Exports down 1.8 percent
Exports unexpectedly fell last month as manufacturers shipped fewer electronics goods and sales to customers in the US and Hong Kong declined. Outbound shipments dropped 1.8 percent from a year earlier, after a revised 9.9 percent gain in March, the trade promotion agency said in a statement yesterday. The median estimate of 13 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was for an increase of 7.9 percent. For the full year, the government expects exports to rise at about a third of the pace last year, when overseas shipments jumped the most since 2003.
H&M sales rise 21 percent
Hennes & Mauritz AB, the world’s second-largest clothing retailer, reported its strongest sales growth in eight months as an unusually warm April across northern Europe encouraged shoppers to buy summer fashions. Total sales last month gained 21 percent, Stockholm-based H&M said in a statement yesterday, the biggest advance since August. Revenue at stores open at least a year rose 11 percent. The median estimate in an SME Direkt poll of analysts was for total sales to rise 18 percent and comparable sales to gain 9 percent. Temperatures rose above the seasonal average in countries such as the UK last month, causing shoppers to bring forward purchases of summer clothing. Next PLC, the UK’s second-largest fashion retailer, also said this month purchases were boosted by the warm weather. A later Easter holiday this year further helped H&M’s sales, according to analysts including Richard Chamberlain at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Saab gets China funding
Saab and its Dutch owner Spyker yesterday announced new rescue funding through a venture with Chinese firm Pang Da Automobile (龐大汽車), just days after another Chinese rescue deal collapsed. Spyker described Pang Da as “China’s largest publicly traded automobile distributor with over 1,100 dealerships nationwide.” Spyker said that under a draft agreement covering manufacturing and distribution, Pang Da Automobile would inject 65 million euros (US$92 million) into Spyker in exchange for 24 percent of the company. The cash “will secure Saab automobile’s medium-term funding,” Spyker said in a statement. Pang Da will initially transfer 30 million euros to purchase Saab cars and another 15 million euros to purchase more vehicles within 30 days of the initial purchase.
LSE committed to TMX
The London Stock Exchange remains committed to a merger with its Toronto counterpart, it said yesterday, after a Canadian consortium launched an informal takeover bid that could derail the deal. “London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) remains committed to its recommended merger with TMX,” it said in a statement, adding that TMX has informed the group of the takeover approach. In February, the LSE Group had launched a merger with TMX, operator of the Toronto Stock Exchange. The deal is due to be completed in the autumn, pending regulatory and shareholder approvals. However, over the weekend, TMX revealed that it has received an informal approach from Maple Group Acquisition Corp, which is a grouping of Canadian financial institutions and pension funds. Maple’s offer values TMX at about C$3.58 billion (US$3.69 billion), according to various media reports.