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Walt Disney’s profit rises 27 percent on strength of ‘Frozen’ movie franchise

Walt Disney on Tuesday continued its red-hot earnings streak with the global success of the animated blockbuster “Frozen” and a ripple effect on sales of DVDs, music and other merchandise tied to the movie.

Second-quarter net profit rose 27 percent, to $1.9 billion, as every business segment recorded double-digit growth in earnings. Revenue increased 10 percent, to $11.6 billion. Disney’s stock rose 0.6 percent in after-hours trading to $81.48.

The success of “Frozen” demonstrates the impact that one blockbuster film can have on the entertainment conglomerate’s other businesses, including theme parks, retail stores in malls, and record and DVD sales.

The company hopes to replicate the success of “Frozen” across its stock of Disney stories and characters and through acquisition of popular entertainment brands. Its purchase of Marvel’s “Thor: The Dark World” and “Captain America: The First Avenger” helped drive profit growth for its studios division. The company plans three sequels during the next decade for the “Star Wars” series through its purchase of Lucas Films.

“Frozen,” the highest-grossing animated film in history, has brought in $770 million in global revenue. The benefits of the brand are just beginning to be felt across the other business lines, according to chief executive Bob Iger.

Kongsberg signerer kontrakt for leveranser til F-35 verdt 160 mill kroner

Kontrakten er en videreføring av leveransene fra de fem tidligere produksjons Lot`r (LRIP 3-7) og støtter et fortsatt godt forretningsforhold mellom KONGSBERG og Lockheed Martin.

– Vi er tilfredse med å oppnå enighet om levering av ytterligere halerorsdeler til F-35 Lightning II, og det er et bevis på det langsiktige internasjonale samarbeidet mellom Lockheed Martin og KONGSBERG, KONGSBERG fortsetter å demonstrere et høyt teknisk og produksjonsmessig nivå som kreves for å konkurrere om arbeid på F-35, og vi forventer mer F-35 industriell deltakelse for Norge ettersom vi fortsetter gjennom Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) fasene, sier Susan Ouzts, Lockheed Martin vice president, F-35 internasjonale programmer.

– Denne kontrakten demonstrerer KONGSBERGs konkurranseevne på høyteknologisk produksjon og representerer en ny viktig milepæl for vår Aerostructure virksomhet. Vi er fornøyde med å være en leverandør av kvalitetsprodukter til F-35-programmet, som støtter vårt langsiktige samarbeid med Lockheed Martin, sier Terje Bråthen, Direktør Aerostructures i Kongsberg Defence Systems.

Kontrakten inkluderer leveranser til om lag 40 fly.

Baker Hughes, Aker Solutions Form Subsea Alliance

Their non-incorporated alliance also follows a similar move by Cameron and Schlumberger, two of the world’s biggest subsea players, which teamed up in 2012 to create joint-venture OneSubsea.

The oil and gas sector has experienced a big rise in costs over the past decade as energy companies ramped up capital spending, pushing up costs ranging from labor to equipment.

But now energy firms are having to rein in spending plans because oil prices have leveled out and the International Energy Agency expects them to fall in 2014 and 2015.

The alliance, to be based in Houston, aims to increase recovery rates in deepsea fields and work on a subsea processing plant, an innovative technology that could eventually shift oil and gas production equipment from platforms to the bottom of the sea, saving on costs and increasing recovery.

Aker Solutions shares surged on the agreement and were 4.5 percent higher by 1221 GMT, ahead of a 0.5 percent rise in the European oil and gas index .SXEP.

The alliance will combine Aker Solutions’ strengths in subsea production and processing systems with Baker Hughes’ expertise in well completions and artificial-lift technology, the two firms said in a joint statement.

“Deepwater subsea fields have so far been characterized by low recovery rates, and new discoveries in deeper and more hostile environments are making these fields even more costly to develop,” Baker Hughes’ CEO Martin Craighead said.

“The single-digit recovery rates currently being achieved at many of these fields don’t support a sustainable business model,” he said.

