Tag Archives: Performance / Results / Income

Germany sued former manager Steinhoff with balance sheet fraud | Instant News

BERLIN (Reuters) – German prosecutors have filed charges against three former managers at South African retailer Steinhoff for balance sheet fraud, three years after the company first revealed holes in its accounts.

The Oldenburg prosecutor’s office said on Thursday that it had filed charges against the three for allegedly manipulating the balance sheet to include fictitious transactions worth more than 1.5 billion euros ($ 1.8 billion).

The managers, who were not named, were also accused of overvaluing real estate at 820 million euros, investigators said.

Germany’s regional courts must now decide whether to open legal proceedings against managers. Balance sheet manipulation is punishable by up to three years in prison.

Steinhoff, who has operational headquarters in Stellenbosch near Cape Town in South Africa and traces its roots to Westerstede near Bremen in Germany, declined to comment.

Steinhoff first exposed the hole in his account in December 2017, surprising investors who had supported his reinvention from a small South African company to a multinational retailer in the vanguard of Europe’s discount furniture retail industry.

In the country’s largest corporate scandal, an investigation by PwC found in 2019 that the company recorded fictitious or irregular transactions totaling 6.5 billion euros between the 2009 and 2017 financial years.

PwC investigators found a small group of former Steinhoff executives and individuals from outside the company, who implemented the deals, which substantially increased the value of the group’s profits and assets.

The retailer, whose budgeted furniture, clothing and home appliances business spans four continents, is now focused on reducing debt by nearly 10 billion euros by selling off assets and part of its core business, such as the Pepco Group’s potential European listing.

($ 1 = 0.8312 euros)

Reporting by Jan Schwarz, Alexander Huebner and Nqobile Dludla. Written by Caroline Copley. Edited by Emma Thomasson and Mark Potter


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UPDATE 2-Myer Australia’s first half sales fell 13% due to the pandemic, stocks slipped | Instant News

(Recast, adding analyst comments, stocks)

March 4 (Reuters) – Australia’s Myer Holdings Ltd said on Thursday store closings due to the COVID-19 pandemic led to a 13% drop in first-half sales, sending department store operator shares to their lowest in almost two months.

The 120-year-old retailer, the country’s highway icon, said sales fell to A $ 1.40 billion ($ 1.09 billion) for the six months ended January 25, from A $ 1.61 billion last year, due to movement restrictions. especially hitting sales. in metro cities like Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

Myer and other brick and mortar retailers have been hardest hit by the pandemic, and have had to rely on millions of dollars in government support.

While Australian retailers benefited from an economic rebound late last year as the country eased restrictions, Myer’s results suggest it still relies heavily on government support to keep operations going.

Myer received A $ 51 million as part of the government’s JobKeeper payment scheme aimed at supporting businesses significantly affected by the pandemic, and was also granted A $ 18 million in rental waivers in connection with store closings.

However, his online sales proved to be a bright spot as they jumped 71%. They account for 21% of total sales, double last year’s share.

“Management has indeed shown that they will continue to invest online. That makes a lot of sense, ”said Johannes Faul, director of equity research, Australia & New Zealand, Morningstar.

“In the long term, the general online channel will grow and the physical footprint will decline for Myer, while sales will be reallocated to the online channel.”

Profit attributable to shareholders for the period rose to A $ 43 million from A $ 24.4 million a year earlier, helped in large part by benefits from the JobKeeper scheme and lease relief.

The company does not pay dividends, continuing the suspension since 2018. ($ 1 = 1.2862 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Arundhati Dutta and Nikhil Subba in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel and Rashmi Aich)


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Novavax COVID-19 shots may be removed for US use by May: CEO | Instant News

(Reuters) – Novavax Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine could be allowed for use in the United States as soon as May if US regulators allow it based on data from the company’s UK trials, which could be completed “in the coming weeks,” its chairman. said the executive on Monday.

However, Chief Executive Stanley Erck added that talks with the US Food and Drug Administration are ongoing and the agency may ask Novavax to submit data from its US trial, which could take an additional two months to complete, pushing back US permits until mid-summer. . .

Novavax shares were down 5.6% at $ 226.85 in extended trading after initially gaining after the release of its quarterly results. Its stock has surged about 2,400% from $ 9.82 on January 21, 2020, when the company announced it was developing a vaccine against the coronavirus.

