Kraton shares jump on narrower 4Q loss

Kraton Performance Polymers Inc., which makes polymers for a wide range of products from adhesives to automobiles, said Thursday its fourth-quarter loss narrowed on higher sales and lower costs.  Kraton attributed the 8 percent sales increase to a 16 percent rise in overall volume and foreign currency exchange gains, partially offset by lower prices and higher raw material costs. President and CEO Kevin M. Fogarty said Kraton expects to maintain double-digit sales volume growth in the first quarter, and its shares jumped $1.03, or 7.5 percent, to $14.70 in morning trading.

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Fogarty said while global economic conditions seem to be improving, it is unclear how strong the recovery will be.

But he said the company’s moves in the latter part of 2009 in pricing, fixed cost reductions and improving productivity leaves Kraton “optimistic about the impact even modest economic recovery will have on our business results in 2010. [Read the full article]

Anheuser-Busch InBev SA sold 0.7 percent less beer and soft drinks in 2009 during the economic downturn and says that global beer demand is neither growing nor shrinking.

“We see no improvement in the operating environment today,” the company’s chief financial officer Felipe Dutra told reporters.

Other brewers Heineken and SABMiller have also reported flat or falling beer sales for some or all of last year.

AB InBev chief executive Carlos Brito said he was hopeful that lower sales across the world were a “one-year event” triggered by the financial crisis and that emerging economies would return to growth, even if developed markets, above all in western Europe, remain in decline.

“We think that this thing will be sorted out and when it’s done, markets will at some point go back to their original trend,” he said. “We continue to be very bullish in the U.S. [Read the full article]

Saga Communications, Inc. (NYSE Amex: SGA) today reported free cash flow increased 1.7% to $19.2 million for the year.  Net operating revenue for the year ended December 31, 2009 decreased 13.7% over the comparable period in 2008 to $120.8 million.  Station operating expense decreased 10.6% to $94.7 million (station operating expense includes depreciation and amortization attributable to the stations).  A large part of the decrease in station operating expense was a result of our cost reduction initiatives put in place.  This helped to reduce the impact that the decline in net operating revenue had on our operating results.  The Company’s net loss was $2.6 million (-$.61 per fully diluted share) for the year ended December 31, 2009 compared to a net loss of $66.5 million (-$14.05 per fully diluted share) for the same period last year. [Read the full article]

ARI (OTCBB:ARIS – News), a leading provider of technology-enabled business solutions that connect equipment dealers, distributors and manufacturers, announced today that it will host a conference call to discuss results for its fiscal second quarter ended January 31, 2010. The conference call is scheduled for Wednesday, March 17, 2010 at 4:30 PM Eastern Time. ARI will release its fiscal second quarter earnings at 6:30 AM Eastern Time and file its SEC Form 10-Q on that day.

To participate in the conference call, call 888.373.5705 or 719.457.3840 and enter the passcode 380050. A replay of this conference call and the information presented during the call will be available after 8:00 PM Eastern Time on March 19, 2010, at ARI website, www.arinet.com. Click on the “Company” link and select “Investors” to access the information. [Read the full article]

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