|To: richardred who wrote (2859)||2/17/2012 1:35:02 PM|
|Danone, Nestle Said to Have Bid Proposals for Pfizer Unit|
By Jeffrey McCracken and Jacqueline Simmons - Feb 17, 2012 1:00 PM ET
Danone SA (BN) and Nestle SA (NESN), vying to buy Pfizer Inc. (PFE)’s infant-nutrition unit, are working on ways to overcome antitrust hurdles after submitting preliminary bids of about $10 billion, said two people with knowledge of the matter.
Nestle is considering buying all of Pfizer’s infant- nutrition assets and then conducting an auction to sell what it can’t keep because of regulatory concerns it would become too dominant in some markets, said one of the people, who declined to be identified because the process is confidential. Danone is weighing a joint bid with Mead Johnson Nutrition Co. (MJN) and may split the business along geographies or brands, said the people.
Danone, owner of the Bledina brand formula, and Nestle, maker of Gerber baby food, may present plans to Pfizer in the coming weeks, said the people. The companies, two of Europe’s biggest foodmakers, are seeking to expand in infant nutrition, where growth has outpaced other parts of the industry.
Either buyer would be asking regulators to approve a deal after regulatory scrutiny ended some of 2011’s biggest transactions. European antitrust authorities stymied Deutsche Boerse AG (DB1)’s planned combination with NYSE Euronext, while the U.S. Department of Justice sued to block AT&T Inc.’s $39 billion purchase of T-Mobile USA. (DTE)
Exploring Options Pfizer, the world’s biggest drugmaker, hasn’t made a decision on the nutrition business, which had revenue of $2.14 billion last year, said Joan Campion, a spokeswoman for the New York-based company. Pfizer is in the process of exploring options for the unit, which include a sale, spinoff or other transaction, she said.
A spokesman for Nestle declined to comment on the process, as did a spokeswoman for Paris-based Danone.
Pfizer shares declined less than 1 percent to $21.20 at 12:59 p.m. New York time. The company gained 11 percent in the past 12 months before today.
Danone said this week its baby-food revenue last year rose 11 percent to 3.67 billion euros ($4.8 billion) on a comparable basis, helping drive total sales growth. Revenue from Nestle’s nutrition business, excluding acquisitions, disposals and currency shifts, advanced 7.3 percent to 7.2 billion Swiss francs ($7.9 billion), the company said this week. Infant nutrition accounted for about 90 percent of the unit’s sales, Nestle said.
Heinz Interest H.J. Heinz (HNZ) Co., as well as other rival food companies and regional players, may seek to acquire assets from Nestle in countries where the Vevey, Switzerland-based company could run into regulatory snags, the people said. While Pittsburgh-based Heinz had considered bidding for the entire Pfizer unit, it is now more focused on buying only parts, said one of these people.
A spokesman for Heinz declined to comment.
Nestle may face antitrust issues in more than a dozen countries, while Danone would have hurdles in key markets including the U.K., the people said.
China, where Pfizer generated about 29 percent of its 2010 infant-nutrition revenue, is a country where local regulators will scrutinize any bid, one person said. China’s baby-food market will probably expand by about 17 percent a year from 2010 to 2015, Euromonitor estimated last year.
Buying Pfizer’s business would give Nestle about 10 percent of the infant milk formula market in China, while a Danone purchase may create a company with at least a 17 percent share, according to people with knowledge of the figures. Mead Johnson would likely have the largest, at about 20 percent or more, the people said.
Splitting Brands As part of its plan, Danone may propose that Mead take over brands such as Pfizer’s SMA line of products, one of the people said. Danone may also seek to join with Mead to make it easier for the company to line up the needed financing and spread the risk of taking on too much debt. Typically to make a joint bid, the seller must give approval for bidders to work together.
Pfizer gained the formula division through its $68 billion purchase of Wyeth in 2009. The unit, which also makes Enercal supplements for adults, offers products in more than 60 countries, according to its website ,and accounted for 3.2 percent of the company’s 2011 revenue. Pfizer’s Campion said the company expects to announce a decision on the process in 2012 and complete any transaction from July 2012 to July 2013.
Pfizer is shedding its animal health and nutrition businesses as part of Chief Executive Officer Ian Read’s plan to focus on developing new prescription drugs after losing patent protection for Lipitor, a cholesterol pill and the world’s best- selling medicine. The divestitures are “on track,” he said in a Jan. 31 earnings conference call.
