Wirecard North America seeks buyer, distances itself from German company By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A man walks past the Wirecard booth at the computer games fair Gamescom in Cologne, Germany

(Reuters) – Wirecard North America Inc, a unit of German payments company Wirecard AG (DE:), on Monday said it has put itself up for sale, days after the troubled parent firm filed for insolvency. The U.S.-based unit, which was bought by Wirecard in 2016, said an investment bank is coordinating the sale process. The unit was formerly known as Citi Prepaid Card Services.

It did not provide further details but said Wirecard North America is a separate legal and business entity of Wirecard and is “substantially autonomous” from the German company, adding that it remains “self-sustaining”.

Last week, Wirecard filed for insolvency owing creditors almost $4 billion after disclosing a 1.9 billion euro ($2.14 billion) hole in its accounts that its auditor EY said was the result of a sophisticated global fraud.

The company said on Saturday it would proceed with business activities after the insolvency filing and an administrator was appointed on Monday.

($1=0.8895 euros)

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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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The North Face parent VF Corp. sees sales uptick as people head outdoors, or to their backyards, during coronavirus pandemic


With lockdowns lifting around the country, consumers are heading to the great outdoors, or to their backyards, for activities like camping and hiking that require merchandise that VF Corp. brands offers, positioning the business for increased sales, the company says.

VFC’s
VFC,
-5.94%

portfolio includes The North Face, Timberland and Eagle Creek.

Speaking at the Stifel Cross Sector Insights Virtual Conference on Wednesday, VFC Chief Executive Steven Rendle highlighted four trends, which he says were growing even before COVID-19 and are accelerating after the pandemic, including an “appreciation for the outdoors.”

“[W]e’ve seen a nice uptick, as an example, in our North Face equipment business,” Rendle said, according to a FactSet transcript.

See:RH is planning to open hotels and sell houses, but analysts ask whether it can pull it off

“People purchasing tents and sleeping bags at a higher rate and then sharing the experiences that they’re creating with… their families in the backyard, sleeping outside, cooking dinner over their camp stoves, but really trying to generate some new excitement in a stay-at-home environment.”

Some are vacationing in the wild.

“[A]s states and countries begin to reopen, we are seeing an uptick in outdoor participation in national parks and outdoor environments where people typically would take a more multiday approach to the outdoors,” Rendle said. “And our North Face, Timberland, SmartWool, Icebreaker brands are very, very well-positioned.”

Even when consumers aren’t camping, they’ve become more casual during these lockdown periods.

VFC is also the parent company for Vans, an athletic brand known for its laid-back, skateboard lifestyle aesthetic.

“[T]he work that we’ve done to reshape our portfolio [to] position ourselves in this total addressable market of outdoor, active and athleisure, and this area of work lifestyle is really paying great dividends, Rendle said.

VFC is positioned to capitalize on the tailwinds of “being purpose-led and performance-driven, enabling us to… be well-suited to accelerate as everything comes back to a new normal,” he said.

Read:Tractor Supply benefiting from consumer trends like gardening and the move to rural communities, analysts say

NPD Group analysts have also taken note of a shift in consumer apparel shopping behavior. Shoppers were once snapping up items like pajamas and loungewear to be comfortable at home, a trend that Target Corp.
TGT,
-1.65%

highlighted. Now, they’re moving toward recreational gear.

“Apparel was a low priority early in the COVID-19 crisis when consumers were focused on things like groceries and other in-home necessities, but we’re seeing evidence that apparel is once again entering the spending consideration set,” said Maria Rugolo, apparel industry analyst for NPD in a May 28 report.

“Warmer weather is spanning much of the country, allowing consumers to extend their mostly homebound routines to the outdoors, and expanding their apparel needs beyond comfort and above-the-keyboard dressing.”

Baird analysts also note the fitness and outdoor trend, but remain cautious. The lack of tourism is a headwind, analysts say. High unemployment is a deterrent to spending, and whether there is another stimulus package is to be determined.

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Baird rates VFC stock outperform with a $66 price target, citing recent momentum for both The North Face and Vans brands.

In addition to these trends, Stifel analysts cite VFC’s move to more direct-to-consumer sales and growing brand strength abroad as assets for the business.

“Compared to other brands in the portfolio, Vans and Dickies reportedly performed better and will likely be leaders in portfolio stabilization,” analysts said. “Vans benefits from consumer engagement and built in China growth. Dickies benefits from a small but growing Asia business, and sales through partners that had been deemed as essential businesses, like Walmart.”

Stifel rates VFC stock buy with a $75 price target.

