JG Summit ‘cautiously optimistic’ after posting P844-M profit


By Revin Mikhael D. Ochave, Reporter

JG SUMMIT Holdings, Inc. returned to profitability as it posted a third-quarter net income of P844.1 million for its equity holders, reversing the previous quarter’s losses but still way below last year’s earnings.

The Gokongwei-led firm said better contributions from its petrochemicals and real estate units allowed it to record improved quarterly results.

JG Summit President and Chief Executive Officer Lance Y. Gokongwei said he is “cautiously optimistic” despite projecting that weaker consumer sentiment will continue to be a factor for the company’s products and services in the near term.

His optimism comes after the holding firm managed to move from its first-half losses of P720.25 million when the second-quarter net loss reached P2.62 billion. But the improved third-quarter bottomline is still far from the P3.68-billion income in the same period last year.

Mr. Gokongwei said he was “encouraged” by the company’s results for the third quarter, despite the economic challenges brought by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

“With the easing of restrictions, economic activity has slowly returned and our different business units showed some quarter on quarter recovery but I also note that these results are far from ideal and still showed steep declines versus a year ago,” he said.

“The prospects of a vaccine likewise give us hope that this will unlock further acceleration and recovery towards the latter part of 2021,” he added.

For a nine-month period, JG Summit’s net income amounted to P123.85 million, down from P21.07 billion a year ago, while its consolidated revenues fell 27% year-on-year to P167.3 billion.

JG Summit’s petrochemicals unit, JG Petrochemicals Group, posted a third-quarter net income of P772 million due to lower naphtha prices that are used in production.

For a nine-month period, it recorded a net loss of P1.9 billion and revenues of P14.5 billion. The company’s food unit, Universal Robina Corp., registered a net income of P7.5 billion for the three quarters, a 7% increase from a year ago.

Meanwhile, Robinsons Land Corp. posted a net income of P717 million for the third quarter due to stronger showing from its malls, hotels, and residential businesses, coupled with the sustained expansion in its office and warehouse leasing units.

For a nine-month period, the property company recorded a 31% drop in its net income to P4.4 billion due to additional depreciation from newly opened properties and interest expenses on newly issued loans.

Cebu Pacific Air, Inc. trimmed its net loss for the third quarter to P5.5 billion due to savings on operations and fuel consumption.

For a nine-month period, the budget airline ended with a net loss of P14.7 billion, with revenues declining 70% to P19.3 billion.

“Passenger revenues were down 74% while ancillaries decreased by 69% due to lower passenger volumes. The limitations on frequency of flights and varying requirements and processes from local government units continue to be a challenge,” the disclosure said.

JG Summit’s banking unit, Robinsons Bank Corp., reported a net income of P786 million for a nine-month period due to a 14% increase in its revenues to P6.9 billion.

On Friday, shares in JG Summit were unchanged at P72 per piece.










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Trump coronavirus: President ‘not yet out of the woods’ but medical team ‘cautiously optimistic’ | US News


US President Donald Trump is “not yet out of the woods” but those treating him remain “cautiously optimistic”.

Mr Trump was diagnosed with the coronavirus on Thursday evening and was taken to hospital a day later.

In a Saturday night update, his physician Dr Sean Conley said the president is free of fever and improving, adding that he had continued to “do well”, having made “substantial progress” since his diagnosis.

Image:
Trump supporters are waiting outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where the president is being treated for coronavirus

“He spent much of the afternoon conducting business, and has been up and moving about the medical suite without difficulty.

“While not yet out of the woods, the team remains cautiously optimistic,” Dr Conley said.

“The plan for tomorrow is to continue observation in between doses of remdesivir, closely monitoring his clinical status while fully supporting his conduct of presidential duties.”

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The president’s physician said he has been put on a five-day course of remdesivir – an antiviral drug originally created to treat Ebola.

He was given another experimental treatment – an antibody drug developed by Regeneron – before he was flown to hospital by military helicopter on Friday.

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Trump: Next few days will be the ‘real test’

The update came a few hours after Mr Trump posted a four-minute video on his Twitter page, saying he was “starting to feel good”. It was the second video message from Mr Trump since his diagnosis.

Earlier on Saturday, messages from the president’s staff and medical team regarding his health appeared contradictory.

The medical team said he was improving and was already talking about returning to the White House but minutes later his chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters that his vital signs during the previous 24 hours had been “very concerning”. Mr Meadows later stepped back from his comments.

