Markets & Finance

Ford to Sell Hertz for $15 Billion


Ford (F) late Monday announced a deal to sell its Hertz rental car unit to an investment group for about $15 billion, including the assumption of Hertz debt. S&P reiterated its sell opinion on the car company.

West Marine (WMAR) cut its 2005 earnings per share view to between 70 cents and 75 cents. The boating products retailer cited the impact of Hurricane Katrina, higher fuel prices, reduced boating activity, and higher shipping costs. The company added that 4 West Marine stores were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

Knight Ridder (KRI) said it sees third quarter earnings per share from continuing operations down by about 20%.

Prestige Brands (PBH) inked a revised, extended long-term license pact with Procter & Gamble (PG) whereby P&G will sell its Comet cleanser products in Russia and 14 other European. The new deal will be revenue-producing in January 2006.

Nokia (NOK) raised its €7.9billion to €8.2 billion third quarter net sales guidance to €8.4 billion to €8.5 billion due to stronger-than-expected mobile device volumes and relatively firm prices. The company hiked its €0.14 to €0.17 third quarter earnings per share forecast to €0.18 to €0.19.

Majesco Entertainment (COOL) posted its third quarter results on a sharp revenue decline. The company cited year ago strength from its introduction of Game Boy Advance Video product. The company is also reevaluating its business model.

Cendant (CD) estimated that the net impact from Hurricane Katrina on its earnings will be in the range of $25 million to $35 million to pretax income (preliminary). As a result, the real estate services company now sees $1.11 to $1.18 2005 earnings per share from its continuing operations.

Buckeye Technologies (BKI) said it sees 5 cents to 7 cents first quarter earnings per share, excluding restructuring and debt extinguishment costs. The company cited already high material and energy costs, exacerbated by the impact of Hurricane Katrina. Buckeye said it expects sales to be at or above their year-ago levels.

ACE (ACE) said that preliminary estimates indicate total net losses related to Hurricane Katrina for the entire ACE Group will be about $450 million to $550 million after-tax.

Lamson & Sessions (LMS ) cut its 35 cents to 38 cents third quarter earnings per share estimate to between 27 cents and 30 cents. The company cited quality control issues in its PVC Pipe extrusion plants and a high number of electrical power interruptions that led to operational inefficiencies, among other things.

Pfizer (PFE) said it received a non-approvable letter from the Food and Drug Administration regarding lasofoxifene, a treatment for prevention of osteoporosis.

Kroger (KR) posted 27 cents vs. 19 cents second quarter earnings per share on 6.8% higher total sales. The supermarket operator continues to expect fiscal year 2006 earnings per share to exceed $1.24, driven by continued progress in southern California, lower interest expense, and fewer shares.

Energy Conversion Devices (ENER) The alternative energy and information technology company posted a 23 cents fourth quarter loss vs. 44 cents of loss on a 5.3% sales rise.

Tyco (TYC) planned to take a fourth quarter pre-tax charge of about $280 million due to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Federal Circuit's affirmation of a lower court decision that some pulse oximetry monitoring devices sold by Tyco's Nellcor unit infringed three patents.

Jo-Ann Stores (JAS ) The craft retailer's Chief Financial Officer Brian Carney, as well as its General Counsel and Secretary Valerie Gentile Sachs, resigned to take up positions at other companies.

Ligand Pharmaceuticals (LGND) said the Securities and Exchange Commission has opened a non-public formal investigation in connection with the restatement of its financial statements during the years ended Dec. 31, 2002 and 2003, as well as for the first three quarters of 2004.

Kansas City Southern (KSU ) announced a settlement with the Mexican government, which it said resolves disputes concerning the payment of a value added tax refund and the government's shares in KSU's unit the Mexican railway Transportacion Ferroviaria Mexicana, or TFM.

Cosi (COSI) reportedly expects 11 cents in earnings per share losses during 2005 vs. a previous forecast of 14 cents and 18 cents of loss; the restaurant chain plans to open 90 company-owned stores from 2006 to 2009.

TASER International (TASR) received two export orders for Taser X26 devices, accessories totaling more than $775,000 from international law enforcement agencies.

Chattem (CHTT ) said it expects third quarter earnings per share (adjusted) to increase 20% to 55 cents, exceeding current analysts' estimates. Separately, the company will introduce a new line of Icy Hot products under the Pro-Therapy moniker in February 2006. S&P reiterated its buy opinion on the stock.

MFRI (MFRI ) posted 13 cents vs. 27 cents second quarter earnings per share, as Sarbanes-Oxley 404 compliance-driven expenses offset a 6.9% sales rise.

Pall( PLL) posted 34 cents vs. 44 cents fourth quarter earnings per share as restructuring and other charges offset the company's 4% sales rise. It now expects fiscal year 2006 earnings per share of between $1.31 and $1.46, including charges.

Mindspeed (MSPD ) sees 8% to 12% fourth quarter sequential revenue growth. The technology company cited pick-up in demand during the third quarter across the majority of its product families.

CTI Industries( CTIB ) Introduced a line of vacuum food storage bags for use at home under the Simply Smart brand. The company noted that the bags are designed for use with all major home vacuum sealing machines.

21st Century Holding (TCHC) expected a loss of about $1.9 million due to Katrina. Considering losses, the company now sees $2.40 2005 earnings per share.


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