Company news in brief

14 February 2019 | Sakenuus
Heineken sees 2019 profit growth at similar pace to last year

Heineken, the world's second-largest beer maker, forecast its operating profit to grow at nearly the same rate in 2019 as last year, when beer sales increased in all its markets.

The Dutch brewer of Heineken, Tiger and Sol lagers and Strongbow cider, said it expected continued economic volatility, but improved revenue, driven by increased beer sales, higher prices and consumers trading up to more expensive drinks.

"Going into 2019, we expect the environment to remain uncertain and volatile. Overall, we anticipate our operating profit (beia) to grow by mid-single digit on an organic basis," chief executive Jean-Francois Boxmeer said in a statement.

The brewer's operating profit before one-offs rose 6.4% on a like-for-like basis in 2018 to 3.87 billion euros (US$4.39 billion), just above the average forecast of 3.85 billion euros in a Reuters poll. – Nampa/Reuters

Sibanye may restructure loss-making gold shafts

South Africa's Sibanye-Stillwater said on Tuesday it was considering measures, including restructuring if alternative solutions could not be found to bring loss making gold shafts back to profitability.

Gold producers in Africa's most industrialised economy, which have some of the world's deepest mines, have seen profits squeezed by rising costs, labour unrest and declining grades.

Sibanye said it was in regular talks with key stakeholders, including the unions, through forums where it highlighted the challenges facing its bullion operations to solicit cooperation to address these challenges.

Sibanye has signalled to unions that it may cut up to 5 000 jobs at its struggling Driefontein operation, according to digital publication Miningmx, which cited three unnamed sources with knowledge of the matter on Monday.

Sibanye flagged last month that its 2018 bullion production would miss guidance and come in at 1.1 million ounces, despite plans being implemented to curb losses after workers downed tools in mid-November. – Nampa/Reuters

Tullow Oil returns to post-tax profit

Africa-focused Tullow Oil yesterday posted its first annual post-tax profit in five years and said it would resume dividends with a 4.8 cent per share payout as it sets its sights on East African projects and drilling in Guyana.

As flagged in November, Tullow will pay out at least US$100 million to shareholders from this year while aiming to shrink its US$3.1 billion debt pile and ramp up spending to US$570 million at the same time.

The largest chunk of that money will help boost output in Ghana which in turn sets Tullow on course to raise output to 102 000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed) this year from 90 000 boed.

Tullow made a post-tax profit of US$85 million on US$1.9 billion in revenue last year buoyed by higher oil prices and cost discipline.

It hedged just under 60 000 bopd for 2019 at a floor price of US$56.24 per barrel and 25,000 bopd of its 2020 production $59.00 per barrel. – Nampa/Reuters

Pernod is no takeover target, says CEO

Pernod Ricard has held "cordial and constructive" talks with the activist investor agitating for change at the French drinks group, CEO Alexandre Ricard said on Tuesday before dismissing speculation that it could become a takeover target.

The world's second-biggest spirits group behind Diageo last week vowed to lift margins and shareholder returns in a three-year strategic plan announced soon after New York hedge fund Elliott Management called for a shake-up at the company.

Ricard, grandson of the company's founder, said talks with Elliott centred around corporate governance and margin improvement.

Speaking to reporters in London, he also emphasised that Pernod is a consolidator rather than a takeover target. – Nampa/Reuters

Nissan slashes outlook, unveils Ghosn-related charge

Nissan Motor warned its annual profit will plumb six-year lows on waning global sales, underlining the challenges it faces as it also grapples with the fallout from the shocking arrest and ouster of its former chairman Carlos Ghosn.

The Japanese automaker, in its first results since Ghosn was detained in November, unveiled an US$84 million charge linked to deferred compensation for the executive who has been indicted for under-reporting his salary at Nissan over 2010-2018.

The dour outlook indicates an urgent need for Nissan and Renault to strengthen their partnership, but ties have been strained since the Japanese automaker moved first to remove Ghosn as chairman after his November 19 arrest in Tokyo.

Japan's second-biggest automaker projected an operating profit of 450 billion yen (US$4 billion) for the year to March, down 22% from the previous year and 17% below an earlier forecast, hurt by a slowdown in global sales.

This would be Nissan's lowest operating profit since 2013. – Nampa/Reuters

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