Mr Trump, 74, is considered to be at higher risk of serious complications from coronavirus due to his age, the outcome of his recent physical tests, and the fact that he is obese.

Meanwhile, questions are being asked about the timeline of Mr Trump’s illness, after White House doctors said he began exhibiting “clinical indications” of COVID-19 on Thursday afternoon, earlier than previously thought.

There had been no suggestion Mr Trump thought he was infected before his aide Hope Hicks was diagnosed on Thursday morning.

Mr Trump travelled to a fundraiser in New Jersey later on Thursday, seemingly unaware he may have been infected.

At least seven people who attended a White House event on Saturday 26 September have also tested positive for COVID-19 – after guests were seen hugging, fist-bumping and not wearing masks.

They are among a number of Mr Trump’s aides and allies who have fallen ill with coronavirus in recent days.



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Global Stocks Cautiously Rebound As Britain Tightens Rules On Virus


Global stocks staged a partial recovery Tuesday, following a rout in the prior session as Britain announced fresh rules to contain the coronavirus and the United States officially passed 200,000 deaths from the virus.

After three straight days in the red, Wall Street, even as the US death toll from the coronavirus hit the grim 200,000 benchmark and Washington politicians remained far apart on another stimulus package.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the economy “was in the midst of the fastest economic recovery from any crisis in the US,” but acknowledged that some sectors such as restaurants and tourism “require additional relief.”

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell reiterated that the US economy may need more support, noting the stimulus checks and expanded unemployment payments moderated the economic hit from the coronavirus.

Yet analysts are becoming more skeptical that Washington will be able to produce a compromise bill to support the economy as partisan hostilities ramp up ahead of the US presidential election.

Among the major US indices, the Nasdaq was the big winner, jumping 1.7 percent. Large tech companies such as Apple and Google parent Alphabet, which have done well during the pandemic, posted strong gains again.

“The fact that the major indices managed to bounce back in a synchronized fashion is a plus, but bulls should remain cautious here,” said Gorilla Trades strategist Ken Berman, adding that “price action wasn’t convincing outside of the tech sector.”

Earlier, European equities closed with mixed results amid worries over a coronavirus second wave, while Asian stock markets extended the previous day’s losses with sentiment jarred by new containment measures.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced fresh steps to try to stop a coronavirus surge in England.

New rules to come into force on Thursday will see English pubs and other hospitality venues close at 2100 GMT (10 pm local time).

Johnson also called a halt to the planned phased return of fans to live sporting events in England from October 1, despite huge losses and fears some clubs could go under.

“To help contain the virus, office workers who can work effectively from home should do so over the winter,” the government said, despite fears for the wider economy as many city centers turn in to ghost towns.

The raging pandemic shows few signs of slowing — more than 31.2 million infections have been detected worldwide, with 964,000 deaths — and nations are scrambling to contain new outbreaks.

New York – Dow Jones: UP 0.5 percent at 27,288.18 (close)

New York – S&P 500: UP 1.1 percent at 3,315.57 (close)

New York – Nasdaq: UP 1.7 percent at 10.963.64 (close)

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.4 percent at 5,829.46 (close)

Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.4 percent at 12,594.39 (close)

Paris – CAC 40: DOWN 0.4 percent at 4,772.84 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.1 percent at 3,164.13 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 1.0 percent at 23,716.85 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 1.3 percent at 3,274.30 (close)

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: Closed for a holiday

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1707 from $1.1771 at 2100 GMT

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2729 from $1.2817

Euro/pound: UP at 91.96 pence from 91.84 pence

Dollar/yen: UP at 104.92 yen from 104.65 yen

West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.7 percent at $39.60 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.7 percent at $41.72 per barrel





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Brisbane’s Lang Park stadium cautiously reopens to fans under strict coronavirus measures after a months-long hiatus


1 grandstand, three bars and no hard cash.

It will be a day at the footy like no other, when Lang Park puts into motion a stringent, regimented bio safety plan it really is been functioning on for months when 2,000 supporters attend present day match in between the Gold Coast Titans and the St George Illawarra Dragons.

The venue’s CEO, Alan Graham, has offered the ABC a complete glimpse at the stadium’s blueprint to retain enthusiasts COVID-Protected.