Although the two firms will stay separate, they will work on joint solutions and may bid for projects jointly.

Second Impact & Sustainable US Trade Mission to the Nordic Region – May 12-16

The U.S. Department of Commerce in partnership with Watershed Capital Group is organizing the trade mission to the Nordic Region.

Supporters of the mission include:

  • SITRA – Finland
  • Impact Scandinavia -Sweden
  • VOXTRA – Norway
  • Den Sociale Kapitalfond – Denmark
  • Forum for Social Innovation – Sweden
  • Deloitte – Denmark
  • Vinge – Sweden
  • AmCham – Norway
  • Swedish Trade & Investment Council – Sweden
  • AdeB – Norway
  • Sorenson Global Impact Investing Center

“This Trade Mission is a good poortunity to share experiences on growing impact investing markets both in the US and Nordics,” expressed Sami Tuhkanen Director at Sitra.

“Using the power of finance and markets to tackle the most difficult social and environmental problems has the potential to transform our societies. The Nordics offer a great source for impact investment and social innovation, and this Trade Mission is an important step to converting ideas into concrete actions and investment,” said Mette Lingaard, Partner & Global Public Sector Social Innovation Lead, Deloitte Denmark.

“The timing for the mission could not be better. Though Norwegian investors have long been active within socially responsible ventures, a mission probing actual impact – and real returns – is just now an acceptable point of departure,” said Jason Turflinger Managing Director at AmCham Norway.

SAS Launches Services Between Stavanger and Houston

“The route we have established is a tailored product for a defined market with particular travel needs,” says Rickard Gustafson, President and CEO of SAS.

The route will be operated by a business version of the Boeing 737-700 and will have an SAS Long Haul Business Class concept on board, with just 44 comfortable business seats, along with a modern inflight entertainment system and full-service meals and service.

“The favorable timetable provides excellent connections throughout Scandinavia in both directions, while Houston is a hub for places to the south and west such as Mexico, Los Angeles, Dallas and Phoenix with the Star Alliance,” says Rickard Gustafson.

SAS has entered into a “wet lease” agreement with the company PrivatAir, which has this special version of the Boeing 737-700. The aircraft will carry SAS’s distinctive colors and logo.

The route will launch on August 20, just ahead of the major oil exhibition in Stavanger, Offshore Northern Seas (ONS). Tickets for route, which will operate daily except Saturdays, go on sale on April 29.

Norway’s Central Bank Sees Rate Hike, Growth Recovery in 2015

The bank left its key rate at 1.5 percent and said growth on the mainland – excluding the vast offshore oil and gas sector – would slip to 1.75 percent this year from last year’s 2.0 percent, before picking up to 2.5 percent in 2015.

“The analyses imply an unchanged key policy rate in the period to summer 2015, followed by a gradual increase,” Governor Oeystein Olsen said. “The path for the key policy rate remains approximately unchanged from December.”

Norway’s crown currency rose after the bank kept its rate path in place, wrongfooting some investors who had expected it to flag a loosening of monetary conditions.

Norway was western Europe’s best-performing economy until recently. It suffered unexpected turbulence late last year as consumption weakened, housing prices fell and growth in oil investment slowed. That created a policy dilemma for the bank.

A rate cut would have given the economy a much-needed boost. But household debt is already among the highest in Europe and the currency is at a four-year low, threatening higher inflation. The bank’s room to manoeuvre was limited.

And growth is expected to outpace the euro zone’s for years to come, the budget is increasing thanks to lucrative oil revenues and unemployment is barely visible at around 3 percent. All support the case for a rate hike.

Norway Industrial Workers Threaten April 2 Strike as Wage Talks Flounder

Initial mediation has broken down and the parties now start forced mediation in the first set of major wage talks that will later be followed by oil workers and public sector employees.

“There is significant distance between the parties,” Nils Dalseide, the national mediator told a news conference. “I think we could come to an agreement, but there is no guarantee, and there is a risk of strike up until the point we reach an agreement.

“From experience these talks usually goes on until the early hours after the deadline,” he added.

