Uniqlo posts 23% jump in half-yearly profit

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Fast Retailing, the owner of clothing brand Uniqlo, reported on Thursday a 23% jump in half-yearly operating profit and raised its full-year profit estimate.

Fast Retailing said operating profit was 168 billion yen ($1.53 billion) in the six months through February against 136.7 billion yen a year earlier.

The company raised its full-year operating profit forecast to 255 billion yen from 245 billion yen. The average estimate in a Refinitiv poll of 15 analysts was 262.9 billion yen.

Fast Retailing has been among the most resilient retailers during the coronavirus pandemic, as Uniqlo’s focus on China and Japan helped it escape the worst of the retail downturn that hit the United States and Europe.

Uniqlo briskly sold masks and saw strong demand for its stay-at-home jogging pants and other comfortable apparel.

($1 = 109.6500 yen)

Exclusive: MUFG Securities loses $270 million to U.S. related clients

TOKYO (Reuters) – The securities unit of Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group said on Wednesday its loss related to an unnamed U.S. client was estimated around $270 million, after it flagged potential losses of around $300 million a day before.

The loss will be reflected in the first quarter for the next financial year starting in April, Mitsubishi UFJ Securities Holdings Co Ltd said in a statement.

Imperial Brands expects lower losses in e-cigarettes, keeps 2021 profit view

Imperial Brands Plc stuck to its full-year adjusted profit growth forecast on Tuesday, as the tobacco firm expects “significantly reduced” losses in its vaping business and benefits from higher tobacco prices.

In January, the company laid out a five-year plan focussing on its top five tobacco markets and taking a more “disciplined” approach to its next generation products (NGP), which include e-cigarettes, tobacco heating and oral nicotine products.

The maker of Gauloises and West cigarettes has witnessed a “good start” to trading this year, it said on Tuesday, with overall tobacco volumes in line with its expectations. The pandemic, however, continued to affect buying patterns across different channels and markets, it added.

The London-listed company expects first-half group net revenue to grow by at least 1% on an organic, constant currency basis, boosted by higher tobacco prices and NGP revenue growth from a year earlier. It also sees higher profits from its logistics operations in Europe.

Imperial kept its forecast of low-to-mid single digit growth in organic adjusted operating profit growth for the year, same as it first set in November.

Apple supplier Foxconn’s fourth-quarter profit slips, lags view

TAIPEI – Foxconn, the world’s largest contract electronics maker, posted on Tuesday a lower fourth-quarter profit that lagged expectations despite strong iPhone 12 sales and pandemic-led demand for telecommuting devices.

The Taiwanese firm, which counts technology giants such as Apple Inc among its major clients, booked October-December net profit of T$45.97 billion ($1.61 billion).

That represented a 4% fall from a year earlier, according to a company statement, and compared with the T$50.89 billion average of 11 analyst estimates compiled by Refinitiv.

Formally called Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, Foxconn’s fourth-quarter revenue rose 15% on the year.

The company had previously forecast fourth-quarter revenue to be in a range of a decline of 3% and gain of 3% from a year earlier.

($1 = 28.5280 Taiwan dollars)

China’s Meituan reported quarterly loss as it expands into new area

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese food delivery company Meituan reported a loss on Friday for October-December after two consecutive quarters of profit, as it expanded into the community group-buying business that relies heavily on subsidies.

It reported a loss of 2.24 billion yuan ($343 million) versus profit of 1.46 billion yuan in the same month a year earlier, the company said in a stock exchange filing.

Meituan, whose services also include restaurant reviews and bike sharing, said total revenue rose 34.7% in October-December from a year earlier to 37.92 billion yuan ($5.80 billion). That compared with the 39.17 billion yuan average of 14 analyst estimates, IBES data from Refinitiv showed.

Community group buying, which lets communities set up groups for bulk buying, is one of Meituan’s new initiatives that grew by 51.9% year-on-year in quarterly revenue to 9.24 billion yuan.

Food delivery, which accounts for over half of Meituan’s total revenue, posted revenue growth of 37.0% to 21.54 billion yuan. Its in-store, hotel and travel operation saw revenue growth of 12.2% to 7.14 billion yuan.

($1 = 6.5417 Chinese yuan renminbi)

China’s Xiaomi fourth-quarter profit rises 36.7% on handset demand

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp reported a 36.7% rise in fourth-quarter net profit on Wednesday, just as its major Android rival fell out of the market.

