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Jul.22 -- Carl Icahn, chairman at Icahn Enterprises Holdings, discusses his objection to Occidental Petroleum Corp.'s $38 billion deal for Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and his bid to place four members on Occidental's board. He speaks with Bloomberg's Erik Schatzker on "Balance of Power."
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Boeing and Lockheed Martin are competing for a $15 billion order. Defense spending is expected to increase as India's armed forces modernize.
(Bloomberg) -- Occidental Petroleum Corp.’s leaders hastily put together its $38 billion deal for Anadarko Petroleum Corp. in a job-preserving bid to stave off a takeover itself, according to activist investor Carl Icahn.Occidental Chief Executive Officer Vicki Hollub and Chairman Eugene Batchelder appear to have negotiated the "extremely risky" transaction because they were worried their oil and gas explorer was in the crosshairs of a potential buyer, Icahn said in a letter that will be sent to Occidental shareholders Monday."I do believe that Hollub and Batchelder know what’s good for them and their personal agendas but do not particularly care what’s good for shareholders," Icahn said in the letter, a copy of which was reviewed by Bloomberg. "With [Occidental] weakened and doing poorly, Hollub and Batchelder were fearful there would be a bid for the company which shareholders would accept."The letter is Icahn’s latest salvo in the activist investor’s attack on Occidental after it successfully outbid Chevron Corp. for Anadarko in May, striking the oil industry’s biggest deal in at least four years. Icahn, who owns a $1.7 billion stake in Occidental, has lambasted the financing for the deal and lack of a requirement for shareholder approval.Occidental has urged shareholders not to support Icahn’s effort to replace four directors, arguing it’s not in the best interest of shareholders. Separately, it also appointed Robert Shearer, a former managing director at BlackRock Inc., to the board earlier this month.Push BackHollub pushed back against Icahn’s nominees in her own letter to shareholders Monday, saying none of them possess "skills that are additive or superior to our existing directors." The deal, expected to close in the second half of the year, is forecast to deliver $3.5 billion in cost and capital-spending synergies, she said."Mr. Icahn’s own statements demonstrate that he does not understand or support the strategic and financial merits of the acquisition and we believe that his board nominees would interfere with our ability to successfully integrate Anadarko’s valuable assets, execute our divestiture and deleveraging plan and deliver on the full promise of this acquisition at this critical juncture," she said.The back-and-forth comes less than a week after Icahn formally asked Occidental investors to help him replace four of the company’s 10 directors and potentially push for a sale. Icahn had spoken to Hollub several times over the past six weeks about his concerns over the Anadarko deal, he said in a proxy filing last week.Icahn said in an interview on Bloomberg TV that he was trying to prevent Occidental from repeating mistakes similar to the ones it made negotiating the Anadarko deal. Hollub could have arranged financing for the deal months in advance but "panicked" when the need arose, he said."You need somebody like us, or a voice on that board to keep these people honest," Icahn said. "The board has done a deal that I think is ridiculous. They could panic again."Hollub and Batchelder have an "egregious track record" despite being highly paid, Icahn said in the letter. Occidental’s board "rubber stamped" the Anadarko deal, negotiating it too quickly as it structured it to avoid a shareholder vote, he said.Occidental’s executives, with limited mergers and acquisitions experience, gave up too much in the $10 billion financing deal they struck with Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway to outbid Chevron, Icahn said. Hollub was "arrogant" to think she could negotiate with Buffett, he said."Buffett literally took her to the cleaners,” he said in the letter. “The Buffett deal was like taking candy from a baby and amazingly she even thanked him publicly for it!”Buffett will receive an 8% return on his preferred shares to finance the deal plus warrants to buy common shares, a similar structure the financier used before in taking stakes in Bank of America Corp. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Icahn claimed that at least one large investor that he knows of would have provided the financing without the warrants.Icahn filed paperwork last week seeking support from 20% of Occidental shareholders, which would force the company to set a record date to establish which investors would be eligible to vote on replacing the directors. If that were achieved, Icahn would then solicit their written consent for removal, which he described as a "long and expensive" process.But he said change was necessary given that the company’s shares have fallen 33% since Hollub became CEO in April 2016 when oil was trading at $45 a barrel, underperforming its peers over the same period of time. He said those declines came despite a 25% increase in oil prices in the same time frame. The company has also lost $12 billion in market value since its interest in buying Anadarko was first reported.Occidental fell 0.3% to $52.15 at 2:09 p.m. in New York trading, giving the company a market value of about $39 billion.(Updates with Icahn’s comments in paragraph nine, share price in final paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Scott Deveau in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org;Kevin Crowley in Houston at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Liana Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org, ;Simon Casey at email@example.com, Matthew MonksFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The Australian dollar has rallied again during the day on Monday as we continue to build pressure to the upside. Ultimately, this market looks for some type of momentum to finally break out and smashed the downtrend that we have been in.
