KKR posts second-highest distributable earnings in its history for third quarter

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Private equity firm KKR & Co LP reported its second-highest distributable earnings in its history on Thursday, as its third-quarter earnings were buoyed by the sale of the divestment of its stake in payments processor First Data Corp and the sale of Finish healthcare company Mehilainen.

FILE PHOTO: Trading information for KKR & Co is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., August 23, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

After-tax distributable earnings (DE) – the actual cash available for paying dividends – totaled $496.7 million for the three months to end-September, up 21.3 percent year over year, KKR said.

KKR rival Blackstone Group LP reported a similar 22.8 percent year-over-year rise in third-quarter DE last week.

KKR said DE per share came in at 60 cents, slightly ahead of analyst consensus for 59 cents.

“Through our differentiated model – the combination of our investment funds, balance sheet and capital markets capabilities – we generated one of the highest distributable earnings quarters in our history,” co-Chairmen and co-Chief Executives Henry Kravis and George Roberts said in a statement.

KKR said earlier this year it considers DE as its primary earnings metric, as opposed to economic net income, which reflects the mark-to-market valuation of gains or losses of private equity firms’ holdings and is a closely watched measure of performance at peers such as Apollo Global Management and Blackstone.

This focus on DE is part of the firm’s efforts to make its stock more accessible to investors, a push which included converting to a corporation from a publicly traded partnership on July 1.

KKR’s assets under management grew to $194.6 billion, up 27 percent over the last 12 months, aided by fundraising and assets from debt investment company FS Investment Corp, which moved funds after its partnership with Blackstone ended.

Over the same period, Blackstone’s assets under management rose 18 percent to $456.7 billion.

Reporting by Joshua Franklin in New York; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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Conoco gets $345 million in cash and commodities from Venezuela’s PDVSA

HOUSTON, Oct 25 (Reuters) – U.S. oil producer ConocoPhillips on Thursday said it received $345 million in cash and commodities last quarter from Venezuelan state oil firm PDVSA under an arbitration settlement.

The proceeds were part of a first installment under a deal to satisfy a $2 billion arbitration award Conoco won earlier this year over broken oil contracts in the South American country more than a decade ago. (Reporting by Gary McWilliams)

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UPDATE 3-UK’s embattled BT names payment firm chief as new CEO

(Reuters) – BT Group Plc (BT.L) appointed Worldpay (WP.N) co-CEO Philip Jansen as its new chief executive on Thursday, ending months of speculation about who would be chosen to tackle a host of problems at Britain’s biggest broadband and mobile provider.

British Telecom (BT)’s headquarters is seen in central London, Britain May 10, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay – RC173FB00160

Several media outlets had flagged Jansen as frontrunner for the job after the board and investors lost confidence in his predecessor Gavin Patterson earlier this year.

Jansen, currently co-chief executive at payment processing firm Worldpay, previously worked with Patterson at Telewest and both men also worked for consumer giant Procter & Gamble.

Jansen, 51, has been Worldpay CEO for five years and led the business through Britain’s biggest financial technology IPO. He will be appointed to the board as an executive director on Jan. 1 before taking over from Patterson at the start of February.

Worldpay announced in September that Jansen would step down at the end of this year when Charles Drucker would become the company’s sole CEO.

BT shares were down over one percent at 247.6 pence at 0748 GMT.

Separately, the company said former Vodafone and O2 executive Matthew Key would join the BT board as a non-executive director immediately.

Patterson ran BT for almost five years and announced some 13,000 job cuts earlier this year as the former fixed-line monopoly struggled with intense competition, an underperforming IT services unit, a huge pension deficit and criticism of its broadband plans.

A fraud left a 530-million-pound ($683 million) black hole in the company’s Italian business, forcing Patterson to cut profit targets in 2017.

Announcing it would replace him in June, Chairman Jan du Plessis said the board was confident in Patterson’s strategy but doubted his ability to deliver it.

Patterson won plaudits when he took BT into TV sports, going head-to-head with rival Sky (SKYB.L) in Premier League soccer rights, and back into mobile by buying market leader EE, sending shares to a 14-year high in 2015.

But a failure to hit a revenue target and a forecast of no growth in profit for the next couple of years sent BT shares to six-year lows in May and they are now down more than 24 percent since the start of Patterson’s tenure.

Jansen will be paid 1.1 million pounds a year along with a cash allowance in lieu of pension of 15 percent of salary and an annual bonus of up to 240 percent of salary subject to performance.

Patterson received a total of 2.3 million pounds ($3.1 million) in the year to the end of March, according to the company’s annual report — basic pay of 997,000 pounds plus a 1.292 million pound bonus. He had missed out on a bonus in the previous year after a number of setbacks.

Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham and Adrian Croft

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UPDATE 1-Maple Leaf profit misses estimates on lower hog prices

(Reuters) – Maple Leaf Foods Inc (MFI.TO), one of Canada’s biggest pork processors, posted a quarterly profit that missed analysts’ estimates, hurt by lower hog prices and higher investments in its flagship brands.

The company’s sales fell 3.7 percent to C$874.8 million ($671.1 million), as the drop in fresh pork prices offset growth in sustainable meat and plant-based protein products. Analysts on average had expected sales of C$901.1 million.

