Disney’s net income grows
The Walt Disney Co said on Tuesday that net income in the first three months of the year grew 21 percent as better performance from pay-TV network ESPN and its theme parks offset a loss at the movie studio driven by the flop John Carter. Net income in the three months to March 31 rose to US$1.14 billion, or US$0.63 per share, from US$942 million, or US$0.49 per share, a year ago. Earnings came to US$0.58 per share after excluding one-time items, including a US$184 million non-cash gain related to Disney acquiring a controlling stake in Indian media company UTV. Revenue rose 6 percent to US$9.63 billion from US$9.08 billion.
EasyJet cuts losses
EasyJet said seasonal first-half losses narrowed, helped by cost-cutting initiatives and minimal weather-related disruption, and that it expected second-half revenues to grow by up to 5 percent. Europe’s second-largest low-cost carrier yesterday posted a pretax loss of ￡112 million (US$180.61 million) in the six months to the end of March, 27 percent lower than the loss it made in the same period a year earlier. The company said revenues increased 16 percent to ￡1.46 billion, while passengers flown grew 5.4 percent to 25.2 million, as it continued to grow its share of the short-haul business travel market.
Allianz’s profit soars
German insurance giant Allianz, Europe’s market leader, said yesterday its net profit had soared nearly 60 percent in the first quarter, according to preliminary results. After-tax profit surpassed 1.4 billion euros (US$1.81 billion) while operating profit topped 2.3 billion euros — a rise of about 40 percent on the same period last year. The sharp increase in profits was based in part on a particularly weak first quarter of last year, during which natural catastrophes, including the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, weighed heavily on results.
Glencore: demand strong
Commodities group Glencore International PLC says demand for raw materials is strong, with production of Mutanda copper up 46 percent and Kazzinc gold up 24 percent year-on-year. The Swiss-based company’s operational update yesterday on its first quarter included figures on raw materials extracted — but not profits — and it said that “physical demand for commodities remains broadly healthy across the globe.” The company also headed into its first shareholder meeting yesterday in Switzerland amid calls from anti-corruption campaigners for more transparency on its deals in the resource-rich Democratic Republic of the Congo. Glencore reported in March a 7 percent rise in full-year profit to US$4.06 billion for last year, citing rising prices for key raw materials and strong demand in developing countries.
HGS rejects takeover offer
GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK) has tabled an offer to take over US drug maker Human Genome Sciences Inc (HGS) which values the target at nearly US$2.6 billion. GlaxoSmithKline, which has profit-sharing agreements with HGS on three drugs, said yesterday it is offering US$13 per share for the company. The offer was rejected by HGS management. GSK said its offer was 81 percent more than the HGS share price on April 18, before HGS disclosed the earlier private offer. The tender offer will remain open for 20 days.