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General Growth Properties revenue climbs


General Growth Properties Inc. said its second-quarter profit fell 17% from a year-earlier quarter that included a large gain, but the company posted increases in revenue and funds from operations.

The mall-focused real-estate investment trust has sold and spun off assets in an effort to improve its business since exiting bankruptcy in 2010. It is also accelerating its redevelopment pipeline in an effort to generate growth in future years.

Brookfield Property Partners LP is the largest shareholder of General Growth.

General Growth reported a profit of $173.7 million, or 18 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier profit of $209.4 million, or 21 cents a share, a year earlier.

Funds from operations rose to 31 cents from 27 cents. General Growth had projected per-share FFO between 29 cents and 31 cents.

Revenue rose 3% to $617.6 million. Analysts expected $613 million.

The mall leased percentage was 96.5%, up 60 basis points from a year earlier.

In February, activist investor Bill Ackman’s firm Pershing Square Capital Management LP exited its stake in General Growth Properties, the firm’s most profitable investment ever.

Store closings by J.C. Penney Co. and Sears Holdings Corp. have posed a threat to the mall industry, as the loss of anchor tenants reduces traffic, which can cause remaining stores to leave or renegotiate their leases.

The company said it expects funds from operations of 30 cents to 32 cents a share for the third quarter. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters project FFO of 30 cents a share. General Growth reaffirmed its forecast for the year.

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SOURCE: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/general-growth-properties-revenue-climbs-2014-07-28

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Herbalife profit falls; results miss targets


Herbalife Ltd. said its second-quarter earnings fell 16% amid higher expenses. The nutritional supplements marketer’s adjusted earnings came in a penny a share shy of analysts’ expectations, halting a long-streak of topping Wall Street’s views, despite hitting the high end of company estimates.

Shares fell 9.7% to $60.95 in recent after-hours trading as Herbalife also forecast third-quarter per-share earnings that missed expectations and net sales growth that was mostly below analysts’ estimates.

Herbalife had posted quarterly profits that topped Wall Street’s expectations in 21 straight quarters, a stretch dating back to 2008. The last time Herbalife’s quarterly profit fell short of Wall Street’s target was in the fourth quarter of 2008, when earnings per share missed estimates by a penny.

For the third quarter, the company forecast per-share earnings of $1.49 to $1.53 and net sales growth of 9% to 11%. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected per-share profit of $1.62 and revenue growth of 11% to $1.34 billion.

However, Herbalife raised its 2014 per-share earnings estimate to between $6.17 and $6.32 on net sales growth of 8.5% to 10.5%, from its previous estimate for $6.10 to $6.30 and net sales growth of 10% to 12%.

The company sells a range of products, including weight-loss shakes and fitness supplements, operating through a wide global network of independent distributors. The company has been embroiled in a public battle with Pershing Square Capital Management LP’s William Ackman, who has attempted to convince other investors that Herbalife is a pyramid scheme, accusations the company has strenuously denied. During a lengthy presentation last week, Mr. Ackman’s pledged to deliver a “death blow” to Herbalife. Instead, the stock had its largest daily gain, enriching Mr. Ackman’s rival financiers Carl Icahn and George Soros.

Herbalife reported a profit of $119.5 million, or $1.31 a share, down from $143.2 million, or $1.34 a share, a year earlier. Excluding expenses incurred to respond to attacks on the company’s business model and a Federal Trade Commission inquiry, convertible note accounting impacts and other items, adjusted earnings rose to $1.55 from $1.41. Revenue increased 7.1% to $1.31 billion.

Analysts had projected per-share earnings of $1.56 and sales growth of 11%. The company expected per-share profit of $1.51 to $1.55 and net sales growth of 10% to 12%.

Global volume grew 5%. However, overhead costs increased 15%.

Herbalife on Monday said it repurchased $581 million or 9.8 million shares in the second quarter, as expected. Herbalife said that there is $232.9 million remaining on its existing $1.5 billion share repurchase authorization.

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SOURCE: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/herbalife-profit-falls-results-miss-targets-2014-07-28

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Humira sales boost AbbView profit


AbbVie Inc. said its second-quarter earnings rose as strong global sales of the drug maker’s rheumatoid-arthritis drug Humira continued to boost results.

AbbVie, which clinched a $54 billion deal to buy Shire PLC earlier this month, is trying to reduce its reliance on sales of Humira, the world’s top-grossing prescription drug in 2013, responsible for more than half of its sales. Humira is expected to begin losing patent protection by the end of 2016.

Global sales of Humira rose 26% to $3.29 billion in the latest period.

In addition to the tax advantages of the Shire acquisition, the purchase will allow AbbVie to diversify its product lineup. AbbVie, which was spun off from Abbott Laboratories in early 2013, is also working on late-stage treatments for drugs in the fields of hepatitis C, cancer and multiple sclerosis.

