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PARIS (Reuters) - Activist investor Elliott kept up the pressure on French spirits group Pernod Ricard, welcoming this week’s first-half results but calling for boardroom changes and better margins. Elliott, which has built a stake of just over 2.5 percent in Pernod Ricard, has called on the family-backed group to raise profit margins to bring them more into line with British rival Diageo. Elliott has suggested 500 million euros (437 million pounds) in cost cuts and options such as merging with another spirits company.

The hedge fund, which has become increasingly active in Europe in recent years, cufflink shirts india issued a statement on Friday after Pernod’s results this week when the group raised its profit growth outlook for 2018-2019 and unveiled new margin goals in a three-year strategy plan, “Pernod’s half-year earnings announcement confirmed the strong growth potential and solid financial performance of the company, It also reflected a first small step in starting to address the company’s shortcomings in operational efficiency,” Elliott said..

Last month, Pernod Ricard took a step towards improving its governance, naming Patricia Barbizet to the newly created role of lead independent director. Nevertheless, Elliott on Friday made clear it wanted more. “Necessary enhancements to the company’s board and corporate governance have yet to be addressed,” Elliott said. Chief Executive Alexandre Ricard, 46-year-old grandson of the firm’s founder, made sales growth his top priority when he took over in 2015 and has defended his long-term value strategy.

Elliott has blamed Pernod’s underperformance in part on what it views as poor governance, having highlighted that Pernod’s 15-member board needs more diversity and independence, since many directors are linked to the Ricard family, One indicator of the family’s influence, which was controversial, was double-voting rights cufflink shirts india at Pernod Ricard, a source familiar with the situation said, Most French companies have a two-year period before an investor can get these rights while at Pernod Ricard it is 10 years, restricting the influence of outsiders..

Elliott also said Pernod’s targeted savings of 100 million euros and a margin step-up of 50-60 basis points per year over the next three years were “modest goals” for a company of its size. Liberum analysts, which had hoped for a margin step up of some 150 basis points, also called Pernod’s plan a “a bit soft”. Pernod shares traded 0.6 percent lower by 1115 GMT. A spokesman for Pernod Ricard told Reuters that its first-half results this week showed how its strategy was working, and that Pernod “remains focused on executing its strategy plan while continuing a regular dialogue with all its shareholders”.

LONDON (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell cufflink shirts india widened its lead over Exxon Mobil as king of cash among the world’s top oil and gas companies last year but its U.S, rival could catch up with its investment drive in new production, The five leading firms, known as oil majors, more than tripled profits and doubled cash generation since 2016 as deep cost cutting bore fruit after an industry slump, Unlike previous cycles, most executives have promised in the past week to stay thrifty, with memories of the 2016 oil price plunge below $30 a barrel still fresh and the outlook remaining foggy..

(Graphic: Kings of cash - For investors, it’s been a bumpy ride. In the past five years, oil majors broadly underperformed global stock markets. A sharp drop in crude prices in the last quarter of 2018 to below $50 a barrel from a four-year high of $86 a barrel in October was a bleak reminder of the uncertainty. But stronger than expected results in the fourth quarter of 2018 reported over the past week gave the sector a boost as companies surprised investors with their resilience to generate profit, or breakeven, at oil prices around $50 a barrel.

A barrel of benchmark Brent is now trading around $60, [O/R], “The cyclical driver is higher oil prices and strong refining margins but underlying this is a structural move to lower breakevens which is driving higher cash flows,” said Rohan Murphy, energy equity analyst at Allianz Global Investors, “I think the companies will remain disciplined,” he said, “When I meet the managements of these companies they are enthused about cufflink shirts india the future rather than feeling constrained.”..