India approves IKEA plan
The Indian government on Thursday approved a plan worth almost US$2 billion by Swedish furniture giant IKEA to open stores in India for the first time, officials said. IKEA’s plan to invest in India was approved in a Cabinet meeting headed by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, officials said. The Swedish firm, which submitted its application in June last year, hopes to open 25 stores in India through a 100 percent owned unit called Ingka Holding. It comes as part of a wider push into emerging markets, such as China and Russia.
LinkedIn continues streak
LinkedIn Corp continued its uninterrupted streak of beating analysts’ expectations with its quarterly results on Thursday as earnings and revenue soared. LinkedIn earned US$22.6 million, or US$0.20 per share, in the first quarter. That is up from US$5 million, or US$0.04 per share, in the same period a year earlier. Revenue grew 72 percent to US$324.7 million from US$188.5 million. The company said it expects revenue between YS$342 million and US$347 million for the period from last month to next month. For the full year, LinkedIn expects revenue of between US$1.43 billion and US$1.46 billion, an increase of its previous guidance range by US$20 million.
Adidas beats estimates
Adidas AG reported a first-quarter profit that beat estimates and said its gross margin widened to a record, sending the shares to the highest level ever. Net income climbed 6.5 percent to 308 million euros (US$403 million), the Herzogenaurach, Germany-based sporting-goods maker said yesterday, exceeding the 298.5 million-euro average estimate of 15 analysts in a survey.
Airline reports sharp losses
Air France-KLM said its losses mounted sharply in the first quarter compared to a year earlier, when earnings were boosted by a gain in the value of oil price hedging contracts the airline uses to manage its fuel costs. Air France-KLM says it lost 630 million euros in the January-March quarter, compared to a loss of 379 million euros a year earlier. Last year’s result benefited from a 220 million euros gain on the airline’s hedging contracts. The airline, in the midst of a three-year turnaround plan, says it is hoping to strengthen its position by paying down debt and reducing staff costs further.
Siemens bearish on forecast
German industrial conglomerate Siemens AG warned on Thursday that its forecast for this year be at the “low-end” of what it had anticipated because of numerous one-off charges and restructuring costs, despite posting a rise in second-quarter net income. Charges related to the program are estimated to come in at 900 million euros for this year — lowering the company’s bottom line this year, the company said. Siemens had predicted income from continuing operations at between 4.5 billion euros and 5 billion euros, but now says it expects income “to approach the low end of our original expectation.”
GM reports drop in profits
General Motors Co (GM) on Thursday reported a 13.8 percent drop in first-quarter profit largely due to weakness in North America, but pared losses in recession-riddled Europe. GM reported net income of US$865 million in the quarter to March 31, down from US$1.0 billion a year earlier.