19 Apr 13. Slowing motor production hits GKN profits. Lacklustre vehicle production in Japan, Europe and India and a £23m restructuring charge have combined to put the brakes on first-quarter pre-tax profit at GKN. The FTSE 100 engineering company – the world’s biggest maker of steering joints by sales – on Thursday reported that pre-tax profit for the first three months of 2013 had contracted 4 per cent year-on-year to £119m. The shrinking profit came in spite of GKN sales for the three-month period improving 9 per cent to £1.9bn. The group’s trading margin contracted 0.7 percentage points to 7.4 per cent. GKN earns more than half its profits from its motor driveline business, and the company’s fortunes are closely linked with the global demand for cars and trucks. European car sales fell to a 17-year low in 2012, and the gloomy outlook for the sector prompted GKN to issue a profit warning last year and take a £23m charge as part of a restructuring that included the axing of 200 jobs in Germany and Japan. Global light vehicle production in the first quarter of 2013 declined 1 per cent year-on-year to 20.8m vehicles, with demand in China and Brazil failing to offset contractions in Japan, Europe and India, which were down 16, 9 and 6 per cent respectively. GKN, which employs 44,000 people across 35 countries, said the restructuring had been spread across its driveline division and another business that produces powdered metals. Margins at the motor division, which supplies most of Europe’s carmakers, contracted from 7.6 per cent to 6 per cent. The news was rosier at GKN’s aerospace unit – a division that was invigorated by last year’s £633m cash purchase of the aerospace components arm of Volvo, the Swedish industrial group. The aerospace division reported sales up 47 per cent to £544m, or up 3 per cent if the impact of the Volvo acquisition is excluded. The trading margin improved 0.2 percentage points to 9.9. (Source: FT.com)
15 Apr 13. In the frame of its 18-month share buyback programme announced on 2 April 2013, EADS indicates that it is entering into discussions with the French State for the potential acquisition off-market of a stake of 1.56% in EADS on the basis of a price per share equal to 37.35 euros (i.e. corresponding to the share price resulting from the EADS shares ABB carried out by Lagardère), as proposed by the French State. In addition, EADS intends to enter into an agreement for the management of its share buyback programme with an investment service provider under the French Autorités des marchés financiers (AMF) “safe harbour” regulations. EADS will communicate on the outcome of such negotiations, the details of this mandate and any further use of its share buyback programme in due course.
17 Apr 13. Further to its announcement of 15 April 2013 and in the frame of its share buyback programme, EADS confirms the conclusion of a share purchase agreement with the French State for the acquisition off-market of a stake of 1.56% in EADS for €482.7m. In addition and also in the frame of the buyback programme, EADS confirms it participated in the placement by Daimler AG as published on 16 April 2013. EADS acquired 1.95% of its own shares for an amount of €600m. EADS welcomes the structure of the placement which implies Daimler’s confidence in the continuing positive momentum of the company. EADS will provide an update on the further use of its share buyback programme in due course.
17 Apr 13. EADS has entered into an agreement for the independent management of its 18-month share buyback programme with a broker (“Investment Services Provider”) under the “safe harbour” regulations of the French Autorités des marchés financiers (AMF). Under this mandate, EADS has instructed the broker to purchase on EADS’ behalf a number of EADS shares not exceeding 43 million from 17 April 2013 to 31 July 2013. Going forward and subject to market conditions, EADS intends to implement similar mandates as applicable until