PG&E's fourth-quarter net rises
(9:42 AM ET) NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- PG&E Corp. (NYS:PCG) said Friday that its fourth-quarter net income rose to $203 million, or 56 cents a share, from $152 million, or 43 cents a share, a year earlier, boosted in part by earnings on a higher capital investment in its energy infrastructure. A FactSet survey of analysts, on average, predicted earnings of 56 cents a share for the quarter. The San Francisco energy company backed its earnings from operations views of $2.90 to $3 a share for 2008 and $3.15 to $3.25 a share for 2009. In addition, the company is raising its quarterly common stock dividend to 39 cents from 36 cents, beginning with its first-quarter dividend payable on April 15 to shareholders of record on March 31. On Thursday, PG&E shares closed down 60 cents, or 1.5%, to $39.17.
Whitney predicts new dividend cut for Citigroup
(9:25 AM ET) NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Oppenheimer banking analyst Meredith Whitney told CNBC last night that Citigroup Inc. (NYS:C) is under reserved and may cut its dividend again soon. She also warned that financial stocks could plummet as much as 15-50% this year due to pressure from a weakening economy and fears of a recession. Whitney correctly predicted in November that Citi would be forced to scale back payouts; the bank cut its dividend by 41% in January.
Mobile Mini to merge with Mobile Storage
(8:55 AM ET) NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Mobile Mini Inc.'ssaid Friday that its fourth-quarter earnings fell to $12.4 million, or 36 cents a share, from $14 million, or 38 cents a share, a year earlier, hurt in part by higher expenses. In addition, the Tempe, Ariz., maker of portable storage systems said it agreed to merge with privately held Mobile Storage Group in a deal valued around $701.5 million. Mobile Mini said it will assume about $535 million of Mobile Storage Group's outstanding debt and acquire all of the company's outstanding shares for $12.5 million in cash and shares of newly issued Mobile Mini convertible preferred stock with a liquidation preference of $154 million. That stock will be convertible into about 8.55 million Mobile Mini common shares, representing a conversion price of $18 per Mobile Mini share and resulting in ownership in Mobile Mini of about 19.8% for Mobile Storage stockholders. Mobile Mini said the deal is expected to "slightly" add to earnings in 2008. The deal could close as early as June. On Thursday, Mobile Mini shares closed down 59 cents, or 3.7%, at $15.26.
Endo posts rise in fourth-quarter profit, ups outlook
(7:18 AM ET) NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Endo Pharmaceuticals Holdings (NAS:ENDP) said Friday that its fourth-quarter net income jumped to $50.6 million, or 38 cents a share, from $14.8 million, or 11 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Sales climbed to $304.6 million from $259.5 million. Adjusted for items, it would've earned 52 cents a share vs. the year-ago 42 cents. Analysts polled by FactSet were looking for earnings of 45 cents a share. The Chadds Ford, Pa.-based drugmaker also hiked its 2008 outlook based on stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter and 2007 sales. The company said it expects 2008 sales of $1.225 billion and $1.25 billion, up from the prior forecast of $1.215 billion to $1.24 billion, and adjusted earnings per share of $2.18 to $2.22, compared to previous guidance of $2.10 to $2.15.
Aircastle fourth-quarter net rises to $35.3 million
(6:48 AM ET) LONDON (MarketWatch) -- Aircastle Ltd.Friday posted fourth-quarter net income of $35.3 million, or 46 cents a share, vs. $19.8 million, or 39 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding $1.3 million from discontinued operations, the company reported income from continuing operations of 44 cents a share. The company had been expected to make 50 cents a share according to data compiled by FactSet. The aircraft leasing company posted revenue of $121 million for the period, vs. $60 million a year earlier.
Newpark Resources posts quarterly profit, 9% revenue growth
(6:24 AM ET) WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Newpark Resources Inc. (NYS:NR) reported fourth-quarter net income of $6.7 million, or 7 cents a share, a reversal from a net loss of $42.1 million, or 47 cents a share, generated in the final three months of 2006, when the company had a loss of $49.5 million from discontinued operations. Earnings from continuing operations were 6 cents a share in the latest quarter, off from the prior year's 8 cents a share. A special charge subtracted 3 cents from earnings from continuing operations in the 2007 fourth quarter. The consensus among three analysts who follow Newpark was for a profit of 9 cents a share in the most recent quarter, according to estimates compiled by FactSet Research. Quarterly revenue improved to $159.7 million from $146.7 million, the Woodlands, Texas-based provider of oilfield products and services said. The company also announced a $25 million stock-repurchase program.
Huntsman's quarterly profit declines on exceptional items
(5:59 AM ET) LONDON (MarketWatch) -- Chemical manufacturer Huntsman Corp. (NYS:HUN) on Friday said fourth-quarter net income fell to $2.2 million, or one penny a share, from $80.2 million, or 34 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding exceptional items, adjusted earnings were 20 cents a share, flat from the year-ago period. Sales climbed 17% to $2.5 billion. Wall Street had expected the company to earn 30 cents a share on sales of $2.27 billion, according to a survey of four analysts conducted by FactSet.
Lloyds TSB profit up 17%, takes 280 mln pound charge
(2:36 AM ET) LONDON (MarketWatch) -- U.K. bank Lloyds TSB (LON:UK:LLOY) said Friday that its 2007 net profit rose 17% to 3.29 billion pounds ($6.4 billion) as total income net of insurance claims fell 4% to 10.71 billion pounds. The bank took a charge of 280 million pounds on its exposure to the credit crisis, up from a predicted charge of around 200 million pounds at the end of the third quarter. Lloyds said strong levels of customer lending growth in commercial banking and corporate markets more than offset lower unsecured personal lending. The bank added it will increase its final dividend by 5% to 24.7 pence a share.
Aioi Insurance to report $837 million subprime loss: Nikkei
(12:48 AM ET) HONG KONG (MarketWatch) -- Japan's Aioi Insurance Co.will write off about 90 billion yen ($837.4 million) related to losses on investments backed by U.S. mortgages, according to a Japanese media report Tuesday. Aioi, Japan's fourth-largest insurer among those that do not offer life insurance, is expected to report a net loss of up to 5 billion yen for the fiscal year ending March 31 in view of the higher subprime-related write-offs, the Nikkei business daily reported Friday.