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Renault To Name Finance Executives Fleuriot Derez To Board Sources

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PARIS – French carmaker Renault (RENA.PA) will appoint former Credit Suisse banker Pierre Fleuriot and insurance executive Thierry Derez to its board on Thursday Feb. 15, sources told Reuters.

Derez, head of insurance company Covea, replaces Thierry Desmarest, who is stepping down after the Thursday board meeting, the sources said on Tuesday.

Fleuriot, who ran Credit Suisse’s French operations for seven years, replaces Marc Ladreit de Lacharriere, who is set to retire from the board in June. Both appointments are to be submitted to the annual shareholder meeting the same month.

A Renault spokesman said the company had no comment.

Reporting by Laurence Frost

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Japans Sharp Drops Suit Against Hisense Over Tv Sale In North America Nikkei

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– Japanese electronics maker Sharp Corp (6753.T) would drop legal action blocking China’s Hisense Group from selling television in North America, Nikkei reported on Friday.

As of Thursday, Sharp had withdrawn a Federal lawsuit and an action filed with a U.S. trade body, the Nikkei Asian Review said.

Sharp, which had reduced its overseas TV business, had said it would re-enter the U.S. market with a high-end television brand.

In September, the U.S. International Trade Commission had agreed to probe certain Wi-Fi enabled devices and their parts after Sharp accused China’s Hisense Group Co Ltd of infringing its patents.

Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru;

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Blackrock Puts Gunmakers On Notice After Florida School Shooting

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BOSTON/NEW YORK – The world’s largest asset manager put U.S. gunmakers on notice on Thursday that it is no longer business as usual in the wake of a shooting that killed 17 at a Florida high school.

BlackRock Inc said it will speak to weapons manufacturers and distributors “to understand their response” to the second-largest school shooting in history, putting pressure on companies such as Sturm Ruger & Company Inc and American Outdoor Brands Corp.

BlackRock is the largest shareholder in both gunmakers and has more than $6 trillion in assets under management. It stopped short of saying it would divest its funds of gun companies, however.

Underlining how the Valentine’s Day massacre at the Florida high school has rattled the finance industry’s relationship with gunmakers, First National Bank of Omaha said separately on Thursday it would not renew a contract with the National Rifle Association (NRA) to issue a NRA-branded Visa card. The NRA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Gun control activists have campaigned in recent days for everything from banning semi-automatic guns like the one used in the Florida shooting to asking public pension funds to sell gun stocks.

New Jersey legislators on Thursday said they plan to introduce bills to bar state pension funds from investing in gun manufacturers.

BlackRock said it cannot sell shares of a company in an index. Instead, “We focus on engaging with the company and understanding how they are responding to society’s expectations of them,” BlackRock spokesman Ed Sweeney said in an email.

Sweeney declined to give more specifics, such as what if any changes BlackRock might seek at weapons makers or at retailers that sell their products.

But with so much money under management, BlackRock often has among the largest stakes in U.S. public companies, giving it much potential influence over their policies.

It owns about 17 percent of the total shares of Sturm Ruger and has about 11 percent of American Outdoor Brands, for instance, according to U.S. regulatory filings. The shares are largely held in funds that track indexes, such as the $6 billion iShares U.S. Aerospace & Defense ETF.

Representatives for American Outdoor Brands and Sturm Ruger did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink in January wrote a letter to corporate executives saying that companies need to show how they make “a positive contribution to society” in addition to delivering financial performance.

And he said that BlackRock would increase its own engagement with companies to improve its oversight over those companies, doubling to 64 the number of people it has dedicated to “investment stewardship,” its team that focuses on other company’s governance.

Reporting by Ross Kerber in Boston and Trevor Hunnicutt in New York; Additional reporting by Suzanne Barlyn;

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Hp Inc Quarterly Results Beat Estimates On Higher Pc Sales

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HP Inc (HPQ.N), which houses the hardware business of former Hewlett-Packard Co, reported a better-than-expected revenue and profit in the first quarter as the company sold more personal computers and printers.

Shares of the company rose 8 percent to $23.11 after the bell on Thursday.

HP Inc’s personal systems business, which accounts for nearly two-thirds of the company’s total revenue, rose nearly 15 percent to $9.44 billion, beating the average analyst estimate of $8.50 billion.

Despite a shrinking PC market in the United States, the company continued to pick up market share, after toppling Lenovo Group Ltd (0992.HK) last year from the top position globally, according to research firm Gartner Inc (IT.N).

Net earnings rose to $1.94 billion, or $1.16 per share, in the quarter ended Jan. 31, from $611 million, or 36 cents per share, a year earlier, benefiting from a one-time tax gain of $1.03 billion.

Revenue rose 14.5 percent to $14.52 billion.

Excluding items, the Palo Alto, California-based company earned 48 cents per share.

Analysts on average were expecting 42 cents per share and revenue of $13.49 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Reporting by Laharee Chatterjee in Bengaluru;

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