VFC reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings that missed expectations in mid-May.

VFC shares fell 6% in Thursday trading, and have fallen 40% for the year to date. The S&P 500 index
SPX,
-5.89%

is down 7.1% for 2020 so far.



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Toyota to cut North American output by 29% through October By Reuters


2/2
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A man walks past a Toyota logo at the Tokyo Motor Show

2/2

By Maki Shiraki

TOKYO (Reuters) – Toyota Motor (NYSE:) Corp plans to slash production in North America by nearly a third through October due to the coronavirus crisis and expects it will take some time for output to return to normal, a person familiar with the matter said.

Toyota will build about 800,000 vehicles, including its RAV4 SUV crossovers and Camry sedans, at plants in the United States, Canada and Mexico from April through to the end of October, the person told Reuters.

That’s down 29% from the Japanese automaker’s output in the same seven months of 2019 and 32% lower than its forecast in January for production during the period.

The source declined to be identified because the information is not public.

A Toyota spokeswoman declined to comment on production plans.

The drop in Toyota’s production highlights the pain for carmakers around the world due to the fallout from the virus. Besides weak demand, problems with procurement and social distancing measures at plants are also expected to hit output.

Analysts expect a slow and patchy recovery from the pandemic to curtail spending while social distancing may also curb the need for some to commute, dampening the need for new cars.

Toyota is gradually resuming output at its seven North American sites from Monday.

Its production in many countries ground to a halt in mid-March as governments locked down economies, forcing factories to close as workers were unable to commute.

The source said Toyota plans to keep May production at less than 10% of last year’s levels – after zero output in April – before ramping up to normal levels in July.

By September, monthly vehicle production will be outpacing levels the previous year, as Toyota catches up with lost output.

North America is a major production centre for Toyota with the United States alone accounting for about 14% of its global output in 2019, making it the carmaker’s third-largest factory hub after Japan and China.

Toyota announces its full-year financial results on Tuesday.

(Additional reporting and writing by Naomi Tajitsu; Editing by David Dolan and David Clarke)

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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‘Elbow to elbow:’ North America meat plant workers fall ill, walk off jobs By Reuters


2/2
© Reuters. Employees wear face masks at the JBS USA meat packing plant in Greeley

2/2

By Tom Polansek and Rod Nickel

CHICAGO/WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) – At a Wayne Farms chicken processing plant in Alabama, workers recently had to pay the company 10 cents a day to buy masks to protect themselves from the new coronavirus, according to a meat inspector.

In Colorado, nearly a third of the workers at a JBS USA beef plant stayed home amid safety concerns for the last two weeks as a 30-year employee of the facility died following complications from the virus.

And since an Olymel pork plant in Quebec shut on March 29, the number of workers who tested positive for the coronavirus quintupled to more than 50, according to their union. The facility and at least 10 others in North America have temporarily closed or reduced production in about the last two weeks because of the pandemic, disrupting food supply chains that have struggled to keep pace with surging demand at grocery stores.

According to more than a dozen interviews with U.S and Canadian plant workers, union leaders and industry analysts, a lack of protective equipment and the nature of “elbow to elbow” work required to debone chickens, chop beef and slice hams are highlighting risks for employees and limiting output as some forego the low-paying work. Companies that added protections, such as enhanced cleaning or spacing out workers, say the moves are further slowing meat production.

Smithfield Foods, the world’s biggest pork processor, on Sunday said it is shutting a pork plant indefinitely and warned that plant shutdowns are pushing the United States “perilously close to the edge” in meat supplies for grocers.

Lockdowns that aim to stop the spread of the coronavirus have prevented farmers across the globe from delivering produce to consumers. Millions of laborers also cannot get to the fields for harvesting and planting, and there are too few truckers to keep goods moving.

The United States and Canada are among the world’s biggest shippers of beef and pork. Food production has continued as governments try to ensure adequate supplies, even as they close broad swathes of the economy.

The closures and increased absenteeism among workers have contributed to drops in the price of livestock, as farmers find fewer places for slaughter. Since March 25, nearby lean hog futures () have plunged 35%, and live cattle prices () shed 15%, straining the U.S. farm economy.

North American meat demand has dropped some 30% in the past month as declining sales of restaurant meats like steaks and chicken wings outweighed a spike in retail demand for ground beef, said Christine McCracken, Rabobank’s animal protein analyst.

Frozen meats in U.S. cold storage facilities remain plentiful, but supply could be whittled down as exports to protein-hungry China increase after a trade agreement removed obstacles for American meat purchases.

