COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

29 January 2021 | Business

SA's Life Healthcare sees Q1 revenue up 5%

South Africa's Life Healthcare Group Holdings Ltd said on Wednesday revenue for the quarter ended Dec. 31 rose by 5% compared to the same period a year ago, although earnings dipped 15%.

It said non-emergency hospital visits surged in October and November but the company once again saw a drop in visits in December as a second wave of the coronavirus gripped its South African business and parts of international operations.

The company, which is amongst the top three private hospital chains in South Africa, said its normalised earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, generally considered a metric of profit from operations, took a hit in the quarter due to "operational costs associated with Covid-19."

Life Healthcare's shares rose 1.97% after the announcement against a broader index that traded in the red with a drop of 0.17% at 0730 GMT.

The company said it has presented a detailed plan for the vaccination of its staff, doctors, allied healthcare workers and other key individuals, to the South African government in anticipation of the arrival of vaccines. - Nampa/Reuters

Apple sees revenue growth accelerating

Apple Inc on Wednesday reported holiday quarter sales and profits that beat Wall Street expectations, as new 5G iPhones helped push handset revenue to a new record and sparked a 57% rise in China sales.

Apple shipped its iPhone 12 line-up several weeks later than usual, but an expanded number of models and new look appear to have tapped into pent up demand for upgrades, especially in China.

The company also posted strong sales of its Mac laptops and iPads in the quarter, driven by consumers working, learning and playing from home during the pandemic.

Apple's revenue for the quarter ended Dec. 26 rose 21% to US$111.44 billion. Earnings per share rose to US$1.68 from US$1.25.

Sales of iPhones were US$65.60 billion, compared with estimates of US$59.80 billion and beating Apple's previous quarterly all-time high of US$61.58 billion in iPhone sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2018.

Apple did not give a formal forecast, but Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri told investors on a conference call that revenue growth was likely to accelerate on a year-over-year basis in the current fiscal second quarter and that gross margins were likely to be similar to the fiscal first quarter's rate of 39.7%. - Nampa/Reuters

Tesla beats quarterly revenue estimates

Tesla Inc on Wednesday beat Wall Street estimates for fourth-quarter revenue after trouncing 2020 deliveries earlier this month on a steady rise in electric vehicle demand.

The company delivered 180 570 vehicles during the fourth quarter, a quarterly record, even though it narrowly missed its ambitious 2020 goal of half a million deliveries.

"Over a multi-year horizon, we expect to achieve 50% average annual growth in vehicle deliveries," Tesla said in a statement on Wednesday.

The carmaker, led by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, said quarterly revenue rose to US$10.74 billion from US$7.38 billion a year earlier. Analysts had expected revenue of US$10.4 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. -Nampa/Reuters

Facebook beats quarterly revenue estimates

Facebook Inc beat analysts' estimates for quarterly revenue on Wednesday, powered by increased ad spending by businesses to capitalize on a holiday shopping season driven online by the pandemic.

The results validate the company's foray into e-commerce with Instagram Shopping and Facebook Marketplace that banked on the trend of social shopping, which picked up pace last year as outdoor recreational activity dwindled due to Covid-19 associated curbs.

The company has launched a slew of new e-commerce products such as Facebook Pay and Facebook Shops that enable in-app purchases across the company's suite of apps, including Instagram and WhatsApp.

Monthly active users rose 12% to 2.80 billion, above the 2.75 billion expected by analysts. Total revenue, which comprises primarily of advertising revenue, rose to US$28.07 billion in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 from US$21.08 billion, a year earlier.

Analysts on average estimated quarterly revenue of US$26.44 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. Net income came in at US$11.22 billion, or US$3.88 per share, compared with US$7.35 billion, or US$2.56 per share, a year earlier. - Nampa/Reuters

Fiat Chrysler to plead guilty

Fiat Chrysler said Wednesday it had reached an agreement to settle a criminal probe by US prosecutors into alleged illegal payments to former United Auto Workers (UAW) officials by former company employees.

Fiat Chrysler, which is now part of Stellantis NV said it had agreed to plead guilty to a single count of conspiracy to violate the Labour Management Relations Act and pay a US$30 million fine. The automaker has also agreed an independent compliance monitor for three years.

The office of US Attorney Matthew Schneider in Detroit said he would offer more details of the settlement later on Wednesday but confirmed Fiat Chrysler "has agreed to plead guilty and pay a US$30 million fine."

Last month, the UAW agreed to independent oversight to resolve a five-year federal corruption investigation that ensnared two former UAW presidents.

The US attorney's office said UAW had paid back over US$15 million for improperly billing Ford Motor Co and Fiat Chrysler for employing members who did not work at the training centres operated by the union and the companies. - Nampa/Reuters

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