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On a day Mexico saw its worst daily increase yet in coronavirus cases, foreign-owned auto plants began setting dates for reopening.

Volkswagen de Mexico said late Thursday it is planning to reopen its assembly plant in Puebla state and its engine factory in Guanajuato state on June 1.

General Motors said it hadn't fixed "an exact date" for reopening its plant, also in the Guanajuato city of Silao, but some workers there reported getting notices to report for work on May 18.

Ford de Mexico said, "We are working very closely with the Mexican government, complying with the health and security protocols. We hope to receive their approval to operate in Mexico."

Pressure is growing both domestically and from the United States for Mexico to reopen manufacturing activities, something President Andrés Manuel López Obrador says could happen by May 17 in areas of the country that haven't been hit hard by the virus.

Mexico has lost about 500,000 jobs because of the pandemic lockdown.

 

Interface beats forecast despite lower tile sales

Interface Inc. said Friday its adjusted income in the first quarter more than doubled the results a year ago despite a 3% decline in carpet tile sales in the first three months of the year.

Interface reported adjusted first quarter earnings of 32 cents per share, or more than double the 14 cents per share earned in the same period a year ago. But the Georgia carpet manufacturer took a $121 million non-cash charge for impairment of goodwill and intangible assets driven by COVID-19 impact, resulting in a first-quarter net loss of $102.2 million, or $1.75 per share.

"We had a strong start to the year, but we began to see disruption in our business due to the global COVID-19 pandemic as the first quarter progressed," said Dan Hendrix, chairman and CEO of Interface.

The results surpassed Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of three analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 23 cents per share.

The carpet tile company posted revenue of $288.2 million in the period, which missed Street forecasts. Three analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $307.5 million.

Interface shares have dropped 48% since the beginning of the year. But shares of Interface rose 5.1%, or 44 cents per share, on Friday to close at $9.02 per share.

 

NFL pays $51 million to law firm in lawsuit

After years of infighting over $112 million in legal fees in the NFL concussion case, a federal appeals court has approved a plan that gives nearly half the money to a single law firm.

The decision Thursday grants New York-based Seeger Weiss over $51 million, more than 10 times the amount of any other firm, including the lawyers who filed the first cases in 2012.

It was lawyer Christopher Seeger who steered the negotiations that led to a surprise settlement in 2013 and who managed the case through several appeals.

The settlement, expected to cost the NFL more than $1 billion over time, spared the league a trial over claims that it long hid what it knew about the link between concussions and brain injuries.

Fund managers have approved $785 million in claims and paid out $681 million to more than 1,000 retired players or their families. And more than 12,000 of the approximately 20,500 retirees have gotten baseline testing.

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