raises

James Hardie raises 2021 profit forecast on high demand for renovation

Adds details on markets, 2021 forecast

Oct 14 (Reuters)Australian building materials supplier James Hardie Industries JHX.AX on Wednesday raised its full-year profit forecast and said it expected to post record second-quarter results, boosted by solid demand for its services across markets.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic related shutdowns hammered sales earlier in the year, there has been a recovery in Asia Pacific and European markets.

James Hardie, the world’s biggest fibre cement maker, said the all-time high quarterly sales were “made possible by having all three operating regions deliver growth above market.”

In August, it said sales in North America, one of its biggest markets, were buyoed by homeowners turning to renovation amid the pandemic.

The company increased its fiscal 2021 forecast for underlying net operating profit after tax (NOPAT) to between $380 million and $420 million, from an earlier projection of $330 million and $390 million.

It will report its second quarter results on Nov. 10.

(Reporting by Anushka Trivedi and Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Chris Reese and Shinjini Ganguli)

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Sweetheart Kitchen Raises US$17.7 Million In Series C Funding Round To Launch New Brands And Kitchen Units Across MENA


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Cloud kitchen operator Sweetheart Kitchen has successfully secured €15 million (US$17.7 million) in a Series C funding round backed by strategic investors, led by the company’s founder and CEO Peter Schatzberg.

As a delivery-only multi-brand virtual kitchen, Schatzberg notes that the Dubai-based company is keen to invest their funding into supply chain technology, food design and hiring talent, as they had previously done, and which they plan to continue to do so. “Scaling units is certainly one important objective for us, but we are also investing in streamlining our processes and systems to achieve profitability.”

As a company that is only 15 months old, it’s noteworthy to point out its impressive milestones. The startup (which, according to a Wamda report, is backed by Germany’s Delivery Hero) has previously raised €21 million ($24.8 million) in a previous round. Thus, as of date, the startup has raised a total of $43 million. The brand boasts a portfolio of 30 brands, such as Wingo, Avocado Bravo and Affordabowls, among others.

That’s not to say that cloud kitchen startup hasn’t had their fair share of hurdles during the pandemic. Schatzberg comments, “Almost overnight, we pivoted from scaling volume and units, to demonstrating profitability through aggressive cost-cutting measures that would ordinarily take place in a mature enterprise.” They had to close live units in Kuwait, as well as make reductions, and lose cash flow as they were waiting to open a number of completed units, but was vacant due to citywide lockdowns. He adds, “Any incremental revenue we might have received as a function of the pandemic was more than offset by the various costs and challenges that the pandemic

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