“It was a challenging period driven by temporary global trade instability,” Chief Executive Officer Michael McCain said in a statement.

The company’s net earnings fell to C$26.6 million, or 21 Canadian cents per share, in the quarter ended Sept. 30, from C$37.6 million, or 29 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned 29 Canadian cents per share, missing the average analyst estimate of 33 Canadian cents, according to Refinitiv data.

Reporting by Shanti S Nair and Bharath Manjesh in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Maju Samuel

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Sainsbury’s to open Oasis clothes outlets in supermarkets

fashion shot from Oasis websiteImage copyright oasis

Sainsbury’s is opening Oasis clothes outlets in its supermarkets, the latest move to diversify the way its store space is used.

The mid-market fashion chain will open before Christmas in Sainsbury’s in Sydenham, south London, and in its new Selly Oak store in Birmingham.

Sainsbury’s said it hoped the move would make it a “fashion destination”.

Supermarkets, under pressure to wring more revenues out of their stores, have been expanding what they offer.

Sainsbury’s said three other Oasis outlets would open in other supermarkets in the spring. The supermarket group has already given over space to Argos, Clarks, Habitat and Specsavers.

Rival Tesco hosts concessions from fashion brands Dorothy Perkins, Evans and Burton. Waitrose has partnered with private healthcare provider Bupa to provide in-store medical services and some Morrisons stores host Timpson shoe repair and key cutting outlets.

‘Fashion destination’

While Sainsbury’s already sells clothes under its Tu brand, the supermarket said Oasis would complement its current ranges and “help to make Sainsbury’s a fashion destination”.

Sainsbury’s, which is in the process of merging with Asda, says clothing currently accounts for £1bn of its sales.

Hash Ladha, chief executive designate of Oasis, said the arrangement was “an exciting development” for the brand, adding the two brands shared a similar customer demographic, making the tie-up “a natural strategic partnership”.

High Street fashion brands have been under pressure this year as consumers tighten belts during difficult economic times.

Aurora Fashions, the firm which owns Oasis, also has fashion brands Warehouse and Coast in its stable. Coast went into administration earlier this month.

Asian-inspired High Street fashion brand East collapsed at the start of the year and New Look is undergoing a restructuring involving closing 60 stores. Department stores House of Fraser and Debenhams have also run into difficulty.

Belgium to announce choice of F-35 shortly -media

BRUSSELS, Oct 25 (Reuters) – The Belgian government will shortly make an official announcement on Thursday that it has chosen Lockheed-Martin’s F-35 jets rather than the Eurofighter Typhoon as a replacement for its ageing F-16s, public broadcasters said, citing government sources.

Earlier in the week, the national news agency quoted government sources saying that the choice of the U.S.-built plane had been made. (Reporting by Alastair Macdonald, editing by Robin Emmott)

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Husky Energy reports bigger third-quarter profit

Oct 25 (Reuters) – Canadian oil and gas producer Husky Energy Inc reported a bigger quarterly profit on Thursday, boosted by higher crude oil prices.

Net income rose to C$545 million ($418.27 million), in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, from C$136 million, a year earlier.

The company’s production in the reported quarter decreased to 297 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) from 318 million boe/d.

Last week, Husky made a formal offer to buy MEG Energy Corp days after making a hostile bid for C$6.4 billion ($5 billion), to become an integrated oil company having production and refining capabilities.

MEG had rejected Husky’s formal offer. ($1 = C$1.30) (Reporting by Laharee Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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ConocoPhillips reports fourfold rise in profit on higher oil prices

Oct 25 (Reuters) – U.S. oil and gas producer ConcoPhillips reported a more than fourfold jump in quarterly profit on Thursday, benefiting from a recovery in oil prices and a gain of $345 million related to a settlement agreement with Venezuela’s PDVSA.

The world’s largest independent oil and gas producer said net income rose to $1.9 billion, or $1.59 per share, in the third-quarter ended Sept. 30, from $420 million, or 34 cents per share, a year earlier.

The company’s global output, excluding Libya, rose 22,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) to 1.22 million boe/d. (Reporting by John Benny in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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Russia’s Rosneft could still increase output by end-2018 – CEO

MOSCOW, Oct 25 (Reuters) – Russian oil giant Rosneft could increase production by the end of the year, the firm’s CEO Igor Sechin said on Thursday.

Asked if there was still a possibility that Rosneft could raise production, Sechin said “there is, of course”. (Reporting by Oksana Kobzeva Writing by Tom Balmforth Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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Hershey’s quarterly sales miss estimates

(Reuters) – Confectioner Hershey Co (HSY.N) reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue on Thursday, as growth in the Kisses and Reese peanut buttercups maker’s recently bought snack brands failed to offset a drop in sales of sugary chocolates.

FILE PHOTO: Hershey’s chocolate bars are shown in this photo illustration in Encinitas, California January 29, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

Net income attributable to Hershey fell to $263.71 million, or $1.25 per share, in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, from $273.30 million, or $1.28 per share, a year earlier.

Sales rose 2.3 percent to $2.08 billion, missing the average analyst estimate of $2.09 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

Reporting by Soundarya J in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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