Company news in brief

06 May 2021 | Business

Maersk strong Q1 driven by high demand

Maersk said yesterday it had seen an "exceptionally strong" performance in the first quarter driven by bottlenecks and high demand for container shipping.

It expects its performance in the first quarter to continue for the rest of the year, driven by high demand for shipping containers from China to the United States.

These factors prompted Maersk last week to raise its outlook for full-year underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to US$13-15 billion from US$8.5-10.5 billion.

Maersk, the world's biggest container shipping line, yesterday confirmed the 30% rise in first-quarter revenue announced in a preliminary trading statement last week and reiterated its upbeat profit outlook for 2021.

The company also said high free cash flow had prompted it to speed up an existing US$1.6 billion share buyback programme and launch a new US$5 billion share buyback programme that will conclude in 2023. – Nampa/Reuters

FB's Workplace reaches 7 mln subscribers

Social media platform Facebook Inc said its Workplace tool had reached 7 million paid subscribers, up more than 40% from a year earlier.

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed work for millions globally who have switched from being in the office to working from home, fuelling demand for enterprise connectivity platforms, such as Workplace, Slack and Microsoft Teams.

Workplace had 5 million paid users in May 2020. Microsoft Teams has 145 million daily users, versus 115 million in October, Microsoft Corp said last week.

In October, Facebook announced a global alliance with Deloitte to help companies use Workplace to meet the challenges of remote working.

Workplace, which is developed and run from Facebook's offices in London, was launched in 2016. – Nampa/Reuters

Lyft sees sustained profit starting in Q3

Lyft Inc on Tuesday surprised Wall Street with significantly lower losses than expected and said it would deliver dependable profit on an adjusted basis beginning in the third quarter thanks to cost cuts that allow the company to earn more per ride.

Lyft reported an adjusted US$73 million first-quarter loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation - a metric that excludes more than US$300 million in one-time costs, including stock-based compensation.

That is significantly narrower than the US$144 million loss analysts had projected on average, according to Refinitiv data.

Lyft president John Zimmer said Lyft would take advantage of its leaner cost structure to make more money per rider as passengers return to the platform in greater numbers in the coming months.

Zimmer also played down the threat of federal regulation that would turn most ride-hail and food-delivery workers, who currently are independent contractors, into employees. – Nampa/Reuters

Nissan sells its Daimler stake

Japan's Nissan Motor said on Tuesday it was selling its roughly 1.5% stake in German carmaker Daimler through an accelerated bookbuild offer, following a similar move by alliance partner Renault in March.

The French carmaker, with Nissan, had exchanged stakes with Daimler a decade ago to strengthen their industrial partnerships.

Cooperation is continuing, Daimler and Renault said earlier this year, although people close to the matter had said larger initial plans never materialised and the cross-shareholdings were no longer deemed necessary.

Investors were guided to expect the shares to price at 69.85 euro each, a bookrunner organising the deal said.

At that price, Nissan would reap just over 1 billion euro (US$1.2 billion) from the deal. – Nampa/Reuters

Virgin Money returns to profit

British challenger bank Virgin Money reported improved half-year earnings yesterday, after setting aside less cash to cover pandemic-driven loan losses and forecast improved margins over the year.

The bank, formed from the merger of Virgin Money and CYBG, reported pre-tax profit of 72 million pounds (US$100.12 million) for the six months ended March 31, compared to a 7-million-pound loss a year earlier when it made hefty provisions for potential soured loans.

Virgin Money took an impairment charge of 38 million pounds in the half-year period, much lower than the 232 million pounds booked a year earlier.

Virgin Money said the vast majority of its customers who were on payment holidays have resumed payments.

While big banks including Lloyds and HSBC have released provisions due to the better-than-feared economic outlook, smaller lenders are yet to follow suit. – Nampa/Reuters

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