Company news in brief

12 May 2021 | Business

Clicks eyes Pick n Pay's pharmacies

South African pharmacist Clicks plan5 to acquire 25 in-store pharmacies, their drug stocks and staff from retailer Pick n Pay.

In a joint statement the companies said the sale, subject to regulatory approvals, would not have a material impact on the earnings or financial position of either of them.

Clicks, which will rebrand the pharmacies, has been on a drive to extend the reach of its network. This latest acquisition increases its number of outlets to 632 nationally.

Pick n Pay chief operating officer Adrian Naude said its small pharmacy division was not part of its future growth strategy. – Nampa/Reuters

Amazon raises sustainable climate bond

Amazon.com Inc issued its first sustainability bond on Monday, raising US$1 billion to invest in renewable energy, clean transport, greener buildings and affordable housing.

The world's biggest company joins a growing list of debt issuers tapping the market for green and sustainable bonds, which is swelling as asset managers come under pressure from their investors to advance environmental, social and governance (ESG) causes.

Global green bond issuance reached a record high of US$270 billion at the end of 2020 and could reach US$450 billion this year, according to Climate Bonds Initiative.

The money raised through the sustainability bond is a fraction of the total debt Amazon issued on Monday - some US$18.5 billion. The company said it forms part of a new Sustainable Bond Framework and will be spent on new and existing projects.

The projects include the acquisition of electric vehicles for transportation fleets, as well as e-bikes and other electric-powered alternative delivery vehicles, Amazon said. – Nampa/Reuters

Harley-Davidson launches all-electric brand

Harley-Davidson Inc on Monday launched an all-electric motorcycle brand “LiveWire,” the latest effort by the company to ramp up bets on the rapidly growing electric-vehicle market.

Named after Harley's first electric motorbike, which was unveiled in 2019, the “LiveWire” division is slated to launch its first branded motorcycle in July.

The company had said in February it would create a separate electric vehicle-focused division, as it aims to attract the next generation of younger and more environmentally conscious riders.

“We are seizing the opportunity to lead and define the market in EV,” CEO Jochen Zeitz said.

“LiveWire also plans to innovate and develop technology that will be applicable to Harley-Davidson electric motorcycles in the future.” – Nampa/Reuters

Lufthansa aims for capital increase

Lufthansa is working with Deutsche Bank and Bank of America to sound out investors about a capital increase worth roughly 3 billion euro, possibly as soon as June, people close to the matter said.

Lufthansa shareholders this month approved a potential capital increase of up to 5.5 billion euro, though finance chief Remco Steenbergen has said that was just the sum of the two tranches of hybrid capital, dubbed silent participation, it received as part of a 2020 bailout.

Lufthansa only expects to fly at about 40% of its pre-pandemic capacity in 2021, but it has raised its number of holiday destinations to over 100, banking on surging demand as vaccination campaigns reach a large number of people.

Lufthansa has already drawn on 1 billion euros of silent participation capital from the government and said earlier this month that it was considering using a further 1.5 billion euro to secure its liquidity position.

Marriott posts quarterly loss

Marriott International Inc posted a quarterly loss on Monday, as a pandemic-driven collapse in travel resulted in fewer bookings.

Analysts have said Marriott and rival Hilton will take longer to recover even though the travel industry is expecting improved leisure bookings as the major hotel chains rely heavily on business travel, which remains weak.

Net loss attributable to stockholders was US$11 million, or 3 cents per share, in the first quarter, compared with a profit of US$31 million, or 9 cents per share, a year earlier.

Total revenue fell to US$2.32 billion from US$4.68 billion. – Nampa/Reuters

Panasonic forecasts 28% profit jump

Panasonic Corp expects operating profit to jump by almost a third this business year as economies worldwide rebound from coronavirus lockdown slumps.

Panasonic forecast operating profit to rise 27.6% to 330 billion yen (US$3 billion) this business year. The figure is slightly higher than an average forecast of 327.56 billion based on estimates from 16 analysts, Refinitiv data shows.

The Japanese maker of items from bicycles to hair dryers is looking to tap growing demand for electric car batteries through its decade-old partnership with Tesla Inc and is investing heavily in supply chain management services.

For the quarter that ended March 31, the Japanese industrial conglomerate posted a fourth-quarter operating profit of 31.8 billion yen (US$292.09 million), down 40% from a year ago as weaker earnings from its life solutions unit, which sells lighting, equipment and materials for buildings offset rising income from automotive components. – Nampa/Reuters

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