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Audi CEO Says German Carmaker to Reach 2012 Goals

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Audi AG is the 2nd largest luxury car-maker in the world and company expressed hopes that it can reach the goal of retailing record number of almost 1.4 million vehicles in the year 2012. The company is expecting to maintain the momentum for the next year.

Rupert Stadler, Chief Executive Officer for European operations told that they are successfully running the business in the European markets by keeping pace with latest market trends. Luxury automakers like Bayerische Motoren Werke and Audi have introduced price cuts in order to maintain the sales during the market slowdown without hurting the profitability. The 9-month operating profit at the company’s unit of Volkswagen has narrowed to almost 11.1 5 in terms of sales from 12.1% for the year 2011, while all the deliveries jumped to almost 8.8%.

The company is also planning to start a manufacturing unit in San Jose Chiapa in the year 2013. It follows the strategy of German competitors like Daimler AG and BMW.

Until 3 years ago, the company produced almost 75% of its vehicles in Germany, focusing completely on increasing the quality and expanding the complete model line-up for including the A1 subcompact, Q5 sport-utility vehicle, and A7 4-door luxury coupe.

Mercedes and BMW, in contrast, have got long-established companies in US, South Africa, and China.

International Targets

By the year 2017, Audi’s domestic manufacturing share value is projected to come down to 45%, while the annual production of the vehicles to double-up to 1.9 million, largely in cities likes Mexico and China.

San Jose Chiapa plant is expected to begin in the year 2016 and it has total capability of producing almost 150,000 units per year.

The site is also expanded to produce other SUVs for Audi along with the existing Q5. Audi sells almost half of the cars in US and it has target deliveries of 59% from last year to almost 2 Lakh vehicles by the end of 2018.

Global sales of Audi SUV rose from 13-percent to 1.2-million vehicles. Audi is expanding their plant in Gyor with an estimation of 900 million Euros. The annual production capacity is tripled to 125,000 cars by the end of 2013.

Audi is planning to release new A3 compact for the year 2013 in the new Foshan factory, with the joint venture of China FAW Group Corp. Audi is second in the country with annual boost of 40% to 700,000 vehicles.

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Latest Developments: Ballard Power Systems Inc. (USA) (NASDAQ:BLDP), EZCORP, Inc. (NASDAQ:EZPW), Fusion-IO, Inc. (NYSE:FIO)

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Ballard Power Systems Inc. (USA)(NASDAQ:BLDP)’s shares jumped 16.57% to $4.15. The company on June 3 held the Company’s 2013 Annual General Meeting in Burnaby, British Columbia at which all of the nominees listed in the Management Proxy Circular dated April 11, 2014 were elected as directors of the Company. Each of the Ballard directors was re-elected by a majority of the votes cast by shareholders present or represented by proxy. At the Annual General Meeting Ballard’s leadership team also provided an update on the business, including: 2013 financial results; 2014 outlook; commercial progress; quality and service developments; and the recent acquisition of the intellectual property portfolio from United Technologies Corporation.

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EZCORP, Inc. (NASDAQ:EZPW)’s stock fell 2.44% to $11.61. The company on June 18 announced the pricing of its $200 million aggregate principal amount of cash convertible senior notes due 2019 (the “Convertible Notes”). The Convertible Notes were offered in a private offering to qualified institutional buyers pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”). The Company granted an option to the initial purchasers for up to an additional $30 million aggregate principal amount of Convertible Notes. The Convertible Notes will pay interest semiannually at an annual rate of 2.125% and will be convertible solely into cash based on the applicable conversion rate at such time.

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Fusion-IO, Inc. (NYSE:FIO)’s shares climbed 1.67% to $11.60. SanDisk on June 16 announced a definitive agreement to acquire Fusion-io (FIO), a leading developer of flash-based PCIe hardware and software solutions that enhance application performance in enterprise and hyperscale datacenters. The acquisition will be an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $1.1 billion, net of cash assumed. Under the terms of the agreement, SanDisk will commence a tender offer for all outstanding shares of Fusion-io for $11.25 per share in cash. SanDisk will fund the acquisition with cash available on its balance sheet.