Overall, the pharmaceutical company posted a profit of $1.10 billion, or 68 cents a share, up from $1.07 million, or 66 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding specified items, adjusted per-share earnings were 82 cents. The company in April had targeted adjust per-share earnings of 75 cents to 77 cents a share.

Net sales climbed 5% to $4.93 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had predicted sales of $4.70 billion, and the company had forecast flat to slightly increasing revenue.

Total operating costs and expenses rose 5.3% to $3.41 billion.

AbbVie’s acquisition of Shire will allow the company to establish its tax headquarters in the U.K., following in the footsteps of a number of other pharmaceutical companies using “inversion” deals to take advantage of lower European corporate tax rates. The company, which plans to keep its operation base in North Chicago, Ill., will lower its tax rate to 13% by 2016, from 22% currently, by making the move.

AbbVie has said the combined company would be a leader in the fields of immunology, rare diseases, neuroscience and metabolic diseases. But the two companies have little overlap in their respective businesses, limiting likely cost synergies.

For the current quarter, AbbVie expects to post adjusted earnings of 77 cents to 79 cents a share, excluding the potential impact of the transaction with Shire. Analysts had expected per-share earnings of 77 cents.

The company affirmed its earnings outlook for the year.

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SOURCE: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/humira-sales-boost-abbview-profit-2014-07-25

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Anglo American net profit triples


LONDON– Anglo American PLC Friday promised further asset sales and said its turnaround plan is on track despite lower commodity prices and a five-month-long strike at its South African platinum operations during the first half of the year.

Anglo, the world’s fifth-largest mining company by market capitalization, said it expects to raise between $3 billion to $4 billion from assets disposals over the next two years although it hasn’t set a timetable to complete them.

“We are not in a firesale mode,” said Chief Executive Mark Cutifani, who took the helm at Anglo over a year ago.

Anglo said it had made a binding agreement to sell its half of the Lafarge-Tarmac joint venture for $1.5 billion and confirmed plans to exit six platinum shafts operated by its subsidiary Anglo American Platinum, known as Amplats.

Anglo’s net profit more than tripled to $1.46 billion in the six months to June 30 compared with $403 million in the impairment-weighed first half of last year.

Underlying operating profit, however, dropped 10% to $2.93 billion due to lower prices across most of its commodities and a 40% drop in platinum output stemming from industrial action in South Africa. This more than offset favorable currency gains and higher production across most of its other commodities.

Mr. Cutifani plans to improve Anglo’s fortunes by cutting its workforce, making its operations more efficient and divesting poorly-performing assets. He wants to boost the company’s return on capital employed to at least 15% in 2016. The company, however, suffered a setback in the first half after its ROCE slipped to 10% from 11% a year earlier.

Mr. Cutifani said he was undeterred by the drop: “I am more confident about hitting those targets in 2016 than I was 12 months ago.” He said the company’s return target could be met irrespective of what happens to commodity prices.

Anglo also said its Brazilian Minas Rio project remains on track to ship its first iron ore by the end of 2014. The project, which has suffered significant cost overruns and delays, was 95% complete at the end of the second quarter.

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SOURCE: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/anglo-american-net-profit-triples-2014-07-25

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Packaging Corp. profit rises 50%


Packaging Corp. of America PKG -2.17% said its second-quarter earnings rose 50% with a boost from its Boise Inc. acquisition last year.

For the third quarter, the company forecast per-share earnings of $1.25, below expectations of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters for $1.26.

The company has benefitted from its $1.28 billion acquisition of packaging-and-paper products company Boise in late October, a move that aimed to expand Packaging Corp.’s container board business.

The latest quarter was “driven by strong corrugated products volume, higher prices and lower costs,” said Chief Executive Mark W. Kowlzan. “Synergy realization from the Boise acquisition at both our mills and box plants was also ahead of our projections as we continued to implement a broad range of actions to improve productivity and reduce costs.”

Packaging Corp. reported a profit of $99.6 million, or $1.01 a share, up from $66.3 million, or 68 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding integration-related costs, restructuring expenses and other items, adjusted earnings rose to $1.16 from 73 cents. The company had projected $1.10.

Revenue surged 84% to $1.47 billion, slightly above analysts’ estimates of $1.46 billion.

Gross margin fell to 21.2% from 24.4%.

Packaging sales improved 43% to $1.15 billion. Excluding Boise, shipments of corrugated products in the latest quarter rose 5.5% from a year earlier.

Container-board production rose to 846,000 tons from 629,000 tons a year earlier.

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SOURCE. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/packaging-corp-profit-rises-50-2014-07-21-174855819

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Steel Dynamics profit rises sharply


Steelmaker and metal recycler Steel Dynamics Inc.’s second-quarter profit rose sharply on growth across segments.