On Anika Therapeutics' (ANIK) second-quarter earnings call, investor focus will be on its progress with the U.S. approval of its orthopedic product Cingal.
Hershey (HSY) is set to report its second-quarter results on Thursday. We expect Hershey’s sales and earnings to grow year-over-year, but that growth to be low.
Freeport-McMoRan (FCX), the largest publicly traded copper miner, is expected to release its second-quarter earnings results on June 24.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Kroger Co., the giant but aging supermarket chain, has unleashed a flurry of initiatives to ensure it won’t get thumped in a post-Amazon-buying-Whole-Foods world: It is revamping locations, bought a meal-kit company, and sold off its convenience-store business. Its biggest gamble, though, is a partnership with British online grocer Ocado Group Plc. The two plan to build as many as 20 automated grocery warehouses in the U.S. to help Kroger turbocharge its e-commerce operation.Grocery has proven a uniquely tough business to bring into the online era. Orders often have dozens of items – some frozen, some cold, some room temperature – and much of the inventory is perishable. That simply makes for a different challenge than the one Amazon.com Inc. has successfully tackled by getting a single laptop computer or phone charger on your doorstep in one day.Ocado has focused specifically on digital grocery shopping for its entire corporate life, and it shows. At its newest online grocery fulfillment center outside London, 1,000 robots zoom around a grid at a speed of four meters (13 feet) per second, extending a gripper to pick up and transport bins of groceries. The system strips out labor costs and enables human workers to pack about 600 items per hour. Every aspect of the fulfillment process is designed for the unique quirks of grocery, including systems that cue workers about what items in a given order they should put in a single grocery bag. (This ensures, for example, that something heavy doesn’t plop onto a dozen eggs.) Ocado estimates its system saves one hour of labor for every 50-item order – no small thing in a segment of retail with notoriously thin profit margins.There is a real benefit to specializing in solving the grocery conundrum, as Ocado has done. The company’s sales increased 12% last year to 1.6 billion pounds ($2 billion), according to its annual report, and its active customer count increased 11 percent from the previous year. So I’m confident that Ocado will improve Kroger’s game and equip it with advantages in the battle for U.S. market share. Ocado’s system will enable it to fill orders especially quickly and has a high level of accuracy – both important contributors to customer satisfaction. Down the road, it’s not hard to envision even more labor costs getting stripped out of Ocado’s system, enhancing the model’s profitability. But timing is everything in the fast-changing online grocery world. And right now, Amazon and Walmart Inc. are leading the pack.Neither Amazon nor Walmart has a system with the exact sort of wizardry of Ocado’s; even so, each is exploring its own ways of using automation to help with profitability and customer experience. Walmart is testing driverless cars for grocery delivery, and Amazon recently showed off some new warehouse robots of its own. It will take Kroger up to five years to build out the fleet of Ocado warehouses it has committed to building. I worry that won’t be fast enough to vault it past Walmart and Amazon in the race for online grocery supremacy – no matter how advanced and efficient Ocado’s system is.Take, for example, the specialized delivery vehicles Ocado has developed. They can be loaded with racks of grocery-filled bins designed to fit practically every inch of available cabin space and they have a separate compartment for cold items. A routing algorithm helps ensure they are loaded in an order conducive to a driver’s delivery path and that those routes are optimized for efficiency. This sounds way more efficient than some of the solutions Walmart and Amazon use these days, where a DoorDash or Amazon Flex contractor-courier loads up the trunk of his sedan with groceries. But that efficiency gain is only useful if Kroger can get the density of orders to make it count.Investors have already punished Kroger this year for disappointing on comparable sales growth and its annual profit forecast. It’s hard to assess how much this project might further test their patience, especially because the companies haven’t offered specifics on how they will share the costs of establishing and maintaining these facilities. But we know it won’t be cheap: Kroger has said it is investing $55 million to build the first of the Ocado-powered fulfillment centers.It might help if Kroger talked up other ways the warehouses could potentially support its business later, such as one day sending replenishment stock to nearby stores. And the new warehouses, in some cases, will be positioned to potentially expand Kroger’s addressable market. One of the first facilities Kroger committed to building is in central Florida, a market that Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Jennifer Bartashus points out is one where regional heavyweight Publix Super Markets Inc. is beloved and ubiquitous and Kroger doesn’t have much presence. Kroger sees opportunity to crack this market with a compelling online offering.Overall, Kroger is better off for having partnered with Ocado. But I suspect it will turn out this arrangement doesn’t completely jolt the broader U.S. grocery industry the way it could have if it had been forged three or five years ago, before the competition had fully awakened to the e-commerce opportunity. Better late than never. To contact the author of this story: Sarah Halzack at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Beth Williams at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Sarah Halzack is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the consumer and retail industries. She was previously a national retail reporter for the Washington Post.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Based on the early price action and the current price at .7040, the direction of the AUD/USD on Monday is likely to be determined by trader reaction to the downtrending Gann angle at .7036.