“There’s a huge risk of additional plant closures,” McCracken said.

JBS had to reduce beef production at a massive plant in Greeley, Colorado, as about 800 to 1,000 workers a day stayed home since the end of March, said Kim Cordova, president of the local United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union that represents employees.

“There’s just not enough people,” Cordova said. She added that the union knew of at least 50 cases and two deaths among employees as of Friday.

Plant worker Saul Sanchez, known affectionately as “grandpa” among some co-workers, tested positive for the virus and died on April 7 at 78 years old, according to his daughter, Beatriz Rangel. She said he only went from home to work before developing symptoms, including a low fever.

“I’m heartbroken because my dad was so loyal,” Rangel said.

Brazilian owned JBS confirmed an employee with three decades of experience died from complications associated with COVID-19, without naming Sanchez. The company said he had not been at work since March 20, the same day JBS removed people older than 70 from its facilities as a precaution. He was never symptomatic while at work and never worked in the facility while sick, according to the company.

JBS said it was working with federal and state governments to obtain tests for all plant employees.

Weld County, where the plant is located, had the fourth highest number of COVID-19 cases of any county in Colorado on Friday, according to the state. Health officials confirmed cases among JBS workers.

JBS said high absenteeism at the plant led slaughter rates to outpace the process of cutting carcasses into pieces of beef. The company disputed the union’s numbers on worker absences but did not provide its own. It took steps including buying masks and putting up plexiglass shields in lunch rooms to protect employees, said Cameron Bruett, spokesman for JBS USA.

“MY LIFE IS IN JEOPARDY”

At Wayne Farms’ chicken plant in Decatur, Alabama, some workers are upset the company recently made employees pay for masks, said Mona Darby, who inspects chicken breasts there and is a local leader of hundreds of poultry workers for the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.

“My life is in jeopardy because we’re working elbow to elbow,” she said.

Wayne Farms, with annual sales exceeding $2 billion, is trying to obtain masks to distribute to employees, though supplies are limited, spokesman Frank Singleton said. He said he did not know of any instances where employees were charged for masks.

Workers at a Tyson Foods Inc (N:) chicken plant in Shelbyville, Tennessee, bought their own masks when the facility ran out, said Kim Hickerson, who loads chicken on trucks there and is a union leader. Some are talking about quitting because they are scared of getting sick, he said.

“I just put it in God’s hands,” he said.

Tyson, the top U.S. meat producer, is working to find more personal protective equipment for employees, spokesman Worth Sparkman said. The company increased cleaning at facilities and sought to space out employees, which can both slow production, according to a statement.

Workers have lost their trust in Olymel after an outbreak of the coronavirus closed a plant in Yamachiche, Quebec, according to union spokeswoman Anouk Collet. “They do not feel that the company took all the measures they could have taken to keep them safe,” she said.

Company spokesman Richard Vigneault said the plant will reopen on Tuesday with new measures in place, such as separating panels, masks and visors.

Marc Perrone, international president of the UFCW union, said meat plant workers are increasingly weighing concerns about their own safety and their responsibility to produce food.

“If we don’t take care of the food supply, the American people are going to panic,” he said.





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Honda will halt all North American production for six days By Reuters



By David Shepardson and Ben Klayman

(Reuters) – Honda Motor Co (T:) said Wednesday it is temporarily halting production in North America for six days because of the anticipated decline in auto sales due to the coronavirus outbreak and will reduce production by about 40,000 vehicles.

The Japanese automaker will suspend production beginning March 23 and plans to return to production March 31. It is also suspending operations at transmission and engine plants in North America. Honda will continue full pay for all of its associates and it will utilize the break to continue deep cleaning of its production facilities and common areas.

The Honda facilities temporarily closing include plants in Ohio, Indiana, Alabama, Canada and Mexico. Honda has no known cases of coronavirus among workers in North America, the company said.

Auto supplier Lear Corp (N:) said after one confirmed COVID-19 case and one suspected case at its in Hammond, Indiana, plant it will close the facility for deep cleaning and disinfection.

On Tuesday, the Detroit Three automakers and United Auto Workers agreed to curtail production at U.S. factories and limit the number of workers on the job at one time to prevent the spread of the coronavirus among roughly 150,000 factory employees.

The union and the automakers agreed to “rotating partial shutdown of facilities, extensive deep cleaning of facility and

between shifts, extended periods between shifts, and extensive plans to avoid member contact,” the union said in a statement.

On Wednesday, General Motors Co (N:) said it would suspend overtime at U.S. plants to allow for more cleaning.

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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