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Stocks In Focus: Oi SA (ADR)(NYSE:OIBR), Genco Shipping & Trading Limited(NYSE:GNK), Zale Corporation(NYSE:ZLC), Celldex Therapeutics, Inc.(NASDAQ:CLDX)

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Oi SA (ADR)(NYSE:OIBR) stock decreased 9.05% to $1.81. Oi SA, formerly Brasil Telecom SA, is a Brazil-based holding company engaged in the telecommunication sector. The Company is primarily involved in the provision of fixed telephony services in Brazilian states of Acre, Rondonia, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Tocantins, Goias, Parana, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul. Additionally, it offers a range of integrated telecommunication services, including mobile telecommunication services, data transmission and Internet service provider (ISP) services, among others.

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Genco Shipping & Trading Limited(NYSE:GNK) shares fell 6.60% to $3.54. Genco Shipping & Trading Limited (GS&T) transports iron ore, coal, grain, steel products and other drybulk cargoes along worldwide shipping routes through the ownership and operation of drybulk carrier vessels. As of December 31, 2012, GS&T’s fleet consisted of 53 drybulk carriers, including nine capesize, eight panamax, 17 supramax, six handymax and 13 handysize drybulk carriers, with an aggregate carrying capacity of approximately 3,810,000 deadweight tonnages. The average age of the Company’s fleet was approximately 7.8 years as of December 31, 2012.

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Zale Corporation(NYSE:ZLC) shares decreased 8.63% to $14.39. Zale Corporation, through its wholly owned subsidiaries, is a retailer of fine jewelry in North America. The Company operates in three segments: fine jewelry, kiosk jewelry and all other. As of July 31, 2012, the Company operated 1,124 specialty retail jewelry stores and 654 kiosks located mainly in shopping malls throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. The Company’s fine jewelry segment consists of five brands: Zales Jewelers, Peoples Jewellers, Zales Outlet, Mappins Jewellers, and Gordon’s Jewelers The Company’s kiosk jewelry operates under the brand names Piercing Pagoda, Plumb Gold, and Silver and Gold Connection (collectively, Piercing Pagoda) through mall-based kiosks.

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Celldex Therapeutics, Inc.(NASDAQ:CLDX) stock fell 6.27% to $34.41. Celldex Therapeutics, Inc. (Celldex), is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of several immunotherapy technologies for the treatment of cancer and other difficult-to-treat diseases. The Company’s drug candidates include CDX-110, CDX-011 and CDX-1127. CDX-110, is an immunotherapeutic vaccine that targets the tumor-specific molecule, epidermal growth factor receptor variant III (EGFRvIII). CDX-1127 is a human monoclonal antibody that targets CD27.

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Automakers unfazed by U.S. spending cuts: Ford Motor Company, General Motors Company

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Spending cuts announced by the U.S. government on Friday were unable to make a dent in the confidence levels of automakers such as General Motors Company(NYSE:GM) and Ford Motor Company(NYSE:F), who expect demand for their vehicles to remain robust.

The U.S. is a nation obsessed with cars and though demand has been a bit sluggish of late due to the prolonged slowdown that the country is passing through, there has been a revival in consumer sentiment in recent months.

Automakers are determined to hang on to this optimism and not let it die away and have announced a slew of new fuel-efficient cars designed to be easier on the pockets of buyers, so far as their fuel consumption is concerned.

Despite a fall in the sales of its Lincoln brands, Ford reported its best February sales in six years.

It’s inevitable there might be a slight, slight offset, but I think the positive factors” boosting auto demand “will overcome,” Ken Czubay, Ford’s vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, said on a conference call.

According to industry figures U.S. light-vehicle sales in February rose 3.7 percent to 1.19 million, matching the average estimate of 10 analysts. The annualized sales rate, which is adjusted for seasonal trends, rose to 15.4 million from 14.5 million a year earlier. The average sales pace projected by 15 analysts was 15.3 million.

With Democrats and Republicans deadlocked over how to replace across-the-board cuts, known as sequestration, totalling $1.2 trillion over nine years, President Barack Obama issued an order Friday night putting the reductions into effect — $85 billion worth for the remaining seven months of the current fiscal year.

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