Rally expected after big slump

Puma expected stable sales and a higher profit margin this year after a difficult previous year, the German sportswear maker said yesterday. Puma said its net profit plunged 92.4 percent to just e5.3 million (R79.6m) last year, hit largely by e129m in one-off costs such as restructuring charges. Revenue declined by 8.7 percent to e2.985 billion and operating profit was down 34.1 percent to e191.4m. Last year had been “challenging” for Puma, chief executive Bjoern Gulden said, and “there is no doubt that we have issues in terms of lack of brand heat, commercial products and desirable distribution”. Nevertheless, “2014 marks the start of the turnaround,” he said, but cautioned not to expect “a quick fix”. – Sapa-AFP


Profit booked after disposals

French hotel group Accor returned to net profit last year and said yesterday that it was confident for this year but did not provide target figures. The biggest hotel operator in Europe and sixth-biggest globally, reported a net profit of e126 million (R1.8 billion), from a loss of e599m in 2012 owing to the effects of divesting low-cost US chain Motel 6. Accor, headed by new chief executive Sebastien Bazin since the end of August last year, said the 2013 results were “solid”. In November, Bazin announced a new strategy based on two core businesses: the management of hotels, called HotelServices, and the management of property, called HotelInvest. Operating profit rose by 1.9 percent to e536m, slightly above the company’s target of e530m. Sales, already announced, fell by 2 percent to e5.54bn. – Sapa-AFP

Tesla Motors

Shares hit new high on results

Tesla Motors posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter results on Wednesday and said deliveries of its Model S electric sedan would surge more than 55 percent this year. Shares in Tesla, led by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, jumped 11.8 percent to $216.41 (R2 362) in extended trade after the announcement, valuing it at nearly $25 billion. A day earlier, the stock shot to an all-time high after the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Musk had met with Apple’s head of mergers and acquisitions last year. The company, founded in 2003, earned $46 million, excluding one-time items, during the fourth quarter. Including items, its fourth-quarter net loss narrowed to $16.2m from $90m a year earlier. – Reuters