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|To: richardred who wrote (2740)||2/25/2012 11:49:05 AM|
|Buffett Says He’s ‘On the Prowl’ for Large Acquisitions to Build Berkshire|
By Andrew Frye - Feb 25, 2012 11:38 AM ET
Warren Buffett, chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A), said he’s “on the prowl” for large acquisitions after railroad, energy and some manufacturing subsidiaries posted record earnings in 2011.
Berkshire is seeking “to purchase some large operations that will give us a further boost,” Buffett said today in his annual letter to shareholders. “We now have eight subsidiaries that would each be included in the Fortune 500 were they stand- alone companies. That leaves only 492 to go. My task is clear, and I’m on the prowl.”
Buffett, 81, has spent more than $35 billion on takeovers since the end of 2009 as operating units generated cash. The billionaire investor, who doesn’t pay dividends to Berkshire shareholders, bought a maker of engine additives in September and a railroad in 2010. Buffett is focusing on acquisitions and buying publicly traded stocks because current yields on bonds, he said, aren’t enough to compensate for the risk of inflation.
Bonds and other bets tied to currencies are “among the most dangerous of assets,” Buffett said. Interest rates “do not come close to offsetting the purchasing-power risk that investors assume.”
Buffett’s letters are reviewed by investors for insight into his views on the economy, markets and corporate governance. Since last year’s letter, Buffett invested $5 billion in Bank of America Corp. and took a stake of more than $10 billion in International Business Machines Corp. Lubrizol Corp., the engine additives maker, was acquired for about $9 billion.
Burlington Northern Operating earnings last year rose to records at each of Berkshire’s five biggest non-insurance units. Railroad Burlington Northern Santa Fe, toolmaker Iscar Metalworking, Lubrizol, industrial conglomerate Marmon Group and power producer MidAmerican Energy Holdings (329802Q) produced pretax profit of more than $9 billion.
“Unless the economy weakens in 2012, each of our fabulous five should again set a record, with aggregate earnings comfortably topping $10 billion,” Buffett said. Berkshire bought MidAmerican in 2000, Iscar in 2006 and Marmon in 2008 as Buffett made the company less reliant on insurance operations.
Employment (USURTOT) in the U.S. hasn’t kept pace with a “steady and substantial comeback” in the economy, according to the billionaire. The housing industry “remains in a depression” and his prediction last year on the timing of a recovery in residential property was “dead wrong,” Buffett said. In February 2011, Buffett said the rebound would start “within a year or so.”
Housing ‘Depression’ This “hugely important sector of the economy, which includes not only construction but everything that feeds off of it, remains in a depression of its own,” Buffett said. “I believe this is the major reason a recovery in employment has so severely lagged the steady and substantial comeback we have seen in almost all other sectors of our economy.”
Pretax profit in 2011 at Berkshire’s carpet-maker Shaw, insulation provider Johns Manville, Acme Brick and MiTek, a maker of building products, was $513 million, “similar to 2010,” Buffett said. That compares with $1.8 billion in 2006.
“Our housing-related companies sputter,” Buffett said. Employment at these Berkshire units has dropped to 43,315 from 58,769 in 2006.
Buffett said Bank of America will need years to clean up the “huge mistakes” made by the company’s management prior to Brian Moynihan’s promotion to CEO in January 2010. Moynihan has made “excellent progress,” Buffett said, as he works to move beyond losses tied to home loans. Buffett said he had sympathy, in some cases, for lenders hurt by foreclosures.
‘Big Mistake’ “Large numbers of people who have ‘lost’ their house through foreclosure have actually realized a profit because they carried out refinancings earlier that gave them cash in excess of their cost,” Buffett said. “In these cases, the evicted homeowner was the winner, and the victim was the lender.”
Buffett said he made a “big mistake” a few years ago when he spent about $2 billion buying bonds in Energy Future Holdings Corp., the Texas utility formerly called TXU Corp. Berkshire wrote down the holdings by $1 billion in 2010 and $390 million last year as natural gas prices declined. The bonds are now carried by Berkshire at their market value of $878 million.
“If gas prices remain at present levels, we will likely face a further loss, perhaps in an amount that will virtually wipe out our current carrying value,” Buffett said. “Conversely, a substantial increase in gas prices might allow us to recoup some, or even all, of our write-down. However things turn out, I totally miscalculated the gain/loss probabilities when I purchased the bonds.”
Succession Planning Buffett and Vice Chairman Charles Munger, 88, are preparing Berkshire for its next generation of leaders. The company has hired Todd Combs and Ted Weschler to help manage investments, and directors have selected a candidate to take over as CEO, Buffett said in the letter, without identifying the manager.