(Bloomberg) -- Prudential Plc is vying with Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li’s FWD Group to become an insurance-distribution partner of Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam JSC, the nation’s biggest lender by market value, according to people familiar with the matter.Prudential and FWD are among firms seeking to gain exclusive rights to distribute life insurance products through Vietcombank’s branch network, said the people, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. Vietcombank is expected to receive an initial payment of about $400 million and could get more based on the performance of the business, the people said.Credit Suisse Group AG has been advising Vietcombank on finding a new insurance-distribution partner, Bloomberg News first reported in June last year. A deal could be worth as much as $1 billion over the life of the contract, depending on how it is structured, the people said at the time.Negotiations are still ongoing and no final decision has been made, the people said. Other bidders could still emerge, they said. Representatives for Prudential, FWD and Vietcombank declined to comment.Insurers have been attracted to a growing middle class in Vietnam. Bank for Investment & Development of Vietnam is also exploring selling its stake in a life insurance joint venture with MetLife Inc., other people with knowledge of the matter have said.Hanoi-based Vietcombank employs more than 15,000 staff, with over 500 outlets in the country’s capital and aboard, according to its website. In 2007, the bank formed a joint venture with BNP Paribas SA’s life insurance unit Cardif and Vietnamese lender SeABank to develop insurance products. Vietcombank has set a goal to become the nation’s No. 1 bank in 2020, its website shows.\--With assistance from Bei Hu.To contact the reporters on this story: Joyce Koh in Singapore at firstname.lastname@example.org;Manuel Baigorri in Hong Kong at email@example.com;Nguyen Dieu Tu Uyen in Hanoi at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Fion Li at email@example.com, Katrina NicholasFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Carl Icahn renewed his attack on Occidental Petroleum and its chief executive Vicki Hollub on Monday, saying the investor Warren Buffett “figuratively took her [Hollub] to the cleaners” after he pumped billions of dollars into Occidental to fund its $55bn takeover of rival Anadarko Petroleum. Mr Icahn, whose activist investment vehicles have built a $1.6bn stake in Occidental, has stepped up his opposition to the deal since May when he filed a lawsuit against the company and labelled the deal as “fundamentally misguided and hugely overpriced”. In his latest missive, he has criticised Ms Hollub for having limited experience in handling mergers and acquisitions when she agreed a $10bn financing package for the Anadarko transaction involving Mr Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.
The markets have priced in a 25-basis point Federal Reserve rate cut on July 31. The source of volatility this week for Aussie and Kiwi traders will be whether there will be a 50-basis point rate cut. There are no Fed speakers scheduled this week so traders are going to have a hard time determining the chances of the more aggressive half-percentage point rate cut. Therefore, brace yourself for a potential choppy, two-sided trade.
