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Nissan forecasts flat profit on rising costs, parts shortages

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© Reuters. 2023 Nissan Pathfinder is unveiled at the 2022 New York International Auto Show, in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., April 13, 2022. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

TOKYO (Reuters) -Nissan Motor Co on Thursday forecast flat operating profit in its current financial year, significantly below analysts’ forecasts, as the company faces tougher trading conditions caused by a global chip shortage, rising material costs and China’s COVID restrictions.

Nissan (OTC:NSANY) joins a growing list of global companies warning about worsening profitability as they cannot fully pass on soaring input costs to consumers and are bracing for more supply chain hold-ups following the Ukraine conflict and prolonged COVID lockdowns in China.

Its bigger rival, Toyota Motor (NYSE:TM), said on Wednesday “unprecedented” hikes in raw material costs could slice a fifth off full-year profit.

Nissan expects sales to rise by 18.7% in the current financial year that began in April to 10 trillion yen ($77.6 billion). But operating profit would grow just 1% to 250 billion yen, below the 318.5 billion yen mean estimate from 19 analysts polled by Refinitiv.

Japan’s third-largest car maker swung to an operating profit of 56 billion yen in the fourth quarter, helped by cost cuts and a sliding yen, versus a 19 billion yen loss in the same period a year earlier.

The result was better than an average 38.3 billion yen profit forecast from eight analysts polled by Refinitiv.

Nissan said previously the world semiconductor shortage caused its global production to fall for a fourth consecutive business year, with the latest decline being 11% drop year on year.

($1 = 129.2600 yen)

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Lattice Semiconductor Upgraded by Susquehanna on ‘Perfect Roadmap’

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© Reuters. Lattice Semiconductor Upgraded By Susquehanna On ‘Perfect Roadmap’

By Sam Boughedda

Lattice Semiconductor Corporation (NASDAQ:LSCC) was upgraded from Neutral to Positive by Susquehanna analyst Christopher Rolland on Tuesday.

The analyst, who also raised the firm’s price target on Lattice from $58 to $65, said that with the company’s shares down -35% for the year-to-date, they are using any macro weakness to selectively upgrade its third semiconductor company this year.

“While we downgraded shares of LSCC last April, both revenue outperformance and margin expansion have significantly bested our expectations, allowing share to grow into a reasonable valuation,” wrote Rolland.

“Looking forward, we believe the growth and margin story should continue to upside, helped by the company’s long-term product roadmap and the upcoming midrange Avant product launch,” he added.

Rolland stated that the company’s new midrange product Avant is a “potential game-changer” and will double their addressable market to $6 billion.

Other factors which influenced the analyst’s rating change included recent insider buying from Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer Esam Elashmawi, and Lattice’s balance sheet being “pristine into a potential downturn.”

Lattice stock is down 2.5% in early trading Tuesday.

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Tesla loses bid to move sexual harassment lawsuit to arbitration

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Tesla vehicle drives past Tesla’s primary vehicle factory after CEO Elon Musk announced he was defying local officials’ coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions by reopening the plant in Fremont, California, U.S. May 11, 2020. REUTERS/Ste

By Daniel Wiessner

(Reuters) – A California state judge has rejected Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) Inc’s bid to send a lawsuit alleging widespread sexual harassment at the company’s flagship assembly plant to private arbitration, allowing it to move forward in court.

California Superior Court Judge Stephen Kaus in Oakland denied Tesla’s motion to compel arbitration in a brief order without explanation on Monday.

Lawyers for the plaintiff, Jessica Barraza, had argued that an arbitration agreement she signed was invalid because it improperly required her to bring legal claims in confidential proceedings while still allowing Tesla to sue in open court.

Barraza in the lawsuit filed in November claims workers and supervisors at the Fremont, California plant routinely made lewd comments and gestures to female employees, and that the company failed to address complaints.

The lawsuit is one of at least seven pending in California state court to make similar claims against Tesla. Kaus is presiding over five more of those cases.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday. Nor did a lawyer for Barraza.

Along with the pending sexual harassment claims, Tesla is facing separate lawsuits accusing it of tolerating widespread race discrimination at its plants. A California judge last month awarded $15 million to a Black former factory worker who said he was subjected to racist slurs and graffiti from coworkers.

Tesla has said it does not tolerate harassment and has disciplined and fired workers who engaged in misconduct.

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Moderna CEO to Exercise Options, Donate Hundreds of Millions to Charity

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© Reuters Moderna (MRNA) CEO to Exercise Options, Donate Hundreds of Millions to Charity

By Senad Karaahmetovic

Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) CEO Stéphane Bancel announced his plan to donate to charity all of the after-tax proceeds of the original stock options he received upon joining the biotechnology company in 2013.

The donation is expected to amount to about $355 million (assuming the stock is priced at around $140 per share), and after $280 million in tax payments.

Bancel, who received the original stock option grant (due to expire in August 2023) in 2013, said he has never exercised a single stock option since joining the company 11 years ago.

He added that he offloaded Moderna stock under 10b5-1 plans and gifted the shares to charity, all of which were purchased using his family’s savings before Moderna went public.

Bancel said the stock option “will expire and be worthless” if not exercised now and it presents an opportunity “to create a positive change in the world.”

In an effort to prevent a high number of shares from flooding the market at once and potentially affecting the company’s stock price, Bancel has set up a 10b5-1 plan through which he plans to exercise 40,000 shares on Wednesday and 40,000 on Thursday each week, starting May 25, until fully exercised.

“My family also has our investment entity OCHA LLC, which, under another 10b5-1 plan, sells 10,000 shares each Thursday. These proceeds are invested in private companies trying to have a positive impact on the world: healthcare companies and companies focused on addressing the adverse impact of climate change. The 10b5-1 plan for OCHA LLC is scheduled to run through the end of 2022,” said Bancel in a blog post.

Moderna shares are down nearly 1% in pre-open Tuesday.

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