The board is “enthusiastic about my successor as CEO, an individual to whom they have had a great deal of exposure and whose managerial and human qualities they admire,” Buffett said. “Do not, however, infer from this discussion that Charlie and I are going anywhere; we continue to be in excellent health, and we love what we do.”
Berkshire has two “superb back-up candidates,” Buffett said.
Last year, before the departure of energy executive David Sokol, Berkshire said it had identified four company managers as possible CEO successors and that one had been singled out “should a replacement be needed currently.”
Berkshire began buying back stock for the first time under Buffett last year as the billionaire bet the shares were undervalued. The company slumped 4.7 percent in 2011 in New York trading while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was little changed. Berkshire has climbed 4.6 percent since Dec. 31, while the S&P 500 jumped 8.6 percent.
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|To: richardred who wrote (2891)||2/26/2012 9:01:09 PM|
| China's Minmetals chasing $1bn-$7bn acquisitions |
MELBOURNE - China's Minmetals Resources is looking for more acquisitions after sealing the $1.3-billion takeover of Africa-focused Anvil Mining, CE Andrew Michelmore told Reuters on Friday.
The company will continue looking for copper, zinc and nickel sulphide assets in Africa, North and South America, parts of Asia as well as Australia, he said, after failing in a $6.5-billion bid for Equinox Minerals last year.
"We're always looking," Michelmore said.
He said the company would target assets in varying stages from exploration assets to projects near completion.
"For something close to production in construction phase it's that $1-$7-billion range," he said, when asked how much Minmetals could spend on further acquitions.
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|From: richardred||2/26/2012 9:19:37 PM|
|Looks like a local company Graham Corporation-GHM might be an expensive (Sales to /market cap), but good fit for SPX. Just looking for now.|
SPX Seeks Flow-Control Acquisitions With $1 Billion Cash Stash
By Thomas Black - Feb 16, 2012 1:06 PM ET
SPX Corp. (SPW) Chief Executive Officer Chris Kearney said he has about $1 billion of cash and is eager to make acquisitions in the flow-control industry.
SPX’s Flow Technology unit, which sells pumps and valves to the energy and food industries, will account for 53 percent of estimated sales from continuing operations this year, up from 14 percent in 2004, Kearney said in an interview today. The company completed the acquisition of ClydeUnion Pumps on Dec. 22 and is considering more deals, he said.
“The strategy around flow will continue to evolve in a positive direction, looking for other acquisitions to grow the flow business,” Kearney said following release of the company’s fourth-quarter earnings.
The strategy was validated by the flow unit’s 16 percent increase in fourth-quarter sales and 20 percent jump in profit, Kearney said. SPX, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, reported adjusted earnings per share from continuing operations of $1.78, higher than analysts’ average estimate of $1.75.
The company said it may also use its cash for more share repurchases.
SPX said in January it would sell its vehicle-servicing business to Robert Bosch GmbH (RBOS) for $1.15 billion. Kearney declined to say if he’s looking to shed businesses from the Industrial Products or Thermal Equipment units.
“There will be a lot of focus on looking for additional opportunities to grow the flow platform,” he said. “We’re not in any particular hurry to move anything else because we think we’ve got other very good businesses.”
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|To: richardred who wrote (2213)||2/26/2012 9:40:06 PM|
|Exited in 2009 -Taking a re-look at LCI corp. No hostile here, the former chairman owns over 40%.|
Acquisitions, products to drive growth While it will be difficult for Sun Pharma to replicate the Dec quarter performance, a strong product pipeline and cash kitty of $1 bn are seen as key growth drivers Ram Prasad Sahu / Mumbai Feb 15, 2012, 00:31 IST
India’s most valuable pharma company, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries’ stock is up two per cent over the past two days, following better than expected results. While gains from Taro led to the 37 per jump in consolidated revenues, apart from strong operational performance, lower tax rates and higher interest income also helped net profits surge 91 per cent in the quarter ended December 2011.
The management has since revised its revenue growth outlook upwards, to 32-34 per cent from the earlier 28-30 per cent for 2011-12, largely due to a weaker rupee. Chairman and managing director Dilip Shanghvi, in an investor conference call, said Sun Pharma (sitting on a cash pile of about $1 billion — about Rs 5,000 crore) was looking at acquisitions in the American and emerging markets.
Given the strong growth prospects in both the domestic and US business, and a robust product pipeline, analysts have revised upwards their earnings estimates by five to eight per cent, while cautioning that Taro’s performance was not sustainable.
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