Toyota keeps status as top-selling automaker

Updated 25 April 2013
0

Toyota keeps status as top-selling automaker

TOKYO: Toyota held onto its status as the world’s top-selling automaker in the first quarter of this year, although the three-way race with General Motors and Volkswagen is proving tight, as its sales fall in China and Japan.
Toyota Motor Corp. reported that it sold 2.43 million vehicles during the January-March period, outpacing US automaker General Motors Co. at 2.36 million vehicles and Volkswagen AG of Germany at 2.27 million vehicles.
Toyota’s first quarter sales declined 2.2 percent from a year earlier, while those for GM were up 3.6 percent and Volkswagen’s jumped 5.1 percent.
GM’s quarterly results were within about 69,000 vehicles of Toyota’s.
The Japanese maker of the Prius hybrid and Camry sedan reclaimed its crown as world’s top automaker last year, after losing it to GM a year earlier, when it was battered by the tsunami and quake disasters in northeastern Japan.
GM had been No. 1 for seven decades before losing that title to Toyota in 2008.
Toyota has been hit by a resurgence of anti-Japanese sentiment in China because of a territorial dispute over tiny islands, and some Chinese are worried about being seen driving a Japanese car.
The company says the situation is slowly improving but getting back to solid growth again is likely to take some time.
The end of subsidies for green vehicles in Japan hurt Toyota sales in its home market.
Such incentives had previously helped boost sales of its popular hybrid models.
Toyota’s quarterly vehicle sales were down 13 percent in China and down 15 percent in Japan, compared to the same period last year.
Toyota is roaring back in North America, where sales rose 7 percent, as well as in many Asian nations, where it is relatively dominant.
Its stumble in China is a sore point as both GM and Volkswagen are gaining ground in that market, the world’s largest, where potential for growth remains vast.
The Chinese market is also crucial amid languishing sales in Europe, a far less important market for Toyota.
Last year, Toyota sold 9.7 million cars and trucks worldwide to beat GM’s 9.29 million and Volkswagen at 9.1 million.
Toyota shrugged off the latest results, echoing its typical past response.
“Rather than pursuing numbers, we try to sell one car at a time, producing good cars. We aren’t focused on being No. 1,” said company spokeswoman Shino Yamada.
GM said it is aggressively trying to take customers from other automakers by rolling out new vehicles and entering new market segments.
“Toyota, Ford, Volkswagen. It doesn’t matter whose customers we win. A day doesn’t go by that we don’t try to increase our sales all over the world,” spokesman Jim Cain said.
Michael Dunne, an expert on the auto industry in China and president of Dunne & Co., said the Chinese are still buying quite a number of Japanese cars, but he also warned the competition remained intense.
“They must contend with powerful American, German and Korean competitors. In addition, they must find ways to cooperate with their Chinese joint venture partners, which can be difficult duty when the two countries are at odds over territory,” he said.


NMC Health’s $450 million bond to boost Saudi expansion

Updated 15 min 59 sec ago
0

NMC Health’s $450 million bond to boost Saudi expansion

LONDON: The UAE-based private health care operator NMC Health has launched a $450 million senior unsecured guaranteed bond to help pay off an existing $1 billion bridge facility and support its expansion plans into Saudi Arabia.

The earlier bridging loan was part of the $2 billion capital structure refinancing put in place at the start of the year, the company said.

The bond is due in 2025 and is convertible into ordinary shares. JP Morgan is the sole bookrunner on the issuance. Bonds will have a fixed coupon rate of 1.875 percent, paid semi-annually.

The new capital structure — which will feature a mixture of unsecured bank and bond financing — will aid the company’s continued growth into Saudi Arabia, with NMC having been one of the first private health care providers to capitalize on the Saudi government’s health care privatization plans.

The company first secured a foothold in the Kingdom in 2016 after acquiring a 70 percent stake in As Salama Hospital in Al-Khobar.

Since then, NMC won regulatory approval last September for a new long-term care facility, the Chronic Care Specialty Medical Center, in Jeddah. It is though to be the first greenfield medical facility in the Kingdom to be set up by a non-Saudi company.

Earlier this year, NMC said it acquired an 80 percent stake in the Riyadh-based Al-Salam Medical Group.

NMC’s acquisition-led expansion strategy aims to ensure the company retains its recently-won place on London’s FTSE 100 index. It was one of the first Middle Eastern companies to join the index when it qualified last September. It first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2012.

The company posted strong growth in the last year, reporting $209.3 million in net profit for 2017, an increase of 38.2 percent on the previous year. The company paid out a total of $641 million in acquisitions last year.

“2017 proved to be a year of tremendous achievements for NMC,” said the firm’s chief executive Prasanth Manghat, in a statement in March.

NMC also secured secured its first public ratings of BB+ with a stable outlook from S&P on April 20, while Moody’s gave the firm rating of Ba1 with a stable outlook on April 20, 2018. The bonds are not expected to be rated.

“The company continues to strive to meet self-imposed standards that are higher when compared to what is expected of it by various regulators. This approach supports in turn its resilient business model, loyal customer base, strong brand recognition and market leading position,” according to a statement from Moody’s Investors Service.

Investors are so far reacting favorably to NMC’s strategy, with the company closing at a record high on April 20, according to Bloomberg reports, with a market value of $10.8 billion.

The company is now one of 24 equities in the region to have achieved a market capitalization of more than $10 billion, the report said.

Healthcare is seen as a lucrative sector in the Gulf due to its relatively wealthy population becoming increasingly at risk of problems related to obesity and diseases such as type 2 diabetes.