Overall, the Fort Wayne, Ind., company reported a profit of $72.3 million, or 31 cents, up from $29 million, or 13 cents a share, in the year-ago period. The company had said it last month it expected a per-share profit of 28 cents to 32 cents.

Revenue rose nearly 15% to $2.07 billion.

“The improvement in our financial and operational performance is indicative of more than a mere weather recovery from the first quarter,” said Mark Millett, the company’s chief executive officer.

The company had reported a 20% drop in profit in the preceding quarter, blaming prolonged winter weather that resulted in higher energy costs and reduced production and hurt its ability to transport products.

Mr. Millett pointed at the broader U.S. economic recovery and domestic steel consumption growth as positive signs, coupled with the company’s recent announcement that it planned to buy Russia’s OAO Severstal’s Columbus, Miss., mill for $1.63 billion.

That mill produces steel for businesses from building houses to drilling for gas.

Steel Dynamics, founded in 1993 as a “minimill” company that makes steel from scrap metal, said the acquisition would expand SDI’s production around 40% to 11 million tons.

Shares, up almost 1% in after-hours trading, closed at $20.75 Monday. The stock is up 6% since the beginning of the year.

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SOURCE: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/steel-dynamics-profit-rises-sharply-2014-07-21

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Energizer Resources Inc – ENZR


Energizer Resources Inc. is a mineral exploration and mine development company based in Toronto, Canada, that is developing its 100%-owned, flagship Molo Graphite Project in southern Madagascar.

Graphite and Diamonds are the only 2 naturally formed polymers of Carbon. The essential difference between the two is simply structure – Graphite is 2 dimensional where as Diamonds are 3. Graphite’s unique combination of planar structure, relatively pure carbon composition, and metamorphic origin give it valuable characteristics such as; being an excellent conductor of heat and electricity, having the highest natural strength and stiffness of any material and even the ability to maintain its strength and stability to temperatures in excess of 3,600OC. It is also very resistant to chemical attack. At the same time, it is one of the lightest of all reinforcing agents and has high natural lubricity. These powerful set of properties offer an incredible range of applications the commercial world has yet to see.

Graphite and Steel

Since Graphite is an excellent conductor of heat; able to maintain its strength and stability to temperatures in excess of 3,600°C and is very resistant to chemical attack, it is ideal for various aspects of steel making;

  • as a liner for ladles and crucibles (used to hold molten metal)
  • as a component in bricks, which line furnaces (“refractories”)
  • as an agent to increase the carbon content (strength) of steel
  • in graphite electrodes, which are used exclusively in steel mills’ electric arc furnaces to help melt scrap metal

Industrial demand for graphite has been growing at about +5% per annum for most of this decade due to the ongoing industrialization in China, India and other emerging economies.

Graphite Markets

Tight Supply

  • World production of graphite is about 1.1 million tonnes per year (Mtpy), which is almost as large as the nickel market (1.3 Mtpy), far larger than the markets for magnesium (429 Mtpy), molybdenum (180 Mtpy) or tungsten (55 Mtpy), and more than 50 times the size of the lithium or rare earth markets.
  • Depending upon the mode of occurrence and origin, natural Graphite is graded into 3 forms: Flake, Amorphous and Lump
  • 60% – 70% of the world’s graphite supply is amorphous (fine or powder) and is used for traditional purposes such as automotive and steel making
  • 30% – 40% is flake, which is essential for producing batteries, specifically lithium-ion, and for use in consumer electronics
  • Although synthetic graphite can also produce a high grade, it is an expensive process made from petroleum coke
  • China currently produces around 75% of the world’s graphite or about 800,000 tonnes of the estimated 1.1 Mt produced in calendar 2010
  • This year, the British Geological Survey listed Graphite, along with Antimony and Rare Earths, as most at risk of a global supply disruption. Graphite had a relative supply risk index of 7, compared with 8.5 for antimony, the highest value on the index.

Growth Potential

The “blue sky” for the graphite industry is the incremental demand that will be created by a number of green initiatives including Li ion batteries, fuel cells, solar energy, semi conductors, and nuclear energy. Many of these applications have the potential to consume more graphite than all current uses combined. On the heels of these applications already in commercial use is the recent discovery of Graphene, a form of Graphite whose unique set of properties will change the way we live and launch the demand for high quality Flake Graphite into the stratosphere. (Read more about Graphene here)

With China creating serious supply concerns for the rest of the world, limited worldwide exploration and few potential development projects on the horizon, Energizer and its Green Giant project in Madagascar is well positioned to supply both traditional and rapidly growing high tech/clean tech markets with the high quality and high purity (>99.5%) large flake graphite that is being demanded by these applications.

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Fact Sheet

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Interpublic’s profit, revenue rises


Interpublic Group Of Cos. said its second-quarter earnings and revenue rose as the advertising firm saw growth in key markets.

