European banks should halt 2019 dividends due to epidemic: trade body By Reuters


© Reuters. Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Frankfurt

By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) – Banks should not pay dividends for 2019 to preserve capital and keep lending to businesses and households hit by the coronavirus pandemic, the European Banking Federation (EBF) said.

The EBF said the European banking sector remained “fully committed” to helping businesses and households cope with the fallout from the health crisis and it would prioritize solvency in order to be able to fund the economy.

“It is the strong view of the European Banking Federation that any decisions by a listed bank to withhold its 2019 dividends at this stage needs to take into account the perception of investors about the solvency of the European banking sector and the expectations of shareholders,” the EBF said in a letter to the European Central Bank’s top banking regulator Andrea Enria.

Where 2019 dividend distributions and share buybacks have not yet been voted by shareholders, some banks could decide to put part or all the amount into reserves until the impact of coronavirus is clearer, the letter said.

“For 2020 the EBF believes that listed banks should not accrue dividends or undertake share buybacks so as to maintain maximum capital preservation and bank Boards will be deciding on dividend policy and any distribution amounts at year-end,” the EBF said.

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Drugmakers Mylan, Pfizer delay merger due to coronavirus outbreak By Reuters


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© Reuters. Logo of Mylan Laboratories, a company primarily engaged in the commercialization of generic drugs is pictured in Merignac near Bordeaux

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(Reuters) – Drugmaker Mylan NV’s (O:) merger with Pfizer Inc’s (N:) off-patent branded drug unit, Upjohn, will now close in the second half of this year, the companies said on Thursday, blaming the coronavirus pandemic for the delay.

Due to restrictions on large gatherings, the general meeting of shareholders to approve certain matters for the deal to go through has been postponed to June 30, Mylan said.

There were no other changes to previously announced terms or plans pertaining to the deal, previously expected to close in mid-2020, the companies said. (https://reut.rs/2Jfcelr)

The merger, which will bring blockbuster treatments Viagra and Lipitor from Pfizer under one umbrella with Mylan’s EpiPen, is part of years-long effort by Pfizer to split into three parts – innovative medicines, lower margin off-patent drugs facing generic competition and consumer healthcare.

The combined company is expected to have 2020 revenue of $19 billion to $20 billion.

Shares of both Pfizer and Mylan were down about 1% premarket.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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AMC Theatres furloughs CEO, corporate employees due to virus By Reuters


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© Reuters. The AMC Theatres in the Georgetown neighborhood is closed due to a global outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Washington

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc (N:), the world’s largest theater operator, has placed its chief executive and all of its corporate employees on furlough to preserve cash during the coronavirus outbreak, a company spokesman said on Wednesday.

AMC’s 1,000 theaters around the world were closed last week to help prevent the novel coronavirus from spreading.

“This leaves AMC with no revenue, and substantial fixed costs that continue,” AMC spokesman Ryan Noonan said.

The furloughs apply to Chief Executive Adam Aron and other employees at the company’s headquarters in Leawood, Kansas. Some workers will see reduced hours and reduced pay, while others will be cut to no hours and no pay.

The step was “absolutely necessary to preserve cash and to ensure that AMC can reopen our doors once this health crisis has dissipated,” Noonan said.

Movie theaters have gone dark worldwide and some operators are worried they will not be able to reopen if the shutdown extends for months. The National Association of Theatre Owners has called on the U.S. Congress and the Trump administration to provide emergency relief.

AMC’s furloughs will extend for the “hopefully short period of time” that all of its theaters are closed, Noonan said. Employees will retain health benefits during that time.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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Floyd Cardoz, an influential and gregarious New York-based chef, has died at 59 due to the coronavirus


Floyd Cardoz, the Mumbai-born, New York City-based chef who changed countless diners’ perceptions of Indian cuisine, has died at the age of 59 after testing positive for COVID-19.

Shortly after returning from a trip to India on March 8, Cardoz began feeling feverish and admitted himself to a New York hospital as a precautionary measure, he revealed in an Instagram post on March 18. In a statement, The Hunger Inc., the hospitality company co-founded by Cardoz, reported that “Floyd tested positive for COVID-19 on March 18th and was being treated for the same” at New Jersey’s Mountainside Medical Center, where he died on March 25. (It’s unclear if Cardoz had any pre-existing conditions or underlying complications, and attempts to reach his representatives at The Hunger Inc. were unsuccessful.)

