Category Archives: Corporate
“Commerzbank AG (CBK), the German bank forced to raise capital five times in the past four years, fell the most since March on concern that exposure to southern European debt may add to its financial woes.
Commerzbank dropped as much as 6.9 percent to 5.73 euros in Frankfurt, the lowest intraday price on record and taking losses this year to 46 percent. The 47-member Stoxx 600 Banks Index fell 3 percent.
“There seems to be renewed concern about holdings of peripheral bonds in Italy, Spain and Portugal given the public finance exposure the bank has,” Riccardo Rovere, an analyst at Mediobanca SpA (MB), said by telephone from Milan.
Commerzbank’s declines were surpassed only by lenders in Portugal and Spain in a sell-off sparked by the second resignation of a Portuguese government minister in two days, which sent the country’s 10-year bond yield to 8 percent for the first time since November.
Commerzbank had 2.9 billion euros ($3.8 billion) of exposure to debt in Portugal and 12.2 billion euros to Spain at the end of March, company filings show. Those figures combine sovereign, banking, commercial real estate and other debt.
Both GM and Honda have already begun fielding small test fleets of hydrogen-powered vehicles—as have a number of competitors including Toyota and Mercedes-Benz—but the goal of the new effort is to help solve resolving technical hurdles while driving costs down to mass-market levels. The makers also hope that by making a serious commitment to fuel cell technology they will encourage the energy industry to expand the availability of hydrogen, something essential to encourage consumer acceptance.
“The widespread use of future fuel cell vehicles requires a significant advance in cost reduction…and in the refueling infrastructure that will support them,” Tetsuo Iwamura, president of American Honda Motor Co., was expected to say according to remarks prepared for a Tuesday news conference. “Two companies can do more together than the simple sum of our individual efforts.”….”
“DETROIT (TheStreet) — Once again in June, automakers are reporting strong sales led by double-digit increases in pickup truck sales, a sign of the reviving economy and the strength of the home construction market.
Ford (F_) said sales rose 13% to 235,643 units, its best total in June since 2006. F-Series sales rose 24% to 68,009, F-Series’ best June since 2005. Chrysler said sales rose 8% to 156,686 units, its best June total since 2007. Ram truck sales rose 23% to 30,935, tops among Chryslerbrands…”
On Monday, Mr. Pincus said he is giving up the CEO reins next week to Don Mattrick, the current head of Microsoft’s Xbox division.
Mr. Pincus will remain as Zynga’s chairman and chief product officer. He and Mr. Mattrick will report directly to the board and will form a new executive committee to help manage the company’s operations.
“Don is unique in the game business,” said Mr. Pincus in a statement. “He can execute in multiple domains—hardware, software and network.”…”
The maker of iPhones is seeking protection for the name which is categorized as being for products including a handheld computer or watch device, according to a June 3 filing with the Japan Patent Office that was made public last week. Takashi Takebayashi, a Tokyo-based spokesman for Apple, didn’t respond to a message left at his office seeking comment on the application.
Apple has a team of about 100 product designers working on a wristwatch-like device that may perform some of the tasks now handled by the iPhone and iPad, two people familiar with the company’s plans said in February. Samsung, the world’s biggest maker of smartphones, is developing a wristwatch, the company said in March…..”
“U.K. banks’ share of global industry profit fell by half to 5 percent since 2007 as Chinese lenders gained during the financial crisis, according to research by The Banker magazine.
Chinese banks saw their share of pretax profit soar to 29 percent in 2012 from 4 percent in 2007, according to the study of 1,000 lenders published today.
U.K. bank earnings slumped in the period as companies including Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc were bailed out by taxpayers and compelled to write down the value of loans, cut jobs and sell assets. Britain’s four largest lenders will have eliminated about 189,000 jobs by the end of this year from their peak staffing levels, bringing employment to a nine-year low, according to data compiled by Bloomberg….”
“SandRidge Energy Inc. SD +2.17% on Wednesday ousted Chief Executive Tom Ward after dissident investors pushed for his removal. But the founder’s fall is being cushioned by about $90 million, one of the larger severance packages seen in the energy industry.
Mr. Ward’s departure wasn’t a surprise. SandRidge came under fire last year from activist investors for Mr. Ward’s high pay, a weak stock performance and its dealings with businesses controlled by Mr. Ward and his family. A spokesman for Mr. Ward said he wasn’t available to comment.
In March, the Oklahoma City company settled a proxy fight with a big activist shareholder, agreeing to either fire Mr. Ward or give control of its board to the activist, hedge fund TPG-Axon Capital LP. SandRidge appointed four directors nominated by the investor at that time.
SandRidge promoted President and Chief Financial Officer James Bennett to CEO. Mr. Bennett, who will remain president, worked in private equity before joining SandRidge in 2011….”
“Alcatel-Lucent SA (ALU) Chief Executive Officer Michel Combes plans to sell at least 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) of assets and reduce costs by another 1 billion euros to stem losses and focus on businesses including ultra-high speed Internet.
Shares jumped as much as 5.6 percent after Combes said that the time the plan is fully executed in 2015, the company will have positive free cash flow and be more tightly focused on its most remunerative areas after cutting out legacy operations.
“It’s a strategic turning point for the company,” he said during a conference call. “For the first time, it’s making strong industrial choices.”
Combes, who took over almost three months ago after predecessor Ben Verwaayen’s asset sales and firings failed to achieve a turnaround, wants to execute his plan by 2015 to keep the French network equipment vendor’s cash from further dwindling after seven consecutive years of decrease. Alcatel then will look to cut its debt by 2 billion euros by selling shares on the stock market or through further asset sales, the Paris-based group said in a statement.
