Agrium says its on track to beat previous guidance for Q4 earnings

CALGARY — Agrium Inc. (TSX:AGU) is raising its fourth-quarter earnings guidance, citing record-high adjusted earnings at its North American retail division and better-than-expected results at its wholesale fertilizer division.The Calgary-based fertilizer producer, which attributed the improved guidance to strong demand during a prolonged fall application season, said it earned slightly more than $2 per diluted share in the quarter, excluding certain items.Agrium’s previous guidance before Thursday’s announcement had been for between $1.50 to $1.90 per share of adjusted earnings in the fourth quarter.Its shares gained $3.64 to C$114.29 after the Toronto Stock Exchange opened. That exceeds a 52-week high of $111.48 established on Wednesday.Agrium’s revised guidance comes as New York-based fund Jana Partners LLC campaigns to win support from other shareholders for major changes at the company.Jana wants Agrium to concentrate on its wholesale fertilizer business and spin off its retail division, which operates in Canada and the United States.Agrium’s management has been resisting Jana’s move, saying the retail division is an important part of the company’s integrated strategy.“The increase in our estimated financial results is due to a very strong finish to the fall application season in our North American retail operations, supported by an extended fall season in the U.S. and continued strength in grain and oilseed prices,” said Mike Wilson, Agrium President and CEO.“Going forward, continued strength in crop prices and low global grain inventories are anticipated to support a strong spring application season in 2013,” he added.Agrium’s guidance excludes hedging gains or losses and certain other items that can have a positive or negative impact on fully reported net earnings.It said Thursday in the updated guidance that the retail business unit is expected to generate about $120 million of EBITDA in the fourth quarter, resulting in a record $950 million of EBITDA in 2012.EBITDA, a commonly used form of adjusted earnings, refers to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization — items that are included in net income under standard accounting practices.Agrium says its wholesale business had $500 million of EBITDA in the fourth quarter and $1.2 billion for 2012 as a whole — better than expected.Agrium said its finalized fourth quarter financial statements and audited annual financial results, plus a more detailed review of operations and an updated outlook, will be provided on Feb. 22.© Thomson Reuters read more

Gawkers shell settles with Hulk Hogan for 31 million

by Tali Arbel, The Associated Press Posted Nov 2, 2016 11:04 am MDT Last Updated Nov 2, 2016 at 2:20 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email FILE – In this May 25, 2016 file photo, Hulk Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, appears in court in St. Petersburg, Fla. The shell of Gawker has settled with Hulk Hogan for $31 million, ending a years-long fight that led to the media company’s bankruptcy, the shutdown of Gawker.com and the sale of Gawker’s other sites to Spanish-language broadcaster Univision. Gawker founder Nick Denton in a Wednesday, Nov. 2 blog post said that the “saga is over.” Denton filed for personal bankruptcy because of the $140 million verdict won by the former professional wrestler in a Florida court over a sex tape.(Scott Keeler/The Tampa Bay Times via AP, Pool) Gawker’s shell settles with Hulk Hogan for $31 million NEW YORK, N.Y. – The shell of Gawker has settled with Hulk Hogan for $31 million, ending a years-long fight that led to the media company’s bankruptcy, the shutdown of Gawker.com and the sale of Gawker’s other sites to Spanish-language broadcaster Univision.Gawker founder Nick Denton in a Wednesday blog post said that the “saga is over.”The invasion-of-privacy case, which revolved around a sex tape posted on Gawker.com, resulted in a $140 million verdict won by the former professional wrestler in a Florida court. It became even more notorious when it emerged that Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel had secretly bankrolled the suit. Thiel was outed as gay by a Gawker-owned website in 2007.The settlement instead means Hogan will get $31 million as well as 45 per cent of the proceeds from potential sale of Gawker.com, said Elizabeth Traub, a spokeswoman for Hogan’s lawyer, David Houston. Gawker.com is dormant but its archives remain online.Houston said in an emailed statement that “all parties have agreed it is time to move on.”Denton said in the Wednesday post that he was confident that an appeals court would have reduced the $140 million verdict, but “an all-out war with Thiel would have cost too much, and hurt too many people, and there was no end in sight…Gawker’s nemesis was not going away.” Thiel has said he would support Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, “until his final victory.”Denton also said Wednesday that as part of the settlement, three “true stories” — about Hogan and two others who had also filed suit — are being “removed from the web.” Univision, which bought Gawker Media’s other sites for $135 million, has already deleted several posts from the properties it now owns, which include tech blog Gizmodo and women-oriented site Jezebel, because they were tied to litigation.Denton himself also had to file for personal bankruptcy because of the Florida court’s verdict. Court documents filed Wednesday said there have been settlement talks between Gawker and Denton as well, although they have not reached a final settlement. read more