Adjusted net profit for the quarter ending Dec. 31 rose to 3.2 billion yuan ($490.84 million), beating analyst expectations of 2.9 billion yuan.

Sales hit 70.5 billion yuan, up 24.8% year-on-year.

The results come as Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, the company’s main rival, steadily retreats from the global smartphone market due to U.S.-led sanctions.

Tencent’s quarterly profit jumps 175%, above forecast

(Reuters) – Chinese gaming and social media giant Tencent Holdings Ltd on Wednesday reported a forecast-beating 175% rise in quarterly profit.

The world’s largest gaming firm by revenue booked profit of 59.3 billion yuan ($9.09 billion) for the three months through December. That was ahead of an average analyst estimate of 30.65 billion yuan, based on data from Refinitiv.

($1 = 6.5232 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Nike set to overcome short-term shipping woes – Analysts

(Reuters) – The supply chain hiccups that dented Nike Inc’s third quarter sales are mostly behind them, analysts said on Friday, after executives said the sporting goods giant had adjusted inventories and other areas to avoid a recurrence.

Nike missed analysts expectations for quarterly sales on Thursday, squeezed by global container shortages and congestion at West Coast ports as well as closures of brick-and-mortar stores due to lockdowns in Europe.

Nike forecast “low-to-mid-teens” full-year revenue growth, falling just short of heightened expectations of a 15.9% increase. Shares of the Oregon-based company were down nearly 3% in early trading.

Yet Nike executives said the supply issue, which has widely impacted makers of cars, clothing and fitness equipments, is mostly behind them, adding that they now expect a “more consistent flow of inventory,” an explanation most analysts viewed as plausible.

“While it’s reasonable to leave some flexibility amid COVID disruptions and U.S. port delays, we think guidance will prove ultra-conservative in several areas,” Credit Suisse analyst Michael Binetti said in a research note.

At least four brokerages raised their price targets on the stock, with Credit Suisse increasing it to $176 versus a median of $165.

“We’ve now effectively absorbed the longer lead times through our third quarter,” Chief Executive Officer John Donahoe said on a post earnings call, adding that the company expected “a more consistent flow of inventory in the fourth quarter, recognizing that transit times are elevated versus the prior year.”

Nike executives added that inventory levels in North America now were being better managed to meet heightened demand and allow for more full-price sales.

“With bottlenecks being managed, brand health strong, higher-margin digital resonating, and China outperforming, momentum is healthy,” RBC Capital Markets’ Kate Fitzsimons said.

The company’s revenue from online sales increased 59% in the third quarter, while Greater China revenue grew 42%.

Nike shares have more than doubled in the past 12 months, helped by a surge in demand for athletic wear from people confined to their homes.

FedEx profit soars with pandemic-fueled delivery demand

(Reuters) – U.S. delivery firm FedEx Corp on Thursday said quarterly profit jumped on higher prices and surging volume from pandemic-fueled home e-commerce deliveries.

Fiscal third-quarter adjusted net income at the Memphis-based company increased to $939 million, or $3.47 per share, from $371 million, or $1.41 per share, a year earlier. Revenue for the quarter ended Feb. 28 grew 23% to $17.5 billion.

Rolls-Royce plunges to worse than expected $5.6 billion loss

British engine-maker Rolls-Royce plunged to a worse than expected 4 billion pound ($5.58 billion) loss in 2020 as the pandemic stopped airlines flying, but stuck to its outlook for cash outflow to improve in 2021.

Rolls-Royce’s model of charging airlines for the number of hours its engines fly meant its income dried up last year when travel stopped. It was forced to raise 5 billion pounds from shareholders and in loans to buffer against the uncertainty.

Rolls-Royce posted group underlying pre-tax loss of 4 billion pounds for last year compared to the 3.1 billion pound loss forecast by analysts.

Its cash outflow, the measure most watched by analysts, of 4.2 billion pounds was in line with consensus, and Rolls guided that it would improve this year to an outflow of 2 billion pounds, with the figure turning positive during the second half.

That improvement depends on airlines flying 55% of 2019 levels during 2021. Rolls-Royce said its assumption is for travel to gradually improve this year, accelerating in the second-half as vaccine programmes progress.

Blaming tightening travel restrictions in the early part of this year, the company had already warned that its 2021 cash outflow would be worse than previously expected.

($1 = 0.7175 pounds)