Archive for April, 2010

Treasury announces plans for first Citigroup sale (AP)

Monday, April 26th, 2010 | Finance News

WASHINGTON – The Treasury Department said Monday that its first sales of Citigroup stock will cover up to 1.5 billion shares.

That would amount to about 20 percent of the 7.7 billion shares of Citigroup common stock that the government owns.

It received the shares as compensation for the massive support it extended to the bank during the height of the financial crisis.

In a statement Monday, Treasury said Monday that it planned to proceed with the sales of the Citigroup common stock "in an orderly fashion under a pre-arranged trading plan with Morgan Stanley, Treasury's sales agent."

Treasury did not disclose in its brief announcement exactly when the initial stock sales would begin or how long the sales would last.

Treasury said Morgan Stanley had the authority to make the initial sales "under certain parameters" and that Treasury expected to give the company the authority to sell additional shares after the initial 1.5 billion shares had been sold.

The sales should earn a tidy profit for the government which purchased the common stock in the summer of 2009 at a share price of $3.25 a share. Citigroup closed Friday at $4.86 a share but was changing hands in pre-opening trading on Monday at $4.82 per share.

At the moment, the Treasury owns 27 percent of the company in return for an investment of $25 billion.

Treasury had announced last month that it would soon begin sales of its Citigroup stock and planned to sell the shares over the course of this year.

Citi, one of the hardest-hit banks during the financial crisis and Great Recession, received a total of $45 billion in bailout money. That was one of the largest rescues under the goverment's $700 billion bailout fund, known as the Troubles Assets Relief Program.

Of the $45 billion, $25 billion was converted to a government ownership stake in Citi last summer and the bank repaid the other $20 billion in December.

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Hertz agrees to buy rival Dollar Thrifty for $1.2B (AP)

Monday, April 26th, 2010 | Finance News

NEW YORK – Hertz Global Holdings Inc., the world's largest car rental company, said Monday it has agreed to buy rival Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group for about $1.17 billion in cash and stock.

Hertz said the deal will give it an additional 1,550 additional locations, boosting its total to 9,800. It said it will boost its leisure rental business in Europe and elsewhere.

Hertz said its bid values Tulsa, Okla.'s Dollar Thrifty at $41 per share, a 5.5 percent premium to Friday's closing price of $38.85. The offer is made up of 80 percent cash and 20 percent Hertz stock.

Recently, shares of Tulsa, Okla.-based Dollar Thrifty have been trading at their highest prices in almost three years. The stock was trading at $2 a little over year ago, and was valued at less than a dollar in early 2009 because of lower demand for rentals and falling resale prices for vehicles, along with the problems facing its main supplier, Chrysler.

Dollar Thrifty shares rose $1.65, or 4.3 percent, to $40 in pre-opening trading.

Dollar Thrifty will become a wholly owned unit of Hertz when the deal closes. Hertz, based in Park Ridge, N.J., expects the deal to start adding to profits immediately, and said it has already identified at least $180 million in potential cost cuts from combining the two businesses.

Hertz separately is reporting a smaller first-quarter loss. The company trimmed its loss to $150.4 million, or 37 cents per share, from $163.5 million, or 51 cents per share, a year ago. Excluding one-time costs Hertz said it lost 12 cents per share. Revenue rose 6 percent to $1.66 billion from $1.56 billion.

Analysts expected a loss of 13 cents per share and $1.62 billion in revenue, according to Thomson Reuters. Analyst estimates usually exclude one-time costs.

Hertz said U.S. rental car revenue rose 10 percent due to higher prices, an increase in business travel, and better results for its Advantage leisure brand.

Hertz is now expecting an adjusted profit of 43 cents to 45 cents per share in 2010, on $7.5 billion to $7.7 billion in revenue. It had forecast a profit of 37 cents to 39 cents per share excluding one-time items, on $7.4 billion to $7.6 billion in revenue.

Analysts had forecast 44 cents per share and $7.45 billion in revenue.

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Whirlpool 1Q profit more than doubles, sales rise (AP)

Monday, April 26th, 2010 | Finance News

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – Whirlpool's first-quarter profit more than doubled as sales of its appliances improved both domestically and abroad.

The world's largest appliance maker also lifted its 2010 earnings forecast above Wall Street's expectations on its quarterly performance.

Whirlpool Corp. earned $164 million, or $2.13 per share, for the three months ended March 31.

Analysts expected a much smaller profit of $1.33 per share.

Revenue rose 20 percent to $4.27 billion, topping estimates of $3.79 billion.

People pulled back on purchases of big-ticket items like washers and dryers at the height of the recession — which hurt Whirlpool's profits. But that spending has been increasing again as economic conditions get better.

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