18 Aug 2021

1.CARLSBERG: -Carlsberg stock  was trading 3% higher in Copenhagen as strong beer sales in the first half as well as those of its non-alcoholic beverages drove it to raise its forecast for the year.

Most of the segments topped the 2019 consumption levels as reopening of economies in Europe brought people back to restaurants and to stadiums for Euro 2020. Hot weather in the continent added to the mix.

Carlsberg’s core beer business delivered 8% volume growth. Sales of its two key international brands – Tuborg and Carlsberg – were higher by 28% and 2% in volume terms.

Alcohol-free brews grew 26% and craft and specialty rose 21%. The company attributed higher growth in the former to increased awareness of health and well-being among consumers during the pandemic.

Total organic volume growth in the first six months of the year came in at 10%.

The Swedish company now expects operating profit to grow between 8% and 11% this year, up from its previous guidance of 5%-10% growth.

CEO Cees ’t Hart warned of business still suffering in many markets, particularly in Asia due to the new wave of Covid-19 infection.

2.TENCENT:Chinese gaming and social media giant Tencent Holdings beat forecasts with a 29% climb in second-quarter profit, helped by an increase in takings from popular games and growth in online advertising revenue.

Robust demand for games such as “Honor of Kings” and “PUBG mobile” offset a decrease in revenues from its battle royale title “Peacekeeper Elite”.

Net profit for the three months through June came in at 42.6 billion yuan ($6.6 billion), above a Refinitiv consensus estimate of 34.4 billion yuan. Profit was also boosted by an increase in the fair value assessment of some of the companies it has invested in.

Revenue jumped 20% to 138.3 billion yuan with sales from mobile games up 13%.

The results come amid investor concerns that Tencent will continued to be ensnared in an onslaught of regulatory actions that Chinese authorities have unleashed on several sectors with the tech industry being the hardest hit.

In particular, regulators have launched a slew of anti-trust probes, cited the need to boost data privacy and pushed for better treatment of consumers.

Tencent has been barred from entering into exclusive music rights agreements and saw its $5.3 billion plan to merge DouYu International Holdings Ltd and Huya  Inc blocked by China’s market regulator last month.

Shares in the world’s largest gaming firm by revenue also took a battering after a state media article described online games as “spiritual opium” and expressed concern about their impact on children.

That fallout saw Tencent temporarily lose its crown as Asia’s biggest company by market capitalisation to chipmaker TSMC earlier this week. Its shares remain down some 8% since Aug. 3 article.

Tencent has since announced new measures to reduce the time and money children spend on games, starting with its most popular game, “Honor of Kings”.

Players aged under 16 accounted for only 2.6% of its gross game receipts in China during the second quarter.

3. CITI GROUP:- Citigroup  has hired veteran tech banker Dhiren Shah from Credit Suisse Group AG, as it doubles down on investing in its tech franchise, according to a memo seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

The departure of Shah is the latest of a series of talent losses Credit Suisse has suffered after its lending exposure to troubled investment fund Archegos led to a $5.5 billion loss. A string of investment bankers not involved in the debacle jumped ship as a result, concerned about the financial and reputational fallout for the bank.

Shah will join Citigroup as Chairman of Global Technology mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in New York, after spending six years at Credit Suisse as head of Financial Sponsors M&A with a focus on the technology sector, said the memo, the contents of which was confirmed by a Citigroup spokesperson.

Deals which Shah has advised on this year include Atotech’s $5.1 billion sale to MKS Instruments Inc. and Blue Yonder’s $7.1 billion sale to Panasonic  Corp.

Prior to Credit Suisse, Shah worked at Greenhill  & Co Inc, as well as Morgan Stanley , where he was Head of Global Technology Investment Banking.

Shah will report to Citi’s global co-heads of M&A, Cary Kochman and Mark Shafir, and work closely with Philip Drury, who was named head of technology and communications earlier this year.

Banks have been ramping up hiring in M&A groups to capture more market share in a booming dealmaking environment. In its bid to rebuild the senior team, Credit Suisse hired Citigroup’s Aly Alibhai to lead its global media and entertainment group this month.

4.MORGAN STANLEY:– Morgan Stanley  said on Tuesday it had asked its U.S.-based employees to offer proof for COVID-19 vaccination, as the big bank doubles down on rules for staff entering its offices.

Nearly 90% of its U.S.-based employees have attested to being vaccinated against COVID-19, the bank said, and they would be required to furnish proof by Oct. 1.

Earlier, Morgan Stanley had mandated employees, clients and visitors to attest to being fully vaccinated for access to its offices in New York and Westchester.

Big Wall Street institutions have been grappling with questions around employee safety and how to bring back workers, in the wake of the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus. While some firms have pushed back their return-to-office plans, others have chosen to stay the course.

Last week, Citigroup Inc said it would require U.S. employees returning to its New York headquarters and offices in some other cities to be vaccinated.

.5.IKEA – IKEA, the world’s biggest furniture brand, is branching out into selling renewable energy to households, starting with home market Sweden in September.

Ingka Group, the owner of most IKEA stores worldwide, said households would be able to buy affordable renewable electricity from solar and wind parks, and track their usage through an app.

Ingka’s partner Svea Solar, which produces solar panels for IKEA, will buy the electricity on the Nordic power exchange Nord Pool  and resell it without surcharge. Households will pay a fixed monthly fee plus a variable rate.

IKEA, which also sells solar panels for households in 11 markets, said those buyers would be able to track their own production in the app and sell back surplus electricity.

Jonas Carlehed, head of sustainability at IKEA Sweden, told Reuters he hoped to roll out the new renewable energy offer as well as IKEA’s solar panel offering to all markets.

“We want to make electricity from sustainable sources more accessible and affordable for all,” the company said in a statement.

“IKEA wants to build the biggest renewable energy movement together with co-workers, customers and partners around the world, to help tackle climate change together.”

Ingka said the plan was to offer electricity from solar and wind parks five years old or less, as a way to encourage the building of more parks.

More broadly IKEA aims to be “climate positive” – reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than is eitted by the entire IKEA value chain, from raw material production to customers’ disposal of their furniture – by 2030.

Carlehed said in an interview he saw the renewable energy offer to customers as contributing to reaching that target as well as being a potential new revenue stream.

“It will contribute indirectly (to the target). The link is that our customers’ use of our products account for around 20% of IKEA’s total climate footprint – from appliances, lighting and electronics such as speakers and so on.”