(Bloomberg) -- Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. is already getting a headache from its $11 billion Australian foray.Japan’s biggest brewer, seeking to escape a slow-growing, aging market at home, is buying the Australian assets of Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, which owns iconic but low-priced beers such as Victoria Bitter. To do so, Asahi will double its debt load and issue about 10% more in new shares. That’s becoming a hangover for investors, who lopped $2 billion from the brewer’s market value on Monday.The deal is the latest in an overseas buying spree by Asahi, which picked up Fuller, Smith & Turner Plc’s brewing business for $330 million earlier this year and made a $11 billion push into Europe two years ago. The Japanese brewer, along with Kirin Holdings Co. and Sapporo Holdings Ltd., has seen domestic beer shipments decline for 14 straight years as fewer people reach legal drinking age. To stay ahead of rivals, Asahi now appears to be more willing to weigh down its balance sheet.“The question is whether Asahi can effectively manage the business, while improving profits and cash flows,” said Toshiyasu Ohashi, chief credit analyst at Daiwa Securities Group Inc., who added that Asahi’s credit profile will be hurt as debt grows faster than cash flow. “Can they generate synergies, and can they improve their financials after the deal?”Shares of Asahi dropped 8.9% in Tokyo trading on Monday, the biggest decline since 2011. The stock was up 18% this year before the deal with AB InBev was announced on Friday.Asahi said it’s securing a 1.2 trillion yen ($11.1 billion) bridge loan and selling 200 billion yen worth of shares to pay for AB InBev’s Melbourne-based Carlton & United Breweries. The Japanese brewer is already on the hook for about 1 trillion yen in interest-bearing debt. The company is betting that cash from the Australian business will help pay down debt. The purchase may lift Asahi’s per-share earnings by as much as 20%, according to SMBC Nikko Securities.There are already early signs of concern over Asahi’s creditworthiness. Moody’s Japan placed the company’s ratings on review for downgrade on Monday, saying the deal will “significantly raise Asahi’s financial leverage.” Rating & Investment Information Inc. said it would place the brewer on its rating monitor with a view to downgrading.A representative for Tokyo-based Asahi declined to comment on Monday.The timing of Asahi’s 200 billion yen share sale isn’t ideal, either. That figure represents about a fifth of total equity issued in Japan this year. Companies have issued 1.1 trillion yen of stock so far, down 43% from the same period last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.Asahi has been here before. In 2016, it agreed to buy European beers including Peroni, Grolsch and Pilsner Urquell in two transactions from AB InBev for about $11 billion. Since then, the Japanese brewer’s shares have climbed more than 30%, making it easier for Chief Executive Officer Akiyoshi Koji to justify the latest deal to shareholders.What Bloomberg Opinion Says“Asahi is paying a hefty price, almost 15 times the business’s $760 million of Ebitda in 2018. By comparison, Asahi, Kirin Holdings Co. Ltd. and Sapporo Holdings Ltd. trade on an average of about 11 times.”Andrea Felsted, consumer and retail columnistClick here to read the pieceAsahi said the Carlton purchase would give it greater access to distribution across the Australian market, letting it cross-sell its own brands, including Super Dry and Peroni. “Australia is an attractive market enjoying sustainable economic growth,” the brewer said in a statement.Tomonobu Tsunoyama, an analyst at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co. in Tokyo, agreed. “It’s a mature market, but in terms of making money from premium brands, Australia is very similar to eastern Europe,” he said.Even so, total beer consumption in Australia has more than halved in the past four decades, to 84 liters per person a year, while lower-alcohol brews make up one fifth of the total. With total alcohol consumption declining, InBev had been pushing weaker ales on Australians.“The Australian market is very high margin, but very slow growth,” said Duncan Fox, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst.Carlton’s portfolio of beers, which account for almost half the Australian market, has something for almost any palate. The collection is built on the 165-year-old Victoria Bitter, still portrayed as the brew of choice for hot and thirsty Aussie laborers, but also includes foreign brands such as Stella Artois and Beck’s. InBev has in recent years added craft beers including 4 Pines, which is made in the Sydney beachside suburb of Manly.Although Carlton fits with Asahi’s long-term strategy, it’s unlikely to deliver benefits beyond the continent, according to Naomi Takagi, an analyst at SMBC Nikko Securities.“The deal is unlikely to lead to expansion in other countries and thus synergies look thin,” Takagi wrote in a research note.(Updates shares, Australian market figures.)\--With assistance from Shiho Takezawa, Angus Whitley and Takashi Nakamichi.To contact the reporter on this story: Kantaro Komiya in Tokyo at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Rachel Chang at email@example.com, Reed Stevenson, Jeff SutherlandFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Investing.com - The U.S. dollar inched up on Monday in Asia as investors turned their attention to global central bank decisions scheduled for the next two weeks, starting with the European Central Bank which meets on Thursday followed by the Bank of Japan and then the Federal Reserve next week.
A big, cold beer, as the famous Australian lager ad puts it, is the answer to a hard-earned thirst. It is less enticing to those drenched in debt, even if their taste for the amber nectar has made them the world’s biggest brewer. Asahi investors have little reason to crack a tinnie.
Japanese brewer Asahi lost more than $2bn of its market value on Monday as investors fretted about its debt load following an $11.3bn deal to buy Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Australian operations. Asahi had moved swiftly to buy Carlton & United Breweries from AB InBev after the world’s largest brewer looked to raise cash in the wake of the aborted initial public offering of its Asian business. On top of fresh debt concerns, Japan’s largest brewer has warned investors that it will issue up to $1.9bn in new equity to finance the latest acquisition, which will result in an 8.7 per cent dilution.