Alcatel-Lucent shares were up 5.2 percent at 1.49 euros at 9:04 a.m. in Paris, more than double what they were worth when they hit a 23-year low in October.
“CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Duke Energy’s chief financial officer will take over for retiring CEO Jim Rogers at the end of the month.
Lynn Good, 54, has been CFO since 2009. She will also take a seat on the company board.
Rogers will retain his board chairman seat until he steps down at the end of the year.
The board plans to name one of its independent directors as chair-elect in the coming weeks. That person will become chairman when Rogers departs….”
Sprint, Clearwire’s largest shareholder, said it sued Dish in state court in Wilmington, Delaware, yesterday to try to halt Dish’s $4.40-a-share bid for Clearwire. Sprint and Dish are both vying to acquire the Bellevue, Washington-based firm.
Dish’s offer is designed to coerce Clearwire shareholders into handing over their shares “or else be left holding stock in a corporation that will be handicapped by unlawful corporate governance restrictions, onerous debt provisions and subject to massive monetary damages claims,” according to a copy of a complaint provided by Sprint’s lawyers. The filing couldn’t be confirmed in Delaware Chancery Court after regular business hours yesterday…..”
“…. “We have a very robust fix and a next-battery-generation system that I think is going to serve this airplane well for the future,” said McNerney. Boeing shares were up more than 1% in trading.”
“Netflix has struck its largest original content deal ever, investing further in kids’ content with new original series from DreamWorks Animation.
It’s a multi-year deal for exclusive access to over 300 hours of programming, starting in 2014. And the deal is global, covering all Netflix’s territories. This gives the streaming media giant exclusive access to first-run kids content that until now has only been available on the likes of Viacom’s Nickelodeon or the Disney channel.
The two companies aren’t announcing which shows are in the works, just saying the new shows will be “inspired by characters from DreamWorks Animation’s hit franchises and upcoming feature films as well as the vast Classic Media Library, which DreamWorks acquired in 2012.” The deal follows the announcement in February that Netflix and DreamWorks were collaborating on their first Netflix Original Series: Turbo, which premieres, July 17.
The deal also gives Netflix exclusive access to DreamWorks Animation features, starting with ‘The Croods,’ along with ‘Turbo’ and ‘Peabody and Sherman.’…”
“(Reuters) - Orchard Supply Hardware Stores Corp has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, court documents showed on Monday, with rival retailer Lowe’s Companies set to buy the majority of its assets for $205 million in cash.
Orchard, which was spun off by Sears Holdings Corp in late-2011, said it was carrying a high debt load and that it may not be in a position to make scheduled payments when the first tranche of its debt matures in December 2013.
“The company’s substantial debt due, in part, to significant recapitalization dividends paid to Sears, made it difficult, if not impossible for the company to right itself. The ever present prospect of violating the company’s leverage ratio covenants hampered many of its operational strategies,” Orchard said in the court filing.
Management and the board determined that a sale of Orchard through a Chapter 11 process was the best possible outcome for the company and its stakeholders after exploring a range of alternatives, the company said.
The company, which generated revenue of $657 million in the 2012 fiscal year, listed total liabilities of $480.1 million and total assets of $441 million, according to a court filing.
Orchard said it has secured commitments for $177 million in debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing, which will help it to continue meeting its financial obligations throughout the Chapter 11 case.
LOWE’S ACTS AS “STALKING HORSE” BIDDER…”
“LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s Co-operative Group has agreed a plan to plug a 1.5 billion pound ($2.4 billion) capital hole at its bank which forces bondholders to pay part of the bill, avoiding a repeat of the taxpayer-funded bailouts staged during the financial crisis.
Using a “bail-in” model, bondholders must swap their debt for new bonds and equity in the bank to be listed on the London Stock Exchange, while the Co-op Group, Britain’s biggest customer-owned business, will also provide financial support for its banking unit, the Co-op said on Monday.
The future of the bank, which has 4.7 million customers, has been in question since Moody’s cut the lender’s credit rating to junk status and warned it might need taxpayer support – something the bank denied. Its capital position had come under increased scrutiny since it pulled out of a deal to buy hundreds of bank branches from Lloyds Banking Group in April.
The Co-op Group, which also runs supermarkets, funeral services and pharmacies, said the plans will provide stability for the Co-operative Bank <cpbb_p.l>, generating 1 billion pounds of new capital this year and 500 million pounds in 2014.
“We have put in place a detailed and comprehensive solution to meet the current and longer-term capital requirements of the bank. In doing so we have agreed a plan to ensure its future,” said Chief Executive Euan Sutherland.
The measures will involve an exchange offer to investors in the bank’s subordinated capital securities, resulting in the transfer of ordinary shares which will be listed in October.
Co-op’s debt holders are all ‘junior’, or ‘subordinated’, a type of bond that pays higher interest than ‘senior’ debt, but carries a higher risk. These kinds of bonds suffered heavy losses in rescued banks in Ireland and Spain….”
“(Reuters) – Starboard Value LP, a large shareholder in Smithfield Foods Inc , urged the world’s largest pork producer to explore a breakup rather than go ahead with a planned $4.7 billion takeover by Chinese meat company Shuanghui International.
The activist shareholder, which disclosed a 5.7 percent stake in the company on Monday, said Smithfield might be worth “well in excess” of the $34 per share offered by Shuanghui if it split into hog production, pork and international units and shopped the businesses separately.
Starboard said in a letter dated June 17 to Smithfield’s board its sum-of-the-parts valuation was between $44 and $55 per share.
Officials from Smithfield and Shuanghui were not immediately available to comment….”