“We want to make sure that all the organizing we have finished will be effective because … which is heading to give men and women self-assurance going forward,” Mr Graham mentioned.

Employees

The location will have about 200 workers on internet site across catering products and services, celebration staff members, protection and cleaners — much a lot more than the location would normally involve for these a tiny crowd.

The cleaners will ensure regular environmental cleaning strategies and sanitisation regimes continue all through the working day.

Temperature checks will be in spot for all employees operating at the venue and hand sanitiser stations will be positioned in critical locations throughout the stadium.

“With the mother nature of the actions we’ve got to place in area, it does get much more manpower [and] surely a ton much more personnel than you would have for an occasion of this dimension,” Mr Graham mentioned.

All spectators will be seated in the Western Grandstand at Lang Park nowadays the place the Titans will participate in the Dragons.(ABC Information: Michael Rennie)

Opening the doorways

The stadium will open its gates an hour and a 50 % right before kick off and followers have been encouraged to get there early.

All ticketing will be contactless and spectators will be demanded to generate their ticket to staff on the gates, who will use contactless scanners to let entry into the facility.

“If there is any congestion, we are not likely to get into a stress problem. We can segregate folks and just make guaranteed we get a nice flow coming as a result of,” Mr Graham mentioned.

Enthusiasts will be able to get in by means of two gates, A and E but they will only be ready to entry the stadium through the gate defined on their ticket.

All spectators will be seated in the Western Grandstand.

The moment within, followers will need to go to their allocated zone.

There will be a few Zones, A,B and H and these will be specific on a patron’s ticket along with the gate they are necessary to enter by.

“We are inquiring persons to stay in these zones and they’re going to be asked to depart by these zones,” Mr Graham claimed.

Seating

Cardboard cut outs of fans placed on empty seats in an empty stadium.
Lifesize photos of admirers prepared for tonight’s clash among the Titans and the Dragons.(ABC Information: Michael Rennie)

A seating system has been organised to enable for groups of two or 4 men and women.

Each and every group will be socially distanced with a vacant row in amongst and a few seats amongst every single group.

The 3 zones have among 600-800 individuals in every.

Family members who are in teams of four or less will be able to go to.

For bigger groups, the stadium has questioned them to keep in the seats allotted to support personnel keep social-distancing demands.

What is actually in the zone?

The three zones will give spectators entry to bathrooms and meals and beverage services, including bars for takeaway drinks.

Just about every zone will cater for people patrons to lessen the want for too much circulation.

The moment within the location, supporters will only be able to flow into inside their zone.

A sign reading "CLEAN ZONE" sits in the tunnel at Suncorp Stadium before an NRL game.
Admirers will be designed to exit Lang Park stadium zone by zone and will require to hold out till their zone is known as.(Supplied: NRL Photos)

Getting foodstuff and consume

No funds will be utilized at foods and consume stores inside of the stadium, alternatively contactless payments will be available.

Bathroom restrictions will also be in line with current social-distancing tips of 4 square metres for each person.

In purchase to help enthusiasts, social-distancing markers will be in area, as effectively as signs to be certain urinals and basins are socially distanced for patrons.

Exiting during and just after the match

Move-outs will be obtainable with contactless scanning of tickets.

Nevertheless, the stadium has inspired spectators to limit this if doable to lower any pointless circulation within the venue.

Exiting the location will be carried out zone by zone to reduce group numbers and aid with social distancing.

The stadium will inquire supporters to keep in their allocated seats and await announcers and signage on the large screens to immediate zones when to depart.

They’ll then need to have to observe employees directives to make sure social-distancing techniques have been fulfilled on exit.

There will also be no cloaking offered at the party to lower call in between staff and patrons and also ease the circulation of patrons into the stadium.

“We actually are striving to get the admirers on board on this,” Mr Graham mentioned.

Gabba also internet hosting admirers

Brisbane cricket and AFL stadium The Gabba
Touch factors at Brisbane’s cricket and AFL stadium, the Gabba, will undertake a deep clean.(ABC Information: Kerrin Binnie)

But it can be not just Lang Park grappling with stringent well being compliance — the Gabba will also host 2,000 AFL followers when the Brisbane Lions get on the West Coast Eagles tonight.

Standard supervisor Mark Zundas explained welcoming again crowds necessary to be done cautiously.

“We want to make absolutely sure that we do it proper, we want to make confident that it is a protected atmosphere,” Mr Zundas mentioned.

