nearly a decade of prosperity. While municipalities across the US are grappling with economic fallout from the virus, San Francisco stands to take a deeper hit given its high
‘ONE-STOP SHOP’: A Miaoli official said that the factory in the Jhunan section of the Hsinchu Science Park would create more than 1,000 jobs and boost prosperity A new high-end IC packaging and testing plant planned by contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) in Miaoli County is expected to start operations in the middle of next year, Miaoli County Commissioner Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) said. Hsu wrote on Facebook that TSMC, the world’s largest pure wafer foundry operator, would invest NT$303.2 billion (US$10.1 billion) to build the plant, the largest-ever single investment in Taiwan. However, TSMC declined to disclose the financial terms of the deal, while a company board meeting on May 12 approved a spending plan worth NT$168.2 billion as part of its investment plans. Construction of the
BULK PURCHASE: The French chain and Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm International reached a deal covering 224 stores, which is expected to be finalized by year’s end Carrefour SA yesterday announced it would acquire Wellcome Taiwan Co (惠康百貨) for 97 million euros (US$108.33 million), and bring all the Wellcome supermarkets (頂好超市) and Jasons Market Place stores nationwide under its banner within 12 months of the deal closing. The France-based hypermarket chain reached an agreement with Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm International Holdings (牛奶國際控股), the pan-Asian retailer that launched Wellcome Taiwan in 1987. The transaction involves 199 Wellcome supermarkets, which have average sales areas of 420m2 and 25 high-end Jasons Market Place stores, which have an average sales area of 820m2, as well as a warehouse in Taoyuan, Carrefour Taiwan (家樂福)