Company news in brief

17 October 2019 | Sakenuus
Mediclinic sees higher H1 profit

Mediclinic International Plc said yesterday it expects higher first-half core earnings, as the healthcare company's Swiss business adjusted to regulatory changes and its Southern Africa and Middle East operations performed well.

The group, which is listed in London and Johannesburg, said reported revenue for the six months ended Sept. 30 was about 9% higher, and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) before new accounting rules was up about 5%.

Mediclinic has faced stricter regulations in Switzerland that have hobbled growth and put pressure on margins. These include tariff reductions for outpatients and a less favourable insurance mix.

Revenue from Mediclinic Southern Africa, which comprises South Africa and Namibia, rose about 7%, while the company's Middle East unit was helped by the ramp-up of Mediclinic Parkview Hospital in Dubai and a gradual improvement in the Abu Dhabi business.

Mediclinic, which was founded in South Africa in 1983, runs 78 hospitals, five sub-acute hospitals, 13 day case clinics and 22 outpatient clinics. – Nampa/Reuters

Rio Tinto’s iron ore shipments rise

Global miner Rio Tinto said yesterday its third-quarter iron ore shipments rose 5%, helped by higher demand from Chinese steelmakers.

The global miner shipped 86.1 million tonnes of iron ore in the July-September quarter, compared with 81.9 million tonnes a year earlier.

Rio maintained its iron ore shipment forecast for the year of between 320 million and 330 million tonnes. Iron ore typically accounts for more than 60% of Rio's earnings.

Global iron ore production has largely stabilised in recent months after a fatal dam collapse in Brazil squeezed supplies. Prices have also come off their highs touched earlier this year following the incident.

Rio cut its bauxite and alumina production forecast for the year, citing poor weather and facility maintenance. – Nampa/Reuters

Former Thomas Cook boss defends record

The former chief executive of bankrupt travel firm Thomas Cook said on Tuesday he understood public anger over his pay but defended his record, saying he had worked tirelessly to try to save the company.

Thomas Cook, the world's oldest travel firm, collapsed last month after it failed to finalise a restructuring plan, stranding over a hundred thousand passengers.

Peter Fankhauser apologised again to customers, staff and suppliers as he appeared before a British parliamentary committee, and said that responsibility for the collapse was shared among several parties who tried, and failed, to agree the rescue deal.

Asked about his salary, which totalled 1.02 million pounds (US$1.29 million) in 2018 including pension and benefits, Fankhauser said he did not set his own pay or decide any bonus.

He said that a 750 000 pound bonus he was paid in 2017 could theoretically be clawed back, but 30% was paid in shares which were now worthless.

Fankhauser said his efforts to transform the company after his appointment in 2014 had been constrained by its debts. – Nampa/Reuters

Goldman profit hurt by weak underwriting

Goldman Sachs Group Inc reported a 27% slump in quarterly profit on Tuesday, hit by lower fees from advising on deals and weakness in underwriting.

The bank's net earnings applicable to common shareholders fell to US$1.79 billion in the quarter ended Sept. 30 from US$2.45 billion a year ago. Earnings per share fell to US$4.79 from US$6.28 a year earlier.

Total net revenue fell 6% to $8.32 billion.

Expectations from most brokerages tracking the David Solomon-led investment bank were generally muted as macroeconomic conditions have been weighing on investor sentiment. – Nampa/Reuters

Huawei's Q3 revenue rises 24.4%

Third-quarter revenue for Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, the Chinese technology giant blacklisted by the US government, grew 24.4% from the same period a year earlier, according to the Global Times.

The state-backed newspaper also said Huawei shipped more than 185 million smartphones in the first three quarters of 2019, up 26% year-on-year.

The company said in August that while the impact of US trade restrictions will be less than initially feared, the curbs could push its smartphone unit's revenue lower by about US$10 billion this year.

Huawei is the world's biggest maker of telecom network equipment and the second-largest smartphone maker. – Nampa/Reuters

Roche lifts 2019 sales view again

Swiss drugmaker Roche lifted its 2019 sales target yesterday for the third time this year, helped by newer medicines and as China bought more cancer drugs to treat a disease blamed for a quarter of the nation's annual deaths.

Roche's full-year revenue is now seen growing at a high-single-digit percentage rate, the Basel-based company said, to what would easily top US$60 billion. That is up from the July's mid- to high-single digit growth estimate.

Over a decade, China has gone from Roche's 10th biggest market to its second-largest behind the United States, with 4.5 billion Swiss francs (US$4.5 billion) in 2018 sales.

The trend has accelerated, with growth in China topping 50% over the first nine months, about double 2018's rate. – Nampa/Reuters

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