The stadium is working with a big cleansing organization, which has also been contracted to a number of many others around the country, which include the Sydney Cricket Ground, Robina Stadium, Jubilee and Adelaide Oval.

The company’s CEO, Mark Piwkowski, reported dozens of cleaners would be on site to assure all touch factors like doors, hand rails and gates have been sanitised ahead of, during and right after the video games.

“Powering the doors, the programs, the gentle switches — all the matters that anybody could possibly contact in the course of the class of entering a space,” Mr Piwkowski claimed.



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France emerges cautiously out of coronavirus lockdown


PARIS (Reuters) – France tiptoed out of its strict coronavirus lockdown on Monday, allowing non-essential shops, factories and other businesses to reopen for the first time in eight weeks to help resuscitate the economy despite the risk of a second wave of infections.

With the world’s fifth highest official death toll, France is also reopening schools in phases and its 67 million people can now leave home without government paperwork, although documentation is still needed for rush-hour travel around Paris.

Theatres, restaurants and bars will remain closed until at least June with authorities wary of the peril of new outbreaks emerging – highlighted by a scramble in South Korea to contain a cluster of cases linked to nightclubs.

“Everyone’s a little bit nervous. Wow! We don’t know where we’re headed but we’re off,” said Marc Mauny, a hair stylist who opened his salon in western France at the stroke of midnight.

In Paris, boutiques on the Champs Elysees opened their doors to the public for the first time since March 17. In metro stations, staff handed out face-masks and sanitizer to commuters while stickers on train seats marked out social distancing.

The capital’s La Defense business district was largely deserted as most employees continued to work from home.

Only 10-15% of staff were expected back in their glass towers, a number expected to rise to 25% in June and 70% by September, said Marie-Celie Guillaume, head of the state agency Paris La Defense which manages the district’s public spaces.

“We’re headed for a very slow, gradual return,” she told Reuters.

ONE OF EUROPE’S TOUGHEST LOCKDOWNS

President Emmanuel Macron’s government lifted one of Europe’s toughest lockdowns after the rate of infection slowed and the number of patients in intensive care fell to less than half the peak seen in April.

The virus has claimed 26,380 lives in France.

Cars drive through the Place de la Concorde with the National Assembly in the background in Paris after France begun a gradual end to a nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in France, May 11, 2020. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Manufacturing plants can reopen providing they put safety measures in place, which for some means not running at full capacity. People can only travel up to 100 km (62 miles) unless for professional reasons, funerals or caring for the sick.

Trade unions and opposition parties have underscored the risks that COVID-19 infections will pick up again, particularly in places where distancing is difficult such as schools.

Health Minister Olivier Veran warned the government would reverse the relaxing of restrictions if infections spiked again.

“If the virus were to resume its wild race, we would again impose lockdown measures,” Veran told BFM television.

BALANCING ACT

In the Riviera resort of Cannes, whose now-postponed annual film festival had been due to start on Tuesday, police chased a dozen surfers out of the waves, but did not issue fines. Beaches remain off-limits along much of the Mediterranean coast.

“(Being out on the water), that’s the dream!” cried one surfer underneath the esplanade’s palm trees. “It’s almost worth the 135-euro fine,” laughed another.

Macron is eager to rescue an economy in freefall. The euro zone’s second biggest economy is forecast to contract 8% this year, and joins countries globally scrambling to rebuild supply chains.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Monday said French carmakers, hit hard by the coronavirus downturn, must bring more production back to France in exchange for government aid.

His ministry is preparing sector-specific recovery plans for the struggling tourism, aerospace and auto industries.

“We are ready to help you,” Le Maire said on BFM Business radio. “In exchange it’s going to be, what’s your relocation plan?”

Slideshow (29 Images)

To help workers return to their jobs, kindergarten and primary schools reopen this week, and junior high schools later in the month in areas where the infection rate is low.

France is split into “green zones” where the infection rate is low and “red zones”, including the greater Paris region, where the rate is higher and more restrictions remain in place. People across the country are advised to work from home if they can.

The public health crisis will leave long-lasting marks in France. Long accustomed to being told their high taxes paid for the best healthcare in the world, the French have been dismayed by the rationing of critical drugs, face masks and equipment.

