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Volume 10 No. 24


German media group Constantin Medien, owner of German free-to-air TV channel Sport1, "had to end the subscription period for its company bonds ahead of time due to oversubscription on the first day of the subscription period," according to FINANZEN. The company had to end the subscription period on Sunday at 11:30am German time. Constantin "originally planned with a subscription period from Sunday until Friday 12pm." The company bonds have a total volume of €65M ($85M) with a duration of five years and an annual interest rate of 7%. Constantin wants to use the income generated by the company bonds "to refinance existing liabilities, improve its profit situation and continue to diversify its product portfolio" (FINANZEN, 4/15).

Fast Retailing Co. "has raised its forecast for annual profit as the seller of Uniqlo-branded apparel benefits from a weakening yen," according to BLOOMBERG. The Yamaguchi-based company, Asia's largest clothing retailer, said Thursday net income will probably be ¥91.5B ($94M) for the year ending in August, higher than its previous forecast of ¥87B ($89M). Operating profit for the overseas Uniqlo business rose 40% "for the six months that ended in February," while declining 4.5% domestically amid price cuts. Billionaire Tadashi Yanai's casual clothing chain "has opened new stores, including one in Tokyo's Ginza shopping district, under a plan to revamp the Uniqlo brand's utilitarian image" (BLOOMBERG, 4/13).

A string of poor results at Cheltenham and punters wagering less overall "triggered a profit warning at Ladbrokes as the bookmaker's online travails look set to continue" throughout '13, according to Robinson & Wembridge of the FINANCIAL TIMES. The FTSE 250 company on Monday blamed a £5M ($7.6M) drop in gross winnings from its over-the-counter operations on 62 race cancellations -- "thanks largely to the cold weather" -- during the three months to March 31, compared with 36 cancellations in '12. At the Cheltenham meet alone, revenues fell £6M ($9M) year-on-year, "exacerbated by a run of results that left punters smiling and the bookies smarting." The profit warning heaped further pressure on the bookmaker, "which is struggling with the sector's shift online." Digital revenues fell 0.7% year-on-year, "in contrast to the strong digital growth of rivals such as William Hill" (FT, 4/15).

County Championship side Lancashire County Cricket Club has predicted a return to profitability in the next financial year after significantly reducing its net debt and despite making an operating loss of just over £1.5M ($2.3M) for the year ended Dec. 31. With major redevelopment works due to be completed at the end of May, the recent announcement of the 10-year partnership with Emirates Airline and the return of the Investec Ashes in the summer, the financial outlook for the County going forward is in a healthier position. Despite the loss incurred during the year, the club’s net debt was reduced by more than £3.1M ($4.75M) and even though there has been significant investment in the ground, the underlying level of debt will only represent a very manageable 30% of the cost of the new stadium (LCCC).

The official opening of Japanese sports equipment and sportswear Mizuno Corporation's retail store in Ulaanbaatar was organized at the "Altan Tugrug" Mall. Mongolia's "KGO" company was allowed to officially distribute the 108 year-old company's products (INFO MONGOLIA, 4/15). ... Tecnica Group "is no longer interested in selling its controlling stake in Lowa, the outdoor footwear brand." Technica CEO Peter Weaver, "who was appointed as Tecnica's chief executive last August," told SGI Europe that the Italian group had put the sale of its Lowa shares on indefinite hold (ISPO, 4/15).