Financial Roundup

02 May 2005

USA (calendar Q1)

  • Comcast
       The biggest cable TV operator in the US, Comcast, has reported a fivefold rise in profits in the first quarter.
       A surge in demand for digital services saw net profits climb from $65 million (€50.3m; £34m), to $313m.
       Revenues rose by 9.2% to $5.36 billion as the company focused on sales of internet telephony, video on demand, high-definition TV programming and digital video recorders to bolster its defences against telephone and satellite TV companies.
       Overall, Comcast added 200,000 new digital customers in the quarter and now has more than 8.8m digital subscribers, representing 41.1 per cent of the total.
       Says ceo Brian Roberts: "We are off to a great start this year. Our customers are embracing a whole new way to watch television."

    Global (calendar Q1)
  • Kellogg
       Cereal and snacks group Kellogg continues to reap the benefits of a turnaround strategy launched by former ceo Carlos Gutierrez by reporting a 16% rise in net earnings in the first quarter and raising its full year forecast.
       Net income rose to $254.7 million (€197m; £133m) from $219.8m.
       Sales rose 8% $2.6 billion, ahead of Wall Street's expectations. US-headquartered Kellogg says its full-year earnings will now fall at the high end of a previously forecast range of $2.28-$2.32 per share.
       The worldwide cereal market is also growing, with North American cereal sales up 4% per cent due to price increases and promotions. Kellogg derives about half of its sales from cereals.

    Global (calendar Q1)
  • Mercedes
       Luxury German car maker Mercedes tumbled to a record loss in the first quarter as the restructuring of its troubled Smart car brand added to its woes.
       The operating loss of €954 million ($1.2m; £654m) was the main cause of a 59% slide in profits at its DaimlerChrysler parent.
       The loss at Mercedes came as it took an €800m charge to restructure Smart, which has never made a profit, and an extra €454m was set aside for repairs of cars already sold - much of it for a record recall of 1.3m vehicles. In the first quarter of last year, Mercedes made operating profits of €639m.
       Net income of €288m, 30% below last year, was better than analysts had forecast and CFO Bodo Uebber says the company will start to recover in the next three months, helped by several new car launches.

    Global (fiscal Q3)
  • Microsoft
       A slowdown in the sale of software tied to its core PC business left computer software titan Microsoft with weaker revenues in its third fiscal quarter, wrong footing both company and Wall Street forecasts.
       However, earnings for the period hit estimates and the company offered a more optimistic forecast than usual for the next year.
       Revenues for the latest period rose by 5% from a year before to $9.62 billion (€7.44bn; £5.03bn), slower than the expected 7%. Earnings climbed to $2.56bn.
       Microsoft says revenues next year will grow at 9%-11% per share to reach $43.3-$44.1bn, an increase from the 8% growth predicted for the current year.
       Company corporate controller Scott Di Valerio says the figures reflected a "mixed enterprise software environment".

    Global (fiscal Q3)
  • Procter & Gamble
       The world's biggest household and consumer goods company delivered a 15% rise in third-quarter earnings on strong global volume growth.
       Net earnings rose 13% to $1.72 billion (€1.33bn; £900m), on a 10% increase in net sales to $14.29bn.
       The performance underlines how the maker of Pampers nappies and Crest toothpaste is successfully combating rising commodity prices and price pressure from rivals as it integrates its $57bn acquisition of Gillette.
       It comes as P&G says it has noticed a slowdown in the European economy and is not looking for an improvement "for a year or two". The region is P&G's largest single market.
       The company expects most future growth to come from developing markets where volumes were up 30% in the quarter.

    Data sourced from multiple origins; additonal content by WARC staff