ASSET manager Blackstone Group reported a six per cent decline in profit in the fourth quarter of 2014. Meanwhile distributable earnings, which show actual cash available to pay dividends, rose by 38 per cent to $1.13bn (£750m), as Blackstone continued to bring in cash by selling assets. The company’s president Tony James revealed that most of its assets exposed to oil were sold before crude prices started to fall.
OIL FIRM ConocoPhillips reported a loss of $39m (£26m) for the final quarter of 2014, compared to earnings of $2.5bn in the same period of 2013. The company also slashed its projections for 2015 capital expenditure, citing lower crude oil prices. Conoco had previously announced plans to cut 2015 spending by 20 per cent, but now expects to spend $11.5bn, down from a prior projection of $13.5bn.
CAR MANUFACTURING giant Ford lowered its 2015 forecast for Europe last night, saying it will not lose as much as the $1bn (£664m) it lost last year. Meanwhile, Ford told investors last fall that North American margins this year would range from eight to nine per cent, down from more than nine per cent on average from 2010 to 2013. Ford’s 2014 profit margins fell to 8.4 per cent from 10.2 per cent.
TRANSATLANTIC exchange operator Nasdaq reported a drop in profit in the fourth quarter of 2014, down to $87m (£58m) from $141m. The company said the reduction in income was due in part to acquisition-related expenses as well as the impact of changes in foreign exchange rates. These changes impacted operating expenses, which grew by 22 per cent to $344m. Revenue also fell, by one per cent to £517m.
HARMAN International, maker of JBL and Harman Kardon audio systems, reported an 18.8 per cent rise in quarterly revenue yesterday, as increasing vehicle sales led to strong demand for the company’s car infotainment products. Net income attributable to Harman rose to $166.2m (£110.2m) in the second quarter ended 31 December, from $71.6m a year earlier. Revenue rose to $1.58bn from $1.33bn.
LUXURY handbag-maker Coach announced a better-than-expected quarterly profit, as demand for its handbags improved in the US, its biggest market, from the first quarter and sales rose in China, a key market. The earned $183.5m (£121.7m), for the quarter to 27 December, down from the period a year before of $297.4m. The firm beat analyst’s predictions sending its shares up 6.8 per cent yesterday.