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Business Digest: Austin company raises $3 million for growth


VENTURE FUNDING

Austin company raises $3 million for growth

Austin-based Rhythm Superfoods, which sells organic and non-GMO plant-based snack foods, said it has raised $3 million for expansion.

The lead investor was 301 INC, General Mills’ new business development and venture unit. Additional investment came from the CircleUp Growth Fund.

Rhythm Superfoods products, which include kale chips and broccoli bites, are available at 5,000 stores nationwide.

AUTOMAKERS

GM boosts 2016 profit outlook, hikes dividend

DETROIT — General Motors said Wednesday morning it will not only earn a bigger profit this year than previously expected, but it also will boost a stock repurchase program from $5 billion to $9 billion and raise its quarterly dividend from 36 to 38 cents per share.

“We made significant progress executing our strategic plan and the results are being demonstrated through our improved earnings,” chairman and CEO Mary Barra said.

The automaker’s top executives — Barra, President Dan Ammann and Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens — presented their 2016 outlook at the Deutsche Bank auto industry conference in Detroit.

Specifically, they indicated GM expects to earn between $5.25 and $5.75 per share this year, up from previous guidance of between $5.00 and $5.50 per share.

Expanding the share repurchase program by $4 billion comes about 10 months after the first $5 billion was initiated in response to pressure from a group of four hedge funds who argued that GM’s shares were undervalued. Since the start of that program GM has bought back $3.5 billion of its own shares.

CONSUMER PRODUCTS

GE to cut 6,500 jobs in Europe

PARIS — General Electric said Wednesday that it would cut about 6,500 jobs in Europe as part of a plan to integrate the energy division of France’s Alstom, a sale that was approved last year by Europe’s competition authorities.

Confirming reports in French media, a spokesman for the U.S. energy giant said 765 jobs in France would be cut. Separately, the Frankfurt office of the company said up to 1,700 jobs in Germany could be affected.

GE struck a $13.5 billion (12.5 billion euro) deal in 2014 to buy Alstom’s thermal power, renewable power and grid business. The European Commission approved the deal last November on the condition that Alstom sells part of its heavy-duty gas-turbine business to an Italian rival.

GE employs 35,000 people across Europe. GE is a multinational conglomerate, active in sectors including energy, aviation, health care and transport, while Alstom is best known as the maker of the high-speed TGV train.

TECHNOLOGY

GoPro cutting jobs after weak sales

NEW YORK — Wearable camera maker GoPro says it will eliminate about 100 jobs after its fourth-quarter sales fell far short of its expectations.

GoPro says fourth-quarter revenue was $435 million instead of the $500 million to $550 million it forecast in October. The company lowered the price of its new Hero4 Session camera after saying it made the product too expensive. That reduced its fourth-quarter revenue by $21 million.

The San Mateo, California, company had around 1,500 employees at the end of 2015 after hiring more than 500 people that year. It is cutting 7 percent of its jobs, or around 100 positions.

GoPro Inc. has dropped 71 percent in the past 12 months and finished at $14.61 Wednesday. The stock fell 28 percent in aftermarket trading.


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