Aston Martin’s turnaround plan moves up a gear with Vantage model

Luxury British carmaker Aston Martin unveiled its new Vantage model on Tuesday, as it pursues a turnaround plan designed to return it to profitability and set up a possible stock market flotation.

The central England-based firm, famed for making the sports car driven by fictional secret agent James Bond, is on course this year for its first pretax profit since 2010, spurred by sales of its new DB11 model.

With the Vantage, Aston Martin hopes to reach full capacity of 7,000 sports cars at its Gaydon plant in 2019, which would be the most cars it has produced for a decade.

“It’s important fiscally because it is the car that really moves us into that positive free cash flow territory, but I think it was also important industrially because you are now talking about a plant that is full,” Chief Executive Andy Palmer told Reuters during an interview at the firm’s headquarters.

The sleek two-seater model, which the firm says will stand out from rivals partly due to its simplistic design, will cost just over 120,000 pounds in Britain and $150,000 in the United States.

Aston is also building a new factory in Wales, where its first sports utility vehicle, known as the DBX, will roll off the production line from late 2019.

As Aston grows, Palmer has said that its owners, mainly Kuwaiti and Italian private equity firms, could sell the company to a larger car group, other private equity firms or launch an initial public offering,

“Another year of demonstrating what we are doing and then I think beyond that it’s going to depend on what the market’s doing.” he said.


BlackBerry CEO John Chen Says Turnaround Is Two-Thirds Complete

BlackBerry CEO John Chen Says Turnaround Is Two-Thirds Complete

BlackBerry Ltd Chief Executive John Chen said on Monday he was two-thirds of the way toward achieving his goal of turning the Canadian technology company’s fortunes around.

“We have made investment over a billion-plus, all in software, all in security, and now we need to execute it,” Chen said at an event in Toronto two days before the company will report its second-quarter earnings.

Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry, a once-dominant smartphone maker, has shifted its focus to software that companies and governments use to manage their mobile devices.

(Also see: BlackBerry Selling a New Device – But It’s Not a Phone)

Chen, who became CEO in 2013, had said he would decide by September on the fate of its unprofitable hardware unit. He did not provide an update when asked about the issue.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

Tags: BlackBerry, John Chen, Smartphone, Mobiles, Apps



Chipmaker Micron to Cut Jobs After Turnaround Plans Dashed

Chipmaker Micron to Cut Jobs After Turnaround Plans Dashed

Memory-chip maker Micron Technology Inc said it would lower costs, including by cutting jobs and focusing on fewer programs, after its hopes of reversing its fortunes this year were thwarted by a persistently challenging market.

Demand for Micron’s DRAM chips for personal computers has continued to fall, while it faces stiff competition from rivals such as Samsung in the market of NAND chips for devices like smartphones.

Micron’s sales have fallen more than expected for three quarters now including the latest third quarter, and the company on Thursday forecast a steeper-than-expected drop in sales and a surprise adjusted loss for the current quarter.

“Their inability to execute in DRAM and generate profit in DRAM is very concerning,” Needham & Co analyst Rajvindra Gill said.

Micron had forecast a surprise third-quarter loss in March, but said it expected “to significantly improve our competitive position as we move through the second half of 2016 and beyond.”

On Thursday, CEO Mark Durcan said, “Although we have made good progress in deploying our advanced DRAM and NAND technologies, we continue to face challenging market conditions.”

The company’s shares tumbled 7.6 percent to $12.71 in extended trading. They are down 27 percent in the past year.

Micron has been investing to boost production of its higher-margin 20 nanometer DRAM chips and develop more efficient 3D NAND chips.

“Micron has not been able to execute on the 20 nm mobile DRAM solution and there’s not much credibility at this point in terms of whether they’re going to execute on the 3D NAND as well,” Gill said.

Micron’s third-quarter sales dropped 24.8 percent to $2.9 billion (roughly Rs. 19,546 crores), missing analysts’ estimates of $2.96 billion (roughly Rs. 19,946 crores), according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

It expects current-quarter sales to drop 11.1-19.4 percent. Analysts’ were expecting a 11.1 percent decline.

Micron now plans to focus on its critical projects and lower its headcount by about 7.5 percent, or 2,400 jobs, with a third through eliminating open positions, company spokesman Daniel Francisco said.

The measures are expected to help Micron save $80 million per quarter from next fiscal, but result in a $70 million charge, mostly in the current quarter.

Micron forecast a current-quarter adjusted loss of 16-24 cents per share. Analysts were expecting a profit of 3 cents.

Its third-quarter adjusted loss of 8 cents per share beat expectations by a penny.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

Tags: Chip, Chips, Job Cuts, Laptops, Layoffs, Micron, PC