Interpublic said acquisitions boosted revenue, though there were moderate negative effects from foreign currency translation.

Chief Executive and Chairman Michael I. Roth said in a news release that he was pleased with the company’s improved top- and bottom-line results and that Interpublic was on track to exceed its 2014 organic growth target of 3% to 4%.

Interpublic mostly posted weaker bottom-line results last year due to sliding revenue from its Europe activities amid increasing operating expenses. It started off the current fiscal year with a narrower first-quarter loss.

Overall for the June quarter, the company reported a profit of $99.4 million, or 23 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier profit of $79.9 million, or 18 cents a share in the year-ago period.

Adjusted per-share earnings were 25 cents when excluding a charge for the extinguishment of debt.

Revenue climbed 5.4% to $1.85 billion.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters recently forecast a per-share profit of 25 cents on revenue of $1.84 billion.

U.S. revenue, the largest contributor to the top line, improved 3.4% to $1.03 billion, while international revenue increased 8% to $820.5 million.

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SOURCE: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/interpublics-profit-revenue-rises-2014-07-18

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Deutsche Bank, suspended traders to seek a deal


FRANKFURT– Deutsche Bank AG and four of its former traders agreed at a court hearing Friday to pursue an amicable resolution to controversy over their suspension early last year.

The move came after Judge Astrid Nungesser warned that she sees risks for both parties if they don’t agree to conciliatory proceedings.

Deutsche Bank in February 2013 suspended the four currency traders for improperly communicating internally about lending rates between banks.

According to court documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, the bank claims the traders appeared to take each others’ derivative positions into account when making submissions for the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, a key interest-rate benchmark. Doing so would violate the bank’s internal rules. Pushing Libor in one direction could help to increase the value of derivative positions.

The traders last summer appealed their suspensions. In September a lower Frankfurt labor court forced Deutsche Bank to reinstate the traders to their original positions. The court ruled that the dismissals weren’t justified because the bank didn’t have proper internal rules and controls in place and didn’t ensure adequate separation of rate submitting and derivatives trading.

The court also ruled that all four men were also entitled to receive outstanding remuneration totaling almost EUR2 million ($2.7 million).

The bank appealed that verdict, which automatically took the case to the higher court under Judge Nungesser. Commenting on the risks for Deutsche Bank at Friday’s hearing, Ms. Nungesser cited statements from the lower court, which said the lender hadn’t informed its labor representatives properly about the traders’ suspensions.

She also pointed to statements made at the lower court regarding a video statement from Deutsche Bank’s Alan Cloete, who at the time was head of foreign exchange and global finance. According to one of the traders, Ardalan Gharagozlou, Mr. Cloete in a video chat on Feb. 6, 2012, told him that he wants to “close that box [the traders' inappropriate communication about Libor] without causing a stir.” At the hearing last year, Mr. Gharagozlou said also claimed Mr. Cloete told him that his bonus payments would be cut as a punishment but might be recouped afterward once the case calmed down. While Mr. Cloete denied having made these statements, the four traders’ lawyer, Peter Rölz, said the comments suggested that they might continue to work in the same position.

Because the bank didn’t reinstate the traders to their original positions, as ordered by Frankfurt’s lower labor court, but in different positions, it was ordered to pay more than EUR100,000 as a compulsory enforcement fine to the government, people familiar with the matter said. A spokesman for the bank declined to comment.

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SOURCE: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/deutsche-bank-suspended-traders-to-seek-a-deal-2014-07-18

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SanDisk profit rises 4.6%


SanDisk Corp. said its second-quarter earnings rose 4.6% as the flash-memory maker posted revenue growth and stronger margins.

Still, shares fell 6.1% to $101.28 in recent after-hours trading, shortly after the financial results were released.

SanDisk, known primarily for its thumb drives and other small-storage devices, has also looked to boost sales of data storage gear to corporate customers.

SanDisk reported a profit of $273.9 million, or $1.14 a share, up from $261.8 million, or $1.06 a share, a year earlier. Excluding stock-based compensation, and other items, adjusted earnings a share rose to $1.41 from $1.22. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected $1.39.

Revenue increased 11% to $1.63 billion, compared with expectations for $1.55 billion to $1.63 billion.

Gross margin rose to 46.5% from 45.8%.

The company last month reached a more than $1 billion deal for Fusion-io Inc., a move that aims to boost its data-center business. The pending deal also is another sign of consolidation among suppliers of data storage gear aimed at corporate buyers.

The planned tie-up also would unite two pioneers in the use of chips known as flash memory, which first became popular in portable consumer devices but are quickly replacing disk drives for many applications in corporate data centers.

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SOURCE: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/sandisk-profit-rises-46-2014-07-16-16485458

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