The Journal Gazette
Saturday, June 15, 2019 1:00 am


Shares of Chewy up 59% at IPO

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NEW YORK – It was raining cats and dogs on Wall Street.

Chewy, the online seller of pet food and squeaky toys, made a strong showing in its debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday, with investors banking on the growing pet industry.

Its shares soared 59% Friday under the symbol “CHWY,” putting the company's market value at about $14 billion.

Chewy has never made a profit. Last year, it lost $267.9 million on revenue of $3.53 billion.

But people are accustomed to buying nearly anything online. And pets are more pampered: Americans spent $72.6 billion on their furry friends last year, more than triple the amount spent two decades ago, according to the American Pet Products Association.

Founded in 2011, Chewy and was bought six years later by pet store chain PetSmart for more than $3 billion. Even after the initial public offering, PetSmart is Chewy's largest shareholder.

Swiss women walk off jobs in protest

Thousands of women across Switzerland walked off the job, burned bras and blocked traffic Friday in a day of demonstrations to demand fairer pay, more equality and an end to sexual harassment and violence. It was the first such protests in the Alpine nation in 28 years.

Discontent over sexism and workplace inequality in prosperous Switzerland underpinned the women's strike. Many protesters were also demanding more pay specifically for domestic workers, teachers and caregivers – jobs typically held by women.

Swiss female lawmakers streamed out of parliament Friday in the capital of Bern, where several thousand women were demonstrating, public broadcaster RTS reported.

Hundreds of marchers also blocked roads near the main train station in Zurich, the country's financial center.

Bayer to develop other weed killers

German chemical and pharmaceutical company Bayer says it plans to invest some 5 billion euros ($5.6 billion) over the next decade in developing “additional methods to combat weeds.”

Friday's announcement came as Bayer is engaged in legal battles in the U.S. in which plaintiffs claim that subsidiary Monsanto's Roundup weed killer caused cancer. Rulings in three cases have gone against it.

Bayer argues that studies have established that glyphosate, Roundup's active ingredient, is safe and made clear Friday that it stands by the product.

Bayer acquired Monsanto for $63 billion last year.

VW workers vote on union in Tennessee

Workers at Volkswagen's plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Friday were finishing a vote over whether to unionize.

The vote of about 1,700 hourly workers began Wednesday. A win would offer the United Auto Workers union its first fully organized, foreign-owned auto assembly plant in the traditionally anti-union South.

Gov. Bill Lee, U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn and other top Republicans were urging a “no” vote, saying a union could cause economic harm.

In 2014, then-U.S. Sen. Bob Corker and then-Gov. Bill Haslam helped convince Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga to vote against UAW representation.

UAW officials question why Chattanooga should differ from Volkswagen's other major, union-represented plants worldwide, or Spring Hill's General Motors plant with 3,000 UAW-represented workers. 

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