Thersa notes

October 17, 2011 at 3:29pm

Motorenbauer Tognum prüft “Auffälligkeiten” bei Partnern in Asien


Tognum habe im Januar von einem Dritten Hinweise auf mögliche Unregelmäßigkeiten im Zusammenhang mit Vermittlerverträgen asiatischer Vertriebspartner erhalten, sagte der Sprecher. Der Aufsichtsrat habe Kenntnis von den Untersuchungen, der Prüfungsausschuss des Aufsichtsgremiums sei ständig unterrichtet worden.Der Motorenbauer Tognum gehört nach einem gemeinsamen Übernahmeangebot mehrheitlich dem Stuttgarter Autobauer Daimler(DAIGn.DE) und dem britischen Turbinenhersteller Rolls-Royce . Die beiden Bieter erwägen, Tognum von der Börse nehmen.

October 14, 2011 at 5:32pm

UPDATE 4-Google jumps as investors cheer mobile growth


* JP Morgan ups price target to $705 from $685* Shares up nearly 6 pctBy Alexei OreskovicSAN FRANCISCO, Oct 14 (Reuters) - Google Inc’s free Android smartphone software, already a big hit with consumers, is starting to win the hearts of investors.The world’s No. 1 Internet search company offered a peek at its mobile business during quarterly results on Thursday, revealing that the business was generating revenue at an annual run rate of $2.5 billion, up from $1 billion last year.That helped Google sail past third-quarter financial targets set by analysts, sending its shares up nearly 6 percent to $591.68 on Friday and easing some of Wall Street’s concerns that mobile returns might not justify the investment.”People just haven’t given them any credit for that division. I think it could be a huge part of the overall company,” said Pat Adams, portfolio manager at the Dunham Loss Averse Growth Fund, which owns Google shares.”There are so many more mobile devices out there than there are PCs,” Adams said. “What they did was brilliant to give that operating system away to get the search part of it,” he added.Google lets phone makers such as Samsung Electronics , LG Electronics and HTC Corp use its Android software for free, banking on consumers using those phones to visit Google’s advertising-supported website to search for information.The booming popularity of smartphones has frustrated many of the established giants of the computer industry, from Microsoft Corp to Hewlett-Packard Co .For Google, whose business is built upon people using its search engine, making the transition from the personal computers to mobile devices is crucial.The company has stepped up investments in its mobile business, which competes with iPhone-maker Apple Inc . Google’s Android mobile software — already the world’s most-used smartphone platform — powers 190 million devices, up from 135 million in mid-July.The explosion of Android devices, as well as the availability of Google search on Apple’s iPhones, has made Google even more dominant in mobile search than on the desktop PC, according to JP Morgan analyst Doug Anmuth who pegged Google’s mobile search market share at 90 percent.That strong position accounts for the sharp, 28 percent uptick in paid clicks on search ads that Google experienced during the third quarter, Anmuth said in a note to investors.Those ads appear to command lower rates than PC search ads, analysts noted. But some analysts said they expect that to change over time, especially as Google creates new forms of advertising that take advantage of a user’s location.Mobile advertising sales is but one component of what analysts believe could be a broader wireless opportunity for Google. The company has begun offering coupon deals, and could make money through retailer loyalty programs and its recently launched Google Wallet, a free service which allows shoppers to use their mobile phones to pay for purchases.MOTOROLA BETMore concerning for some investors is Google’s plan to acquire mobile phone maker Motorola Mobility Holdings for $12.5 billion.The deal will give Google access to one of the largest patent libraries in the wireless industry, as well as hardware manufacturing operations that will allow it to develop its own line of smartphones.But some worry that Google is entering a low-margin hardware business in which it has no experience, and that the move could jeopardize its relationships with other phone makers that use Android.BGC Partners analyst Colin Gillis said he did not think Google’s increase in mobile ad revenue would make investors feel any better about the Motorola deal, which is expected to close this year or early in 2012.”You could argue the Motorola deal puts some of that revenue at risk,” he said, noting that some current Android phone makers might see Google as a competitor once it acquires Motorola and reduce their support for Google products. Google has said it plans to operate Motorola as a separate business.Gillis also noted that the $2.5 billion annual run rate in Google’s mobile business, while impressive, remains less than 10 percent of the company’s overall revenue.And he added that Google may not necessarily have based the $2.5 billion run rate on one quarter’s worth of revenue, which would have suggested that Google made $625 million in mobile revenue in the third quarter.”They probably took the last month and multiplied it by 12. It could be the last day,” he noted. “We have no idea what that number really is.”Whatever the number though, Google’s mobile revenue is clearly growing quickly, and for many on Wall Street, that’s good enough for now. Many brokerages raised their price targets on Google on Friday, some by as much as 10 percent.”We think mobile is near a massive volume inflection point,” wrote Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Herman Leung in a note to investors on Friday.”At these growth rates, we think mobile revenue could be larger than display (advertising revenue) by 2012.”

