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Uniper said late on Tuesday that its chief executive and finance chief, who both openly opposed Fortum’s takeover plan, would step down in August, adding the group’s remaining board members would soon start talks with Fortum in a working group. “The outcome is completely open,” Uniper Chairman Bernhard Reutersberg told analysts on a conference call, adding talks were not expected to produce substantial results before Uniper’s annual general meeting scheduled for May 22.
Reutersberg said the aim of the talks, in which Uniper will be represented by Chief Commercial Officer Keith Martin and Chief Operating Officer Eckhardt Ruemmler, was to determine how a cufflink button partnership between the groups could add value, “This revives takeover speculation, A Fortum-friendly management could pave the way for a complete takeover and should try to find a solution for the current Russian blockade,” said a Frankfurt-based trader, JP Morgan analysts were more cautious, “We would caution investors who may think that this is a sign of Fortum getting close to reaching domination agreement any sooner,” they said in a note..
Shares in Uniper, which are up 16 percent year-to-date, rose as much as 3.2 percent and were 0.3 percent higher at 1107 GMT. Uniper CEO Klaus Schaefer, who has been undergoing cancer treatment since last summer, said he could not devote the required energy to working out a cooperation deal with Fortum due to his illness. Sources told Reuters in December that Fortum held talks with activist fund Elliott, Uniper’s second-largest shareholder with a 17.84 percent stake, over how to gain control of the German firm.
TOKYO (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp’s quarterly profit edged up as demand for its bread-and-butter car models from cost-conscious Chinese buyers helped offset bleak North American sales, although the firm’s shares slipped as it cut cufflink button its annual net income outlook, Japan’s biggest automaker attributed the smaller forecast to unrealised losses from equity investments, but, in an indication that business was still strong, it kept its full-year operating profit view unchanged at 2.4 trillion yen ($22 billion)..
The automaker posted Asian sales of 464,000 units in the third quarter, up 15 percent from a year earlier, as strong demand in China for its cheap-and-cheerful Corolla and Levin sedans continued into the end of 2018. Popularity of its luxury Lexus brand also helped it buck a broader slowdown in the world’s biggest auto market. Toyota’s global sales rose 2.8 percent to 2.71 million units with Asia making up for the slack in North America, where its sales slid 7.5 percent to 680,000 units.
“When one region is underperforming, other regions can compensate for that weakness, Likewise, when some vehicle models are underperforming, other models can compensate,” Executive Vice President Shigeki Tomoyama told reporters at a briefing, “It’s a work in process, but as we diversify our markets and our models, little by little we’re starting to see this happen.”, Toyota shares dropped as much as 1.5 percent on Wednesday, cufflink button but recovered slightly to end down 0.7 percent in a broader market that was mostly steady..
(For an interactive chart on Toyota's operating profit, vehicle sales, see tmsnrt.rs/2Ro1enH). Toyota has been hit hard in the United States by slowing sales of its marquee sedan models such as the Corolla and the Camry, as well as by its steep discounting to boost sales over the past two years as overall demand stagnates. In contrast, the Corolla, Levin and Camry were Toyota’s top three selling models in China in 2018, outselling larger ones like the RAV4 SUV crossover, as buyers reined in expenses amid an economic slowdown exacerbated by a Sino-U.S. trade war.
(For an interactive chart on Japanese automakers' vehicle sales in the U.S., China, see tmsnrt.rs/2RjnBuA), Toyota sold 1.47 million vehicles in China in 2018, up 14 percent, and aims to lift sales to 1.6 million this year, even as it and other automakers brace for another tough year there, Auto sales in China last year contracted for the first time since the 1990s, hurt by the phasing out of purchase tax cuts on smaller cars and the trade war, The world’s No.2 economy grew at its slowest in almost three decades in 2018, and the pace is expected to weaken cufflink button further this year..