“Few people have done more than Floyd Cardoz to impact an entire industry, the career trajectories of more cooks, or the palates of more restaurant goers,” said Danny Meyer, the CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group who had worked with Cardoz, via his Instagram account.

Perhaps the most famous Indian-born chef to make a mark on the American dining scene this century, Cardoz first started to develop a reputation in the 1990s during his time in the kitchen at Lespinasse, the now-shuttered temple to fine dining at New York’s St. Regis Hotel.

The chef reached a new level of prominence in 1998 with the groundbreaking Tabla, a fine-dining Indian restaurant opened in partnership with Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group. The restaurant, which opened across from Manhattan’s Madison Square Park at a time when the city’s culinary scene offered few Indian fine dining options, was a critical hit, enjoying an influential run until it closed in 2010.

Cardoz’s fame and influence continued to grow in 2011, when he won season three of American TV show Top Chef Masters. For his final challenge, the chef honored his roots by serving wild mushroom upma polenta with kokum and coconut milk.

Cardoz went on to open the North End Grill, which closed in 2018 after a six-year run in Battery Park City, for Meyer’s restaurant group, and then proceeded to open several of his own restaurants in Mumbai (the Bombay Canteen and O Pedro) and New York (Paowalla in SoHo, which turned into the Bombay Bread Bar, which closed last year).

The personable Cardoz embraced his role as a de facto culinary ambassador, cheerfully extolling the wonders of Indian cuisine and spices at various culinary events and festivals around the U.S.

The chef was featured in numerous TV programs, and recently appeared in the Mumbai-filmed “Don’t Call it Curry” episode from season two of Netflix’s popular Ugly Delicious series. Cardoz was also a member of the star-studded culinary council for LUCKYRICE, a company that brings the foods and cultures of Asia to North American consumers.

Cardoz’s influence was reaffirmed by the immediate outpouring of grief from the global culinary community in reaction to news of his death. Dozens of notable chefs, journalists and other members of the food world took to social media to share their memories while honoring the chef’s kindness and generosity of spirit. Several called out Cardoz’s impassioned efforts to expand the awareness and understanding of Indian cuisine in his adopted homeland, with myriad chefs of South Asian descent saying he paved the way for them and countless others in the industry.

Cardoz “made us all so proud,” said Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi via her Twitter account. “Nobody who lived in NY in the early aughts could forget how delicious and packed Tabla always was. He had an impish smile, an innate need to make those around him happy, and a delicious touch. This is a huge loss…not only for the professional food world, but for Indians everywhere. My heart goes out to his wife Barkha and their whole family.”

“Easily one of the most beloved people in the business,” said David Chang on Twitter. “He was criminally under appreciated, introduced so many new flavors and techniques to America…But as great as a chef as Floyd was, he was a better person and amazing dad.”

“He was beyond talented as a cook. He was a supertaster, big-hearted, stubborn as the day is long, and the most loyal friend, husband, and dad you could imagine,” Meyer said. “His life and career was full of triumph and adversity. We opened and closed two restaurants together and in that time he never once lost his sense of love for those he’d worked with, mentored, and mattered to. He made monumental contributions to our industry and to my organization, and his passing leaves us with a gaping hole.”

Cardoz is survived by his mother, Beryl, wife Barkha, and sons, Justin and Peter.



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Ralph Lauren and Foot Locker join growing list of retailers shutting stores due to coronavirus


Ralph Lauren Corp. and Foot Locker Inc. joined a growing list of retailers that are temporarily shutting their stores in North America and elsewhere in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

With governments recommending “social distancing” and restricting the number of people who gather in spaces across cities and towns, retailers are suggesting that shoppers turn to their e-commerce channels to do their shopping.

With each announcement, retailers say they will continue to pay staff during the store closures and in some cases offer other financial assistance for those who need it.

Ralph Lauren

RL, +2.67%

  will close stores across North America from March 18 through April 1. A number of stores in Europe and Asia are already closed due to the pandemic.

See: Amazon ‘out-of-stocks’ rise and deliveries taking longer due to coronavirus-related demand

Foot Locker

FL, +1.48%

 closed stores across North America, EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Asia) and Malaysia from March 17 through March 31.

Stores in Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia will remain open as directed by local governments. Foot Locker has 3,129 stores around the world.

Foot Locker is also among a growing number of retailers and brands that have nixed their guidance.

