Financial Roundup

21 July 2003

Altria Group
The holding company for Philip Morris and Kraft Foods, last week posted Q2 profits of $2.44 billion (€2.16bn; £1.53bn), or $1.20 a share, down year-on-year from $2.61 billion, or $1.21 a share. The quarter was the third in succession to yield a diminished profit, although the result bettered analysts’ forecasts. But Altria warned that full year profits are unlikely to meet expectations.

Coca-Cola Company
reported an 11% increase in second-quarter profit on solid worldwide sales and a lower tax rate. But results for its two most profitable markets – North America and Japan – remained sluggish. Net income increased to $1.36 billion (€1.21bn; £0.86bn), or 55 cents a share, compared with $1.22 billion (49 cents) a year earlier. Revenue grew 6.1% to from $5.37 billion to $5.69 billion.

General Motors Corporation
revealed Q2 earnings down year-on-year by nearly 31% from $1.3 billion to $901million (€799.36m; £566.86m), or $1.58 per share, on revenue of $48.3 billion. A result significantly better than GM warned investors to expect. Its auto business teetered on the thin line between black and red, but GM’s overall financial position was boosted by its financing arm, General Motors Acceptance Corporation. GMAC posted record earnings of $834 million for the quarter, nearly double the year-ago performance, thanks to the ongoing boom in mortgage refinancing.

Microsoft Corporation
raised its financial forecasts Thursday after reporting an 11.2% increase in revenues for the final quarter of its fiscal year, ahead of expectations. Net income was just below forecasts, rising 5% year-on-year to $2.45 billion (€2.17bn; £1.54bn), or 23 cents per share, before one-off charges. After a $796m pre-tax charge to cover settlement of the company's legal dispute with AOL Time Warner, net income dropped to $1.92bn, or 18 cents a share. According to cfo John Connors, concerns over the likely cost of meeting antitrust settlements make it “very unlikely” the company will reduce its cash Everest by paying a large one-off dividend to shareholders.

Data sourced from: Multiple origins; additional content by WARC staff