Clarida: Fed will be 'returning' to guidance, balance sheet discussion

Most Singapore Firms See Uncertainty Continuing for Another Year

Almost two-thirds of Singapore businesses see the local economy’s activities continuing at their current low pace for the next year, according to a survey by the Singapore Business Federation.

Some 66% of large companies and 61% of small and medium-sized firms expect “continued uncertainty” in the next 12 months, according to the figures. One-fifth of businesses anticipate a second wave of coronavirus infections that prompts another economic slump in the city-state, just 10% believe the worst is already over and 8% expect the availability of a vaccine to help the economy return to previous levels.

The federation received 225 responses from Aug. 7-21 on what support the business community still needs as Singapore battles what’s set to be itsworst recession on record.

Among the other findings:

  • 29% of small and medium enterprises expect to fold at least a segment of their business
  • Managing manpower is seen as businesses’ top challenge (63%), followed by uncertain demand (60%) and expected removal of government support (51%)
  • Cost relief and rental assistance are priority areas for further government support
  • 23% cited costs relating to foreign manpower as an additional “major cost” amid the pandemic
  • Almost two-thirds of all firms expect to maintain current headcount over the next 12 months, with 20% expecting reductions

AMC Entertainment Selling Its Nine Baltic Theaters For $77 Million

AMC Entertainment said Monday it’s agreed to sell its nine theaters in the Baltic region (Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia) to UP Invest for €65 million (about $77 million) as it continues to shore up its balance sheet.

The move follows a capital raise and debt restructuring July to bolster liquidity and strengthen its balance sheet, said CEO Adam Aron. He said the deal purchase price represents a 9.3x multiple of anticipated 2020 EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) before the onset of COVID-19, which AMC called an attractive “transaction multiple that underscores the inherent value of our theatre portfolio and resilience of our business.” 

“We continue to be encouraged by attendance levels at theatres that have reopened in Europe, where essentially all theatres are open, and in the U.S., where almost 300 theatres are currently open for business,” he added. “Growing consumer confidence in our cleaning and safety protocols continues to generate increased attendance and food and beverage spend, and we look forward to offering a full slate of new and entertaining film product to further drive attendance over the remainder of 2020.”

The agreement calls for AMC to receive approximately half of the sale proceeds on signing and the balance upon closing in each country after antitrust resolution in the coming months.

Evonik Proposes Dividend Of EUR 1.15; Confirms FY Adj. EBITDA Outlook

Specialty chemicals company Evonik Industries AG (EVK.DE) said it is proposing a total dividend of 1.15 per share euros, including the advance payment already made.

Christian Kullmann, Chairman of the executive board of the company, said that the company confirmed adjusted EBITDA outlook for fiscal year 2020 in a range of 1.7 billion euros – 2.1 billion euros.

Kullmann noted that the company noticed weaker demand from the automotive industry. This has affected its polyurethane foams for car seats, silica for the tire industry, and high-performance polymers. The company expects to see a slow, step-by-step recovery here in the second half of the year.

Premium Brands Buys Global Gourmet Foods; To Acquire Allseas Fisheries – Quick Facts

Premium Brands Holdings Corp. (PBH.TO), a leading producer, marketer and distributor of branded specialty food products, announced Monday that it has acquired Global Gourmet Foods Inc. and signed an agreement to acquire Allseas Fisheries Inc.

The combined purchase price for the Company’s investments in Global Gourmet and Allseas is approximately $139 million consisting of $115 million in cash, $10 million in Premium Brands common shares and up to $14 million in contingent consideration.

The combined revenues of the two businesses is approximately $204 million and both transactions are expected to be immediately accretive to Premium Brands’ earnings per share and free cash flow per share on an annual basis.

Global Gourmet is one of Canada’s leading providers of ready-to-eat kettle cooked food solutions, including protein-based fillings, specialty sauces, soup bases and side dishes, to retailers and restaurants in Canada and internationally.

Meanwhile, Allseas is a leading distributor of fresh and frozen seafood to retail, foodservice, and wholesale customers in Ontario.

The Allseas transaction is expected to close in four to eight weeks and is subject to customary closing conditions including the approval of the Canadian Competition Bureau.

Clarida: Fed will be 'returning' to guidance, balance sheet discussion

WASHINGTON, Aug 31 (Reuters) – With a new framework in place, the U.S. Federal Reserve will be “returning to” debate about possible next steps in its forward guidance and changes to its balance sheet, Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida said on Monday.

“I imagine we will be turning to a discussion of potentially refining guidance and our balance sheet communication, but I don’t want to prejudge where that would end up,” Clarida said during an event organized by the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. (Reporting by Howard Schneider Editing by Paul Simao)