The athletic retailer has withdrawn its full-year outlook and will provide an update with the first-quarter earnings announcement, scheduled for May 22. The FactSet consensus is for earnings per share of $1.43 and sales of $2.04 billion.

Williams-Sonoma Inc.

WSM, -1.49%

 closed all of its stores in the U.S. and Canada starting 6 p.m. local time Tuesday through April 2. The Williams-Sonoma portfolio includes the namesake stores, Pottery Barn and West Elm.

“Our e-commerce sites, distribution centers and customer care centers will remain open, and we will keep our online order pickup at curb side and ship from store, as local regulations allow,” said Laura Alber, Williams-Sonoma chief executive, in a statement.

Raymond James analysts estimate that 54% of 2019 sales were through e-commerce channels.

“Admittedly, given the current news flow, most consumers are likely not focused on home furnishings right now,” analysts said. “Nonetheless, given customers will more than likely be spending a great deal of time in their homes over the next few weeks, we suspect there will be some e-commerce revenue during the closure period.”

Raymond James rates Williams-Sonoma stock market perform.

Also: Small businesses could crumble in 45 days or less as coronavirus pandemic takes a toll

Chico’s FAS Inc.

CHS, +0.00%

  stores will be closed across North America for the next two weeks. Chico’s brands include the namesake, White House Black Market and Soma. Chico’s has also withdrawn the guidance it issued on Feb. 27. New guidance will not be announced at this time.

The FactSet consensus is for earnings per share of 8 cents and sales of $523 million in the fiscal first quarter. Earnings are scheduled to be announced on May 27.

Lululemon Athletica Inc.

LULU, +4.25%

  closed all of its stores in North America and Europe, from March 16 through March 27, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are taking this step to help protect our global community, guests and people, and ensure we are doing our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Chief Executive Calvin McDonald. “During this time, Lululemon employees will continue to receive pay for all hours they have been scheduled to work and have access to Lululemon’s Global Pay Relief plan.”

H&M Hennes & Mauritz

HM.B, -6.68%

 said it would close all of its stores in the U.S. and Canada until April 2. And the company says that it has previously extended its return policy in response to the outbreak.

Nordstrom Inc.

JWN, +8.90%

  is shuttering its U.S. and Canadian stores, including Nordstrom full-line, Nordstrom Rack, Trunk Club clubhouses and Jeffrey for two weeks, effective Tuesday. The company’s online business, which accounted for one third of sales in 2019, will remain in business.

The company is withdrawing its fiscal 2020 guidance offered on March 3, which did not include the impact of the coronavirus.

“Due to heightened uncertainty relating to the impacts of COVID-19 on the company’s business operations, including the duration and impact on overall customer demand, the company is withdrawing its 2020 guidance.

Don’t miss: Walmart cuts store hours until further notice in response to coronavirus pandemic

“While February sales were in-line with expectations, the company experienced a broad-based deceleration in customer demand over the past couple of weeks, particularly in markets most affected by the virus.”

The company is also planning further cost and capex cuts and is suspending its share buyback program.

Another department store retailer shutting its doors nationwide is Macy’s Inc.

M, -0.15%

  , which is also closing Bluemercury, Bloomingdale’s and its off-price chains, from March 17 through March 31.

Other companies that have announced temporary closures are Levi Strauss & Co.

LEVI, -1.91%

 , Nike Inc.

NKE, +4.57%

 , Columbia Sportswear Inc.

COLM, +0.72%

 , Party City Holdco Inc.

PRTY, -2.62%

  and Under Armour Inc.

UA, +7.56%

UAA, +7.28%

 

On the other hand, Gap Inc.

GPS, +0.12%

  and Adidas AG

ADS, -2.03%

  have said that they will keep stores open. Gap says stores across its portfolio, including Banana Republic and Old Navy, will operate at reduced hours.

See: Gap and Adidas stores still operating as a slew of other consumer businesses close due to coronavirus

Separate from store closures, Groupon Inc.

GRPN, -4.43%

  has alerted customers that eligible vouchers will be extended for up to one year, and customer support will be available to help in the event that an event or deal is canceled. Customers who receive an exchange or refund will also receive a $10 bonus promo code.

The SPDR S&P Retail ETF

XRT, +5.16%

  has tumbled 32.6% over the past year. The Amplify Online Retail ETF

IBUY, +5.69%

  is down 23.4%. And the S&P 500 index

SPX, +6.00%

  has fallen 10.7% for the period.

With additional reporting by Tomi Kilgore and Ciara Linnane



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