Nestle Q1 revenue up 5%
Swiss food and drinks giant Nestle SA reported first-quarter sales of 21.389 billion Swiss francs (US$23.34 billion), up more than 5 percent from sales of SF20.26 billion a year ago. The Vevey, Switzerland-based company said the first-quarter sales reflected strong growth in emerging markets, despite low consumer confidence amid financial crises in developed countries. Nestle CEO Paul Bulcke said that “as anticipated, 2012 is already confirming itself to be a challenging year ... [but] our past and present investments, and continuing innovation, have enabled us to deliver good growth in the first quarter.”
POSCO Q1 profit down 42%
South Korea’s POSCO, the world’s third-largest steelmaker by output, yesterday said first-quarter net profit dropped 42 percent year-on-year due to price cuts and higher raw material costs. Net profit was 539 billion won (US$473 million) for January-March, compared with 927 billion won a year earlier, the company said in a statement. Price discounts owing to slowing demand amid the global economic turmoil were the main factor squeezing margins, spokesman Chung Jae-woong said. Operating profit fell 54 percent to 422 billion won, from 921 billion a year earlier, while sales rose 3.8 percent to 9.460 trillion won.
Bank of America improving
Bank of America Corp on Thursday reported better-than-expected first-quarter earnings, in the latest sign that the No. 2 US bank is moving past the mortgage troubles that have hobbled it since the financial crisis. First-quarter net income was US$653 million, or US$0.03 a share, down from US$2.05 billion, or US0.17 per share, a year earlier. The bank reported charges of US$4.8 billion related to changes in the value of its debt, partially offset by gains of US$2.8 billion from equity investments and debt-related transactions. Excluding debt valuation adjustments, earnings were US$0.31 a share.
CWW awaits Vodafone offer
Cable & Wireless Worldwide PLC (CWW) said on Thursday it had secured a four-day extension to allow Vodafone to make an offer for the international telecoms company. The company said in a statement that Britain’s takeover regulator had pushed the deadline for any potential bid back from Thursday at 5pm until Monday noon. “There can be no certainty that any offer will be made, nor as to the terms of any offer,” the statement added. CWW, created in 2010 following a demerger, operates a cable network serving 150 countries directly or through local partners, supplying telecoms services to businesses and public sector bodies. The company had been courted by two suitors — Tata Communications Ltd and Vodafone Group PLC — but Tata ruled itself out of the running on Wednesday, sending CWW shares plunging.
EU greenlights EMI sale
The EU’s competition regulator on Thursday approved a deal by Sony/ATV and other investors to buy part of the famous British music company EMI Group Ltd. Sony/ATV, a joint venture between Sony Corp and the Michael Jackson estate, and several investment funds, including United Arab Emirates-based Mubadala Development Co, jointly offered US$2.2 billion in November for EMI Music’s publishing businesses. EMI’s publishing arm manages the rights to songs of popular artists such as Amy Winehouse, Regina Spektor and Rihanna.