Founder exits company
Allen Chan (陳德源) of China’s Sino-Forest Corp (嘉漢林業), which is under investigation by Canadian regulators and police over allegations of false accounting, on Tuesday left the company he founded. Vice presidents Alfred Hung and George Ho, and Simon Yeung, a vice president of subsidiary Sino-Panel, have been fired after being put on administrative leave in August last year. The Ontario Securities Commission and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are investigating the Toronto-listed company, after Hong Kong-based Muddy Waters Research said the company had cooked its books.
Pfizer, Nestle close to deal
US giant Pfizer Inc is close to reaching a US$9 billion deal to sell its infant nutrition business to Nestle, according to the Wall Street Journal. The paper said Nestle, the Swiss food giant, had apparently beaten out Groupe Danone SA and Mead Johnson Nutrition Co, which had considered a joint bid for the business, and that the final deal could be announced next week. Pfizer has moved to unload peripheral entities in recent months in order to focus on its core medicine business.
Tesco to overhaul UK stores
Tesco PLC, the world’s No. 3 retailer, said it is spending ￡1 billion (US$1.6 billion) this year overhauling its core UK business as it seeks to win back market share, restore sales growth and calm nervous shareholders. Tesco said group profit before tax and one-off items rose 1.6 percent to ￡3.9 billion in the year to Feb. 25. Trading profit in Britain, where Tesco accounts for about ￡1 in every ￡10 spent in shops and makes more than 70 percent of its trading profit, fell 1 percent, with sales at stores open at least a year falling 1.6 percent in the final quarter.
LVMH revenues grow 25%
French conglomerate LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA said its revenues grew 25 percent in the first quarter of the year, driven by strong sales in Asia and the US, and at its new acquisition, Bulgari. The company said yesterday it brought in 6.6 billion euros (US$8.6 billion) from January to last month. While all of its business divisions grew, watches and jewelry stood out with a 141 percent increase in sales. Much of that comes from the purchase of Bulgari last year. Still, that division remains small. About a third of sales came from fashion and leather goods, which rose 17 percent.
Goldman raises its dividend
Goldman Sachs Group Inc reported higher-than-expected quarterly earnings thanks to aggressive cost-cutting and strong investment banking and trading revenues, and the Wall Street bank raised its dividend. Goldman earned US$2.1 billion, or earnings per share of US$3.92. In the year-ago period, it earned US$4.38 per share, excluding a one-time cost for buying back preferred stock. The company said it would raise its quarterly dividend to US$0.46 per share from US$0.35.
Japanese firms to import gas
Japan’s Mitsubishi and Mitsui said yesterday that they would import liquefied natural gas from the US, amid a push to boost energy sources after last year’s nuclear crisis. The country’s two largest trading companies said they would each order 4 million tonnes of the gas annually from Cameron LNG, a unit of Sempra Energy, as early as 2016.