European Corporate Roundup for Thursday

Features Dow Jones Newswires

European corporate news is in focus Thursday, with consumer giants Nestle and Unilever both publishing sales updates.

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Nestle said a key sales measure weakened in the first nine months of the year and that it doesn't expect an improvement in the final quarter, underscoring the pressure it faces to boost its performance, including from activist investor Daniel Loeb.

Organic growth--stripping out the effects of currency changes, acquisitions and divestments--came in at just 2.6% through September. Nestle said that full-year underlying growth will match the nine-month rate, which would be below last year's 3.2% pace.

Total sales were 65.3 billion Swiss francs ($66.5 billion) in the nine months through September, down 0.4% from the year-ago period.

Philips Lighting said that third-quarter net profit more than doubled as it swung to growth in comparable sales, adding that it expects substantial cash flow in the fourth quarter.

The Dutch company, which was spun out from Philips Electronics last year, posted a net profit of 113 million euros ($133 million) for the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with EUR55 million the year before.

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France's Publicis Groupe reported revenue below expectations and said it was "difficult to predict" its performance for the rest of 2017, heightening investor worries over some of the advertising industry's biggest companies.

Publicis, which owns agencies including Leo Burnett and Saatchi & Saatchi, said revenue in the quarter ending on Sept. 30 rose 1.2% on an organic basis--a key industry measure that strips out currency effects, acquisitions and disposals--to 2.26 billion euros ($2.66 billion). Analysts had been expecting a 1.8% rise in third-quarter organic revenue on average.

Roche said that third-quarter sales increased 4.9% on continued strong sales of recently launched drugs.

The Swiss health-care company reported third-quarter sales of 13.09 billion Swiss francs ($13.35 billion), compared with CHF12.48 billion a year earlier.

Germany's SAP said that it is raising its outlook for 2017 after posting a 35% rise in third-quarter net profit.

The business software provider said net profit for the period ended Sept. 30 was 983 million euros ($1.2 billion) compared with EUR725 million a year earlier.

Bryan, Garnier & Co. believes that the German software company's slightly poorer-than-expected third-quarter results won't have a significant share-price reaction in the near term.

Schroders reported a 9% rise in assets under management and administration in the first nine months of 2017.

The asset manager said its assets under management and administration totaled 430.2 billion pounds ($567.22 billion) as of Sept. 30, up from GBP395.3 billion as of Jan. 1.

The U.K.'s Segro said that its contracted rent decreased in the third quarter of 2017 as its vacancy rate fell.

For the quarter ended Sept. 30, the industrial property developer said it contracted 8.8 million pounds ($11.6 million) of new rent compared with GBP13.5 million a year earlier.

Nordic telecommunications operator Telia Company said it swung to third-quarter net profit, backing its full-year guidance as it continues to exit legacy markets and transition to becoming a pure-play Nordic and Baltic operator.

Travis Perkins said that comparable sales were up in the third quarter and that it expects to achieve full-year targets.

The company reported that market conditions continued to be mixed, with spending under pressure from rising inflation and continuing uncertainty in the U.K. economy. However, it still achieved growth in comparable sales, which were up 4.1% in the quarter ending Sept. 30, as well as in total sales, which grew 3.5%.

Unilever reported weaker third-quarter revenue growth as the maker of Breyers ice cream and Dove shampoo struggled with lower sales in developed markets.

Unilever's sales for the third quarter climbed just 2.6% on an underlying basis to 13.2 billion euros ($15.56 billion), driven mostly by price rises. That represents a slowdown from the previous year when Unilever reported growth of 3.2% and is also sharply below the 3.9% analysts were expecting. Shares in the company were down 3% in early trading in London.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 19, 2017 08:18 ET (12:18 GMT)