1:48am

UPDATE 4-Olympus fires British CEO, a self-confessed loud-mouth


* One of only a few non-Japanese running large Japan companies* Shares drop more than 17 percent to one-month low* Woodford has said he’s “loud-mouthed” and “strong headed”By Tim Kelly and Isabel ReynoldsTOKYO, Oct 14 (Reuters) - Japan’s Olympus Corp fired its CEO and president over the Briton’s management of the camera and endoscope maker, sparking a 17 percent plunge in the firm’s share price on Friday.Michael Woodford, 51, took over as president in April after 30 years at the company, becoming one of only a handful of non-Japanese to run a large Japanese corporation.In a blunt statement, the board of Olympus said Woodford “has largely diverted from the rest of the management team in regard to the management direction and method and it is now causing problems for decision-making by the management team.”Woodford — who in a recent magazine interview was equally blunt about his management style — told Reuters in May he would cut jobs to achieve his mid-term cost targets and reverse a slump in earnings while avoiding forced redundancies in Japan for cultural reasons.Japanese boards rarely dismiss top executives, even when the company is struggling. The boards are often criticised by corporate governance advocates for failing to hold management accountable on behalf of shareholders.Olympus said Woodford was “unanimously” dismissed as president and chief executive officer, but will remain as a director until that position is voted upon at the next annual shareholders meeting.The company’s chairman, Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, will take over as president and chief executive.”We hoped that he could do things that would be difficult for a Japanese executive to do, but he was not able to understand that we needed to reflect the management style we have built up since the company was established 92 years ago, as well as Japanese culture,” Kikukawa told a news conference.Efforts to contact Woodford, who had previously been responsible for overseeing a restructuring of the firm’s European operations, were unsuccessful.The news drove Olympus’ shares down more than 17 percent to a one-month low of 2,052 yen at one stage. By early afternoon, the stock was down 15 percent. More than 19 million shares were traded, 10 times the average volume over the past 30 days.CONFRONTATIONALWoodford acknowledged previously his management style could be confrontational and in a recent interview with the magazine of the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan he highlighted the difficulties of instigating change in Japan’s corporate culture.”I understand why Japan gets tagged with the ‘unique’ label; it’s one of the most impenetrable cultures for outsiders,” he told the magazine.”Status quo is still very powerful in Japan. When you change something, you close something or withdraw from something, you will get resistance based on my predecessor’s decisions, especially when something is seen as sacrosanct or a holy cow,” he said. “I can be opinionated, loud-mouthed, strong-headed and direct.”Olympus has struggled in the camera business.The company made 35.4 billion yen ($460 million) in operating profit for the year to March 2011, down 41 percent on the previous year, as its struggling camera division held back the healthy medical equipment unit.The camera division lost 15 billion yen in the year to March 2011. Woodford was appointed after being credited with successfully cutting costs at the company’s European division.”What exactly happened at Olympus is not clear, but personal differences among corporate managers happen everywhere, so his situation is not necessarily just because he was a foreign manager at a Japanese firm,” said Koichi Ogawa, a chief portfolio manager at Daiwa SB Investments, who does not own Olympus shares.Other foreigners who hold top posts in Japan include: Howard Stringer, the Welsh-born CEO of Sony Corp ; Craig Naylor of Nippon Sheet Glass ; and Carlos Ghosn, the Lebanese-Brazilian president of Nissan Motor Co .The last time a major Japanese company fired its president was in April last year, when struggling watchmaker Seiko Holdings sacked its president for “dogmatic” management and for not dealing with a prolonged slump at its upscale flagship retail unit Wako.

October 13, 2011 at 4:01am

UPDATE 1-Saab says received first payment from Youngman


* Saab shares rise 20 pct, top Amsterdam gainerAMSTERDAM, OCT 13 - Struggling car maker Saab , which has been battling to stave off bankruptcy for months, said on Thursday it had received a first payment from Chinese partner Youngman and that further payments will be made by Oct. 22.The money is part of a 70 million euro ($97 million) loan secured by Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co. that is intended to see Saab through a period of creditor protection until Chinese authorities approve a bigger investment by Youngman and China’s Pangda .Saab did not say how much money had been paid, but Swedish newspaper Dagens Industri reported on Wednesday that Saab had received about 100 million crowns ($15 million).Saab said further payments “are expected to be made during this week and by Oct. 22.”It added that it expects Youngman and Pangda Automobile Trade Co Ltd to receive Chinese approval for a planned 245 million euro equity investment “during the next weeks.”