Union and employers hold wage negotiations every second year and oil workers went on a two week strike in 2012, shutting part of the country’s vital offshore sector until the government broke up the dispute.

Although unions have signalled muted wage demands, they also want pension concessions which employers said they are not willing to discuss.

The central bank expects wages to rise by 3.5% this year, slowing from 3.9% in 2013 as economic growth slows.

The strike, if it goes ahead, could hit 102 companies, including oil service firms Aker Solutions, Kvaerner , Aibel, Worleyparsons, Nexans and National Oilwell Varco.

Statoil Reviews Snorre Recovery Project on Higher Norway Taxes

The Stavanger-based company last year said it planned to build a new drilling and processing platform at the North Sea’s Snorre field to extract an extra 300 million barrels of oil and extend output until about 2040.

“We have to revisit the project, to look at concepts and make a new evaluation,” Chief Financial Officer Torgrim Reitan told reporters in Oslo today. “It’s too early to say” if an investment decision will be made in 2015 as planned, he said, declining to comment further.

Statoil last year postponed its Johan Castberg oil project in the Barents Sea, citing among other reasons a tax change by Norway’s previous Labor-led government that limited the deductions companies can make. Statoil then cut planned spending by 8 percent for the next three years and signaled it will be more selective about which projects to invest in.

The spending-plan cuts have resulted in warnings from authorities that Statoil must maintain its project plans.

Petoro AS, which manages the state’s direct ownership in oil and gas fields and is a partner at Snorre, said last month that the cuts, coupled with rising industry costs, will create delays and may endanger projects. Increased-recovery projects like Snorre 2040 are particularly at risk, Petoro Chief Executive Officer Grethe Moen said at the time.

Statoil has a 33.3 percent stake in the Snorre field, according to data on the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate’s website. Petoro holds 30 percent, Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) 17.4 percent, Idemitsu Kosan Co. 9.6 percent and RWE Dea AG 8.6 percent. Core Energy AS has 1.1 percent.

Apache Awards North Sea Verification Contract to DNV GL

DNV GL has had a long history on the Beryl Alpha and Bravo installations, which have been operated by Apache since January 2012, delivering both the Safety Case and the former Certificate of Fitness regimes.

With the new contract in place, DNV GL offers a range of verification services to Apache, including Risk-based verification (RBV) with the ultimate aim to ensure that field developments are designed, constructed and installed in accordance with project objectives. RBV is a structured, systematic process using risk and cost-benefit analysis to strike a balance both between technical and operational issues and between safety and cost.  This provides the ability to focus the verification effort where the contribution is most cost-effective and provides the required assurance towards stakeholders and regulatory authorities that projects are implemented right the first time.

Mark Richardson, Projects Group Manager with Apache North Sea said: “Safety, compliance and production in that order, are the priorities for the delivery of operations and projects in Apache North Sea.  Having the right verification body to work with is key to making our activities a success, and we look forward to working with DNV GL.”

API: LNG Exports Support America’s Role as Energy Superpower

“For the first time in generations, the United States is an energy superpower,” said Milito. “And the world—especially Europe and countries like Russia, China, and India—is watching closely to see if American policymakers are ready to harness that power on the international stage.

“Now is the time to build our energy infrastructure, expand exports, and lock in the economic and geopolitical opportunities that our energy revolution has created. To do that, we need continued support from policymakers in Washington to build LNG export terminals.

“Our allies know U.S. exports will undoubtedly have an impact long before the first tanker leaves our shores, and they are eager to diversify their energy supplies with reliable, steady supplies from the United States.

“By accelerating exports, we can strengthen the global energy market against future disruptions and send a signal to the world that the United States is ready to lead. Our growth as a major exporter would bring competition into the market and help ease the ties that bind our allies to any single supplier.

“The U.S. Department of Energy commissioned a study by NERA, which concluded that LNG exports would yield net economic benefits across all scenarios. The study also showed that concerns about domestic natural gas prices were unfounded.

“The only thing standing between America and a steady flow of jobs and capital are self-imposed bureaucratic restrictions.”