Preliminary data from a UK trial released in January showed the vaccine was about 96% effective against the original version of the coronavirus and about 86% effective against the now widely circulated variant first discovered in Britain.

Novavax can already produce its injections on a large scale and will be able to have tens of millions of doses stockpiled and ready to ship in the United States when it receives authorization, Erck said.

“It will be substantial – in the tens of millions or one hundred million,” Erck said in an interview.

Novavax has promised to deliver 110 million doses to the US government by the end of the third quarter. That could happen as early as July, said Erck.

Novavax vaccine production plants should all be fully functional by April, said Novavax head of research Gregory Glenn on a conference call after the company reported quarterly results.

“In April, May, June, we have to complete product filling and finishing before regulatory approval,” said Glenn.

In late January, Erck said he expected it to take several weeks for Novavax to submit UK trial data with regulators in Great Britain, Europe and elsewhere. Novavax can produce up to 150 million doses per month in May or June, he added in January in an interview.

Novavax injections, if permitted, would increase vaccine options for the millions of Americans awaiting immunization against the coronavirus.

Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine on Saturday became the third to win US emergency use (EUA) clearance. The vaccine produced by Pfizer Inc with partners BioNTech and Moderna Inc received the EUA in December.

The Novavax vaccine is a two-dose regimen like Pfizer and Moderna, but it’s easier to ship because it can be stored at refrigerator temperature, rather than frozen.

Novavax pledged to deliver a dose to the United States after the Trump administration gave it $ 1.6 billion to help fund research, development and production of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Novavax completed its US-based trial registration with 30,000 subjects in February.

Reporting by Carl O’Donnell; Edited by Bill Berkrot and Alistair Bell


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UPDATE 1-Telefonica is in exclusive talks with investors for the Brazilian fiber unit | Instant News

(Write with COO comments)

MADRID, February 25 (Reuters) – Telefonica is in exclusive talks with financial investors about setting up a joint fiber optic venture in Brazil, Chief Operating Officer Angel Vila said Thursday.

The Spanish telecommunications group plans to expand high-speed fiber-optic coverage to more cities in Brazil, following a similar project launched in Germany in partnership with insurance company Allianz.

“Brazil is the size of a continent. Our capital expenditure (capex) will not reach everything, “Vila told Reuters.

After speaking with many potential partners, the company has held exclusive talks with “international operators with a financial and infrastructure profile”, said Vila, declining to name investors.

Talks have progressed, he added, but “in this situation you can never say 100% that you will sign.”

Previously Vila told analysts that the second phase of development could be done through agreements with fiber owners such as the American Tower.

Telefonica is already using the infrastructure of larger US companies in the Brazilian states of Minas Gerais and Vila said they “may be interested in consolidating” the agreement.

Vila said she could not confirm a Bloomberg News report that exclusive talks were held with Canadian pension fund Caisse de depot el placement du Quebec (CDPQ), due to a confidentiality agreement.

“CDPQ is a top class long-term global investor, that would be very attractive,” he added.

American Tower did not immediately respond to a request for comment. CDPQ could not be reached immediately.

Telefonica plans to hold half of the business through Telefonica and its local branch Telefonica Brasil.

Vila told analysts by conference call that it could expand the unit later through acquisitions.

Telefonica cut its dividend after reporting a 10% drop in previous 2020 earnings on Thursday, although it expects business to stabilize this year. (Reporting by Isla Binnie, Eid by Inti Landauro, Kirsten Donovan)


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Primark UK expects strong trading when shops reopen their financial heads | Instant News

LONDON, February 25 (Reuters) – Associated British Foods expects fashion chain Primark to trade strongly in the UK as shops are allowed to reopen following the COVID-19 lockdown, its chief financial officer said on Thursday.

“We know that people will welcome us back,” John Bason told Reuters.

He noted that in Austria, where Primark stores reopened three weeks ago, year-over-year like-for-like sales have been positive.

Earlier, AB Foods warned it would lose 1.1 billion pounds ($ 1.6 billion) worth of sales from closing its Primark stores in the first half to February 27. The company expects to lose another 480 million pounds in the second half. (Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Kate Holton)


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