Ramsay Health Care lifts profits; QBE full-year profits slide; Qantas refuse to confirm reports of 5000 job cuts: Midday Roundup

Ramsay Health Care has reported a 15.8% rise in first-half net profits to $171.6 million, as “strong market fundamentals” led to a strong operating performance across all divisions.

The group’s revenue also increased 13.9% to $2.4 billion.

In Australia and Asia, the company’s revenue was up 10.2% to $1.9 billion while its earnings before interest and tax rose 13.2% to $251.2 million.

“Our business is performing well thanks to strong demand for our high quality facilities and services, effective management and our successful approach to capacity expansions,” Ramsay Health Care managing director Christopher Rex said in a statement to the ASX.

“Strategically, the six months has been successful in terms of executing our global expansion strategy.”

QBE full-year profits slide

Global insurer QBE Insurance Group has reported a loss of $US254 million for the full-year to December 2013, as a result of its beleaguered United States division.

The loss represents a sharp 133% decline from the previous year’s US$761 million net profit.

“We have introduced changes to key management and have taken significant steps to reposition and right-size underperforming businesses in North America and are making excellent progress with our global transformation program,” chief executive John Neal said in a statement to the ASX.

Qantas refuses to confirm reports of 5000 job cuts

Qantas has refused to confirm reports it is going to cut 5000 jobs and sell its terminal at Melbourne Airport.

The airline released a statement this morning noting the “fresh speculation about what things we will or won’t announce on Thursday as part of our half-year results”.

“We are not in a position to comment on that speculation,” the statement said.

Shares steady on open

Aussie shares have opened slightly higher this morning, following a positive day on Wall Street.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark was up 4.7 points to 5444.9 at 12:05pm AEDT. Overnight the Dow Jones closed 103.84 points higher, up 0.64% to 16,207.14.

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