Rio Tinto breaks records
Anglo-Australian giant Rio Tinto Group yesterday reported record underlying first-half earnings of US$7.8 billion, a 35 percent annual increase because of strong Asian demand for its commodities. Rio said it had been a “record breaking” period for the company, with first-half cash flow of US$12.9 billion, a 31 percent premium on the previous corresponding period, and net profits of US$7.587 billion. The results, which included record underlying earnings before tax and other factors of US$14.3 billion — 27 percent higher than the first half of last year — came in slightly below market expectations.
Adidas reports higher profits
German sportswear and equipment maker Adidas AG said yesterday its second-quarter net profit gained 11 percent to 140 million euros (US$200 million) and that it should reach 650 million euros for the year. Adidas raised its sales growth forecast for this year to 10 percent, from a previous outlook of less than 10 percent, owing to strong demand for its products in emerging markets. It put earnings per share at between 2.98 euros and 3.12 euros, which on the basis of the number of shares currently in circulation would mean a net profit of 648 million to 652 million euros for the year. Second-quarter sales rose 5 percent to 3.06 billion euros, in line with market expectations.
Swiss Re sees more demand
Swiss Reinsurance Co posted an 18 percent jump in second-quarter net profit to US$960 million and said that it expected even better results through next year. “The reinsurance market has started to turn and Swiss Re expects further improvements over the next six to 18 months,” the group said in its earnings statement. Higher demand for natural catastrophe insurance in Australia, New Zealand and the US lifted Swiss Re’s volume and prices, it noted. Meanwhile, Germany’s Munich Re said net profit rose 4 percent in the second quarter to 738 million euros. Gross premiums rose 9 percent to 11.96 billion euros.
Lloyds posts first-half loss
Britain’s state-rescued Lloyds Banking Group PLC yesterday reported a first-half net loss of ￡2.3 billion (US$3.8 billion) after being forced to compensate clients who were mis-sold insurance. Lloyds, which last month axed 15,000 jobs as it bids to halve its international division, said its loss after tax for the six months to June compared with a net profit of ￡596 million in the first half of last year. Pre-tax profits excluding exceptional charges slid 31 percent to ￡1.1 billion, but beat analyst expectations for profit of ￡1 billion, according to Dow Jones Newswires.
Hefner’s spouse settles case
The husband of former Playboy Enterprises Inc chief executive Christie Hefner, accused of using inside information in trading Playboy stock, has agreed to pay almost US$170,000 to settle the case. The US Securities and Exchange Commission said William Marovitz made trades in the magazine publisher’s shares between 2004 and 2009 based on non-public information and despite instructions from his wife not to do so. The agency said the five trades helped him either make profits or avoid losses of US$100,952. The civil case, filed on Wednesday in Illinois, says Marovitz bought and sold Playboy shares based on information from his wife about the company’s earnings, stock offerings and a potential acquisitions.