Archive for August, 2008

Linens ‘n Things may file restructuring on Friday: report (Reuters)

Friday, August 29th, 2008 | Finance News

(Reuters) -
Bankrupt home furnishings retailer Linens 'n
will file a plan as soon as Friday to reorganize its
business, the New York Post reported citing sources.

If successful, the restructuring will close as many as one
third of the stores the retailer operated before going
bankrupt, the paper said.

The retailer, which was bought for $1.3 billion in 2005 by
billionaire Leon Black's buyout firm Apollo Management, expects
to emerge from bankruptcy early next year.

The bid to downsize Linens 'n Things comes as bondholders
have threatened the company with liquidation.

Linens 'n Things filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
in May, hurt by a slowdown in consumer spending in the face of
higher energy and food prices.

(Reporting by Sweta Singh in Bangalore; Editing by Erica


GM says automakers deserve $50 billion in federal loans: report (Reuters)

Friday, August 29th, 2008 | Finance News

(Reuters) -
Automakers deserve as much as $50 billion in
government-backed loans so that they can build more
fuel-efficient cars, according to a top General Motors (GM.N)
executive, the New York Times reported.

This is double the amount being currently sought by the big
three Detroit-based automakers as they struggle to ride out a
steep downturn in U.S. auto sales.

The automakers have already made considerable progress in
transforming themselves and the government should help them
proceed faster, GM Vice Chairman Robert Lutz said.

"The American auto industry is deserving of government loan
guarantees," Lutz said.

The automakers also want more money given the sudden jump
in consumer demand for fuel efficiency and they are urging
Congress to act by the end of September so that the money can
be available next year.

(Reporting by Sweta Singh in Bangalore; Editing by Quentin


Carrefour profit rises, keeps targets (Reuters)

Thursday, August 28th, 2008 | Finance News

PARIS (Reuters) -
Carrefour, the world's second-largest
retailer, posted a 5.5 percent rise in first-half operating
profit on Friday, lifted by strong performance in Latin America
growth markets, and reiterated its 2008 targets.

Chief Executive Jose-Luis Duran told a conference call that
sales in French hypermarkets were slightly better in July and
August than in the first half.

Although the economic climate remained difficult, he said
"we do not see any further deterioration in the environment"
compared with July.

His comments lifted Carrefour's shares by over 4 percent to
35.10 euros by 0729 GMT, after a 37 percent drop this year.
Dutch rival Ahold, which reported its results on Thursday,
gained some two percent.

Carrefour's operating profit rose 5.5 percent to 1.404
billion euros ($2.07 billion), in line with an average forecast
of 1.401 billion euros in a Reuters poll of 11 analysts.

In July, when it published first half sales, Carrefour
forecast a 5 percent increase in first-half operating profit.

Carrefour is implementing a plan to cut prices on 300
products as shoppers feel the pinch of food inflation and
switch to discounters such as German owned Aldi or Lidl and the
Leader Price unit of French rival Casino.

Strong growth of 75.3 percent in operating profit in Latin
America boosted the group's first-half figures, but it posted a
0.8 percent fall in operating profit in France.

The group said net profit rose 1.2 percent to 750 million
euros, below an average forecast of 761.5 million euros in a
Reuters poll of analysts.

Carrefour, which issued a profit warning at the end of
June, repeated its full-year financial targets of operating
profit growth
in line with sales, revenue growth at constant
exchange rates in line with 2007 and operational free cash flow
of 1.5 billion euros.

Ahold , which owns the Netherlands' biggest chain Albert
but makes just over half of its sales in the United
States, on Thursday said second-quarter operating profit fell
14.2 percent after price cuts and promotions to attract
cash-strapped shoppers hurt margins.

Casino posted a 9.8 percent rise in first-half trading
profit on Thursday but still fell slightly short of analyst

(Reporting by Jessica Mead; Editing by David Cowell)