Reporting by Michel Rose, Richard Lough, Leigh Thomas, Dominique Vidalon, Tangi Salaun and Benoit Van Overstraeten in Paris, Stephan Mahe in Mayenne and Michel Bernouin in Cannes; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Pravin Char and Mark Heinrich



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‘Back in the classroom, open your books’: Germany cautiously reopens schools



Teacher Birgit Steinbach welcomes students before the start of their high school graduation exams, during the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the Protestant grammar school in Kleinmachnow, Germany, April 20, 2020. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

April 20, 2020

BERLIN (Reuters) – Students in Germany went back to class to take their final exams on Monday as schools that had been shut last month to stem the spread of the coronavirus epidemic began to reopen.

The partial re-opening, agreed last week by Chancellor Angela Merkel and regional premiers, started with the oldest students, who will observe strict social distancing as they write their papers.

“I believe the students are ready for their final exams now,” said Antje Luekemann, headteacher of Berlin’s Steglitz High School, where students arrived wearing face masks and disinfecting their hands with sanitiser before sitting down at widely spaced school desks.

“The longer the uncertainty lasts, the more difficult it will be to keep them motivated and that’s why I believe it’s very important that we received the go-ahead for these exams,” Luekemann added.

Pupils across the world have been taking their classes over the internet since governments ordered that schools be closed in order to slow the transmission of the new-style coronavirus that has so far killed over 100,000 people around the world.

German authorities last week concluded that social distancing measures, including shop closures, limits on public gatherings and widespread home working had succeeded in slowing the disease’s spread sufficiently to allow limited reopening.

The details of how schools will reopen are up to Germany’s 16 states to decide. In Berlin, 16-year-olds will follow the 19-year-olds back to class a week later, with other age-groups following in stages over coming months.

Smaller shops also reopened across much of Germany on Monday, though restaurants, cinemas and large stores will remain closed.

Germany has the fifth highest COVID-19 caseload behind the United States, Spain, Italy and France at nearly 142,000 but has kept fatalities down to a relatively low 4,404 thanks to early and extensive testing.

“Of course I’m somewhat worried,” Luekemann said. “The more students there are in the building, the more complicated it gets to stick to the framework conditions. Ultimately we are talking about youths here, who might not always be in a position to evaluate dangers 100%,” she added.

(Reporting by Reuters TV, writing by Thomas Escritt, Editing by Angus MacSwan)





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‘Back in the classroom, open your books’: Germany cautiously reopens schools


BERLIN (Reuters) – Students in Germany went back to class to take their final exams on Monday as schools that had been shut last month to stem the spread of the coronavirus epidemic began to reopen.

Teacher Birgit Steinbach welcomes students before the start of their high school graduation exams, during the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the Protestant grammar school in Kleinmachnow, Germany, April 20, 2020. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

The partial re-opening, agreed last week by Chancellor Angela Merkel and regional premiers, started with the oldest students, who will observe strict social distancing as they write their papers.

“I believe the students are ready for their final exams now,” said Antje Luekemann, headteacher of Berlin’s Steglitz High School, where students arrived wearing face masks and disinfecting their hands with sanitiser before sitting down at widely spaced school desks.

“The longer the uncertainty lasts, the more difficult it will be to keep them motivated and that’s why I believe it’s very important that we received the go-ahead for these exams,” Luekemann added.

Pupils across the world have been taking their classes over the internet since governments ordered that schools be closed in order to slow the transmission of the new-style coronavirus that has so far killed over 100,000 people around the world.

German authorities last week concluded that social distancing measures, including shop closures, limits on public gatherings and widespread home working had succeeded in slowing the disease’s spread sufficiently to allow limited reopening.

The details of how schools will reopen are up to Germany’s 16 states to decide. In Berlin, 16-year-olds will follow the 19-year-olds back to class a week later, with other age-groups following in stages over coming months.

Smaller shops also reopened across much of Germany on Monday, though restaurants, cinemas and large stores will remain closed.

Germany has the fifth highest COVID-19 caseload behind the United States, Spain, Italy and France at nearly 142,000 but has kept fatalities down to a relatively low 4,404 thanks to early and extensive testing.

“Of course I’m somewhat worried,” Luekemann said. “The more students there are in the building, the more complicated it gets to stick to the framework conditions. Ultimately we are talking about youths here, who might not always be in a position to evaluate dangers 100%,” she added.

Reporting by Reuters TV, writing by Thomas Escritt, Editing by Angus MacSwan



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