ABF see better-than-expected annual results despite reputation issues, BMW report a slight third-quarter dip, good news at MasTec and Marriott, while Loews has a difficult three months.
Associated British Food
ABF – the food, ingredients and retail group controlled by the Weston family – saw strong results for the fiscal year ended 14 September, with revenues up 9% to £13.3 billion compared to 2012.
Revenue from its sugar division was on par with the previous year, and sales at its agricultural divisions were up 11%, but its budget clothing chain Primark saw sales increase 22%, despite being one of the companies implicated in the Bangladesh Rana Plaza disaster in April – the factory that collapsed killing more than 1,000 workers.
Adjusted operating profit was up 10% to £1.2 billion and non-family chairman Charles Sinclair said the group's results exceeded expectations. He added Primark was working hard on its ethical trade programme, as well as delivering aid and compensation to the families of the disaster victims.
German automotive and finance group BMW, controlled by the Quandt family, saw revenues dip slightly for the third quarter of 2013 – down 0.4% to €18.75 billion.
It blamed the weak European car market, but said it showed signs of stabilising and saw automobile sales volumes increase by 10.7%. The financial services division grew 1.6%, adding €5 billion to the total revenue figure.
Overall, net profit for the profit for the quarter was up 3.2% to 1.3 billion, despite BMW investing heavily in new technology and expanding its workforce by 5%.
In Florida, construction, telecommunications and fuel company MasTec, run by the Mas family, had record results for the third quarter of 2013.
Revenues grew by 19% to $1.27 billion (€941.8 million) – the oil and gas segment had the strongest growth at 83%,followed by the electrical transmission segment at 59%.
MasTec also completed the sale of water and sewer business GlobeTec during the period, which it described as "struggling".
Despite the effect of the US government’s shutdown, demand for rooms in Marriott International’s North American hotels has contributed to positive third quarter results.
The Maryland-based hotel chain saw revenue climb to $3.2 billion from $2.7 billion in the second quarter.
Chief executive Arne Sorenson described it as a “solid quarter” with worldwide occupancy at its hotels reaching a six-year high.
“Short-term group business picked up in North America and occupancy rates reached nearly 75% worldwide,” Sorenson said.
Marriott is also on track to sign a record number of rooms in 2013, and in Asia expects to open one hotel every eight days through to 2016.
Loews has reported a drop in net income from $343 million in the second quarter to $324 million in the third.
Despite a 25% increase in operating profit at its biggest holding, insurer CNA Financial, the conglomerate’s Diamond Offshore Drilling saw profit nearly half and overall investment income also fell.
Loews is controlled by New York’s billionaire Tisch family.