* Walmart Inc.'s Mexican arm Wal-Mart de México SAB de CV reported a 4.5% year-over-year drop in fiscal 2019 fourth-quarter net income to 11.23 billion Mexican pesos from 11.76 billion pesos a year ago. Analysts polled by S&P Global Market Intelligence had estimated Walmex's net income to reach 11.31 billion pesos. The company's EPS for the quarter came in at 64.3 centavos compared to 67.4 centavos a year ago, also missing the Market Intelligence consensus normalized EPS estimate of 65 centavos. In a statement, Walmex said 2019 was a "challenging" year due to adverse socioeconomic conditions across the region.
* Kirin Holdings Co. Ltd. posted diluted EPS of ¥67.98 for 2019, down from ¥183.53 in the prior year and missing the Market Intelligence GAAP EPS estimate of ¥71.32. Profit attributable to owners of the company slid 63.7% year over year to ¥59.64 billion from ¥164.20 billion, primarily due to a "harsh business environment" in Japan. For 2020, the maker of Kirin Lager beer expects basic EPS of ¥136.79 and attributable profit of ¥115.50 billion. Separately, the brewer rejected a proposal by a U.K.-based activist shareholder to buy treasury shares worth ¥600 billion.
FOOD RETAIL & DISTRIBUTION
* Food service company Sysco Corp. said it completed the offering of $500 million of its sustainability bonds to fund its corporate social responsibility goals through 2025.
* Supermarket chain Wegmans Food Markets Inc. expanded its partnership with Instacart to offer doorstep grocery delivery service in the New York City borough of Manhattan.
* Distiller Thai Beverage PCL posted a 13% year-over-year increase in diluted EPS for three months ended Dec. 31, 2019, to 34 Thai satang from 30 satang. Profit attributable to owners of the company rose 14% to 8.42 billion baht from 7.42 billion baht. Separately, the company said it acquired 35% shareholding interest in Myanmar-based alcoholic-drinks maker International Beverages Trading Co. Ltd. through its indirect subsidiary International Beverage Holdings (Singapore) Pte. Ltd.
* Coca-Cola Bottlers Japan Holdings Inc. swung to loss per share of ¥322.22 in 2019 from basic EPS of ¥52.68, reflecting lower sales volume, supply chain constraints and continued poor manufacturing efficiencies. The Tokyo-based company expects basic EPS of ¥50.18 in 2020.
* Japanese food and beverage company Suntory Holdings Ltd. saw profit attributable to owners of the company grow 0.6% to ¥140.94 billion in 2019. For 2020, the company expects attributable profit to decline 7.8% to ¥130 billion, as it seeks to implement a revitalization plan across its business. The company's subsidiary Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd. will undergo structural reforms in 2020 after its attributable profit fell 13.9% year over year to ¥68.89 billion in 2019.
* Snacks-maker TreeHouse Foods Inc. reported adjusted diluted EPS for 2019 fourth quarter of $1.10 that met the Market Intelligence normalized EPS estimate. For 2020, the Illinois-based company expects adjusted diluted EPS of $2.40 to $2.65. Separately, the company's board confirmed the appointment of William Kelley Jr. as CFO.
* Cheerios cereal-maker General Mills Inc. said it hired Jaime Montemayor as its chief digital and technology officer, effective Feb. 24. Most recently, Montemayor was chief technology officer at convenience store chain 7-Eleven Inc.
* Danone SA launched a Track & Connect service in China for its Aptamil & Nutrilon brands for giving customers more transparency on its baby formula farm-to-fork journey. The French packaged food company plans to roll out the service in France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand later in 2020.
* Russian meat producer Cherkizovo Group reported that adjusted net profit for the fourth quarter of 2019 fell 60.7% year over year to 1.47 billion Russian rubles from 3.74 billion rubles a year ago. Meanwhile, revenue rose 10.4% to 34.49 billion rubles from 31.24 billion rubles in the year-ago period.
* Mexican baked good producer Grupo Bimbo SAB de CV's unit Bimbo QSR formed a joint venture with Food Town, McDonald's Corp.'s franchisee, in Kazakhstan. Grupo Bimbo will own a 51% stake in the combined entity, formation of which is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2020.
* S&P Global Ratings upgraded the ratings of Tyson Foods Inc., including its issuer credit rating to BBB+ from BBB, with a stable outlook, following the successful integration of the meat processor's recent acquisitions, including those of meat supplier Keystone Foods LLC from Brazil's Marfrig Global Foods SA for $2.16 billion and BRF SA's Thai and European operations for $340 million.
* Swiss convenience-food maker Bell Food Group AG said adjusted EBIT for 2019 grew 6% year over year to CHF149.1 million from CHF140.6 million. Sales revenue declined 1.6% to CHF4.08 billion from CHF4.14 billion. The company nominated Joos Sutter and Thomas Hinderer to its board of directors.
* Four Corners Property Trust bought two Chili's Inc. restaurant properties in Indiana from Washington Prime Group Inc. for $2.0 million.
* U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority cleared Stonegate Pub Co. Ltd.'s acquisition of fellow pub operator Ei Group PLC for £1.27 billion. The competition watchdog added that it will not refer the merger to the second phase of investigation.
* About 300 to 400 refrigerated poultry ship containers from the U.S. to China were diverted to ports in Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam due to the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reported, citing the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council.
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The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng was up 0.31% to 27,815.60, and the Nikkei 225 was down 0.59% to 23,687.59.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 rose 0.18% to 7,464.89, and the Euronext 100 inched up 0.05% to 1,176.68.
On the macro front
The retail sales report, the import and export prices report, the industrial production report, the business inventories report, the consumer sentiment report, and the Baker-Hughes Rig Count are due out today.
Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.
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