Wed, Mar 09, 2016 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

PHARMACEUTICALS

Merck Q4 profit rises 6.3%

Merck KGaA posted fourth-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates on sales of its pharmaceutical manufacturing equipment. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, and excluding some costs, rose 6.3 percent to 933.4 million euros (US$1.03 billion), the Darmstadt, Germany-based company said in a statement yesterday. That is higher than the 912.7 million euro average of seven analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Merck chief executive officer Karl-Ludwig Kley has spent the last eight years restructuring the conglomerate, which has not launched a new drug in more than a decade.

LUXURY GOODS

Rumors fuel Burberry stock

Burberry Group PLC rose as much as 5 percent to £14.34 at 8am in London on speculation that the UK’s biggest luxury-goods producer is setting up defenses against a potential takeover offer. Burberry asked its advisers at Robey Warshaw to help prepare for a bid after a mystery investor built up a stake of about 5 percent in the trenchcoat maker, the Financial Times said, citing people close to the matter that it did not identify. The company asked HSBC Holdings PLC, which is the custodian for the stake, to identify the client, although the bank refused, the newspaper said. The stock has dropped 27 percent in the past year.

MACROECONOMICS

German production rises

German industrial production jumped more than forecast in January, in a sign that strong domestic demand might be helping to underpin factories even as external growth cools. Production, adjusted for seasonal swings, climbed 3.3 percent from the prior month after retreating a revised 0.3 percent in December last year, data from the German Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy in Berlin showed yesterday. That is the first increase in three months and compares with a median estimate of 0.5 percent growth in a Bloomberg survey of economists. The gauge rose 2.2 percent from a year earlier. Germany’s inflation rate dropped to minus-0.2 percent last month, the weakest figure in more than a year.

ENERGY

Gorgon producing LNG

Chevron Corp’s US$4 billion Gorgon liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, the largest resource development in Australia’s history, has started producing the super-cooled fuel. The project, whose partners include Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Exxon Mobil Corp, is due to ship its first cargo next week, Chevron said in a statement. The development is located on the Barrow Island nature reserve off northwest Australia. Gorgon is starting as weaker oil prices threaten revenue projections for LNG export developments, which typically have long-term sales contracts tied to the value of crude.

INVESTMENT

Loan-linked bonds on offer

JPMorgan Chase & Co is marketing a package of bonds tied to unsecured consumer loans that were originated by LendingClub Corp, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. The securities are backed by some of the US$1 billion of loans that JPMorgan bought from Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc earlier this year, and are split into two offerings, said the people, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Bond sales tied to personal loans made over the Internet have grown over the past two years.

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