Company news in brief

30 January 2018 | Business

IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad dies

Billionaire IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad has died aged 91, the Swedish company said on Sunday, with the furniture empire he launched more than half a century ago familiar around the globe.

Kamprad founded IKEA in 1943 when he was just 17, but didn't hit gold until 1956, when the company pioneered flat-pack furniture.

He got the idea as he watched an employee taking the legs off a table to fit it into a customer's car and realised that saving space meant saving money.

The retailer is now heading for 50 billion euros (US$62 billion) in annual revenues.

– Nampa/Reuters

Colgate's sales disappoint despite price cuts

Colgate-Palmolive Co's shares sank on Friday after the company reported lower-than-expected quarterly sales despite spending more on advertising and cutting prices to spur enough demand.

The world's largest toothpaste maker said gross margins fell to 59.8% in the fourth quarter from 60.4% a year earlier, hit by higher costs for raw materials and packaging.

Colgate said it expects sales growth in 2018 but the forecast did nothing to shake the impression of stagnation that has dogged Colgate and other consumer goods producers in the past year.

For 2018, the company forecast mid-single digit percentage net sales growth and low- to mid-single-digit organic sales growth, and double-digit earnings per share growth.

– Nampa/Reuters

Deutsche Bank to hike bonuses

Deutsche Bank will hike annual bonus payments to more than 1 billion euros (US$1.2 billion) despite posting its third consecutive annual loss in 2017, German weekly Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung said.

The move comes amid concern another year of low bonuses could prompt investment bankers to defect to more generous competitors, the paper said, citing unidentified sources.

A return to bigger bonuses would be a relief for bankers at Deutsche Bank, where total bonus payments dropped from 2.4 billion euros in 2015 to around 500 million euros in 2016 after a multi-billion dollar legal fine for the sale of toxic debt.

The bank warned this month that weak trading, low client activity and a 1.5 billion euro hit from a tax overhaul in the United States would result in a “small” 2017 loss.

– Nampa/Reuters

Starbucks' 2018 may not be too bitter

Starbucks Corp shares fell after the company reported weak holiday-quarter sales, indicating near-term troubles were far from over, but analysts said the brand's strength and a growing Chinese fanbase would help it ride out the rough patch.

Sales at established Americas region cafes in the quarter to Dec. 31 were up just 2%, falling short of Wall Street estimates of a 3.3 percent rise.

Over the past year, the world's largest coffee chain has hit a few bumps as it tries to boost sales - the rollout of mobile ordering that was supposed to attract more customers is still facing issues and it struggles to fill stores in the afternoons and evenings.

On top of that, weak limited-time offers and holiday-themed coffees did not resonate with customers, hurting sales during its biggest sales quarter.

– Nampa/AFP

Coincheck to repay owners US$425 mln

Tokyo-based cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck Inc said on Sunday it would return about 46.3 billion yen (US$425 million) of the virtual money it lost to hackers two days ago in one of the biggest-ever thefts of digital money.

That amounts to nearly 90% of the 58 billion yen worth of NEM coins the company lost in an attack that forced it to suspend on Friday withdrawals of all cryptocurrencies except bitcoin.

Coincheck said its NEM coins were stored in a “hot wallet” instead of the more secure “cold wallet”, outside the internet. Asked why, company President Koichiro Wada cited technical difficulties and a shortage of staff capable of dealing with them.

The theft underscores security and regulatory concerns about bitcoin and other virtual currencies even as a global boom in them shows little signs of fizzling.

– Nampa/Reuters