Citigroup profits jump 18%
Citigroup Inc unveiled a better-than-expected record quarterly profit of US$6.23 billion on Friday, as its coffers overflowed with lucrative earnings from its investment banking and global operations. The company said its second-quarter net profit leapt 18 percent from the same period a year ago, with earnings per share of US$1.24. Citi chairman and chief executive Charles Prince said revenue growth in both the US and from the bank's substantial international network helped Citigroup smash Wall Street's earnings forecast. Its record-topping profit of US$6.23 billion easily overshadowed the latest quarterly earnings of Google, Microsoft, Pfizer and Yahoo, which combined amounted to about US$5.4 billion.
Group to launch ABN bid
A banking consortium led by Royal Bank of Scotland PLC said on Friday it had cleared all regulatory hurdles and would launch its 71.1 billion-euro (US$97.8 billion) bid for Dutch bank ABN Amro Holding NV tomorrow as planned. The consortium's 38.40 euros per share offer for ABN Amro will last until Oct. 5, becoming unconditional if more than 80 percent of ABN shareholders tender their shares. Barclays PLC has proposed an all-share bid worth 33.86 euros per ABN share -- approximately 10 percent less than the RBS bid -- but suggested it may try to sweeten its offer. Barclays has until Aug. 6 to file its offer.
Toyota extends shutdown
Toyota Motor Corp, Japan's biggest automaker, will extend production halts because of a lack of parts after earthquake damage to a key supplier, Riken Corp. Toyota, which closed all of its factories for a day and half through Friday, decided not to restart production tomorrow, Tomomi Imai, a spokesman for Toyota said yesterday. Honda Motor Co and Nissan Motor Co, Japan's second and third-biggest automakers, will also extend domestic production halts. Honda will suspend all of its domestic auto production tomorrow, while Nissan will halt production at its four vehicle factories in Japan on Tuesday, the companies said on Friday.
PRC clears Arcelor purchase
Arcelor Mittal, the world's largest steelmaker, was cleared to pay about 1.15 billion yuan (US$151 million) to increase its stake in Hunan Valin Steel Tube & Wire Co (華菱管線) to tap growth in the world's biggest steel market. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce approved Valin Steel's plan to sell 49.3 percent of 520 million new shares to Arcelor Mittal, the Chinese steelmaker said in a statement to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange yesterday. Arcelor Mittal will hold 33.3 percent of Valin Steel, from 29.5 percent now, after the share sale is completed.
Chavez inaugurates refinery
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez inaugurated on Friday a 150,000-barrel-a-day refinery the nation is building in Nicaragua as part of the leftist leader's oil-funded battle against US influence in the region. Chavez said that the US$2.5 billion refinery will allow Nicaragua to earn US$700 million annually. Venezuela is building new refineries in politically aligned countries such as Nicaragua, Cuba and Brazil to ease the country's reliance on the US. Chavez also has vowed to become the sole energy supplier to Nicaragua, Cuba, Bolivia and Haiti in an attempt to strengthen his bloc, known as the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas.
DEVELOPING TALENT: The electronics contractor is looking to recruit people to work in core tech fields and emerging industries like electric cars and robotics Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), the world’s largest contract electronics maker, has launched a recruitment drive, offering a monthly salary of no less than NT$45,000 (US$1,485) to university graduates. For those with a master’s degree, the starting pay would be NT$52,000 per month at the minimum, while doctorate degree holders would receive at least NT$60,000 a month, Hon Hai said a statement issued early this week. The latest recruitment drive is aimed at attracting talent in core technology fields — artificial intelligence, semiconductors and next-generation mobile communications — and emerging industries — electric vehicles, digital healthcare and robotics, the
MRT TRAVEL FALLS: In February, ridership on the Taipei MRT System fell 8.96 percent from an average of 2.01 million per day in January Scooter sales jumped 13 percent last month as more commuters turned to two-wheelers to avoid public transportation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the latest statistics showed. Sales expanded to 74,493 units last month, compared with 65,913 units in February, statistics released on Wednesday by Kwang Yang Motor Co (光陽工業) and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications showed. In the first quarter, aggregate sales slid 0.51 percent year-over-year to 186,627 units, from 187,580 units, data showed. Kwang Yang, the nation’s biggest scooter manufacturer, continued to lead the market by selling 24,136 vehicles last month, growing 6.12 percent from 20,785 units in the previous month, while
Asustek Computer Inc (華碩), the nation’s leading PC vendor, yesterday launched its first dual-screen gaming laptop powered by Intel Corp’s latest central processing units (CPUs). The PC manufacturer’s announcement closely followed the US chipmaker’s unveiling of its 10th Generation Core H-series, the fastest commercial mobile processors with speeds of up to 5 gigahertz. Although Asustek’s Zephyrus Duo 15, the highlight of its Republic of Gamers line, is not the company’s first laptop with two screens, it is its first designed specifically for gaming. Nestled between the primary display panel and the keyboard, the secondary display, which Asustek calls the ScreenPad Plus, is angled
NEW CONSIDERATIONS: An airline manager said the idea is tempting, as demand for air cargo is strong, but issues such as training loaders would need to be addressed Taiwanese airlines might repurpose passenger jets to carry cargo in their cabins to offset lost revenue amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Airlines are considering applying to the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) for permission to transport cargo in passenger cabins after StarLux Airlines Co (星宇航空) last month became the first among the nation’s airlines to offer cargo-only flights using the normal cargo holds of its three Airbus SE A321neo passenger jets. “We are considering whether to increase our capacity by putting cargo on passenger seats,” Starlux spokesman Nieh Kuo-wei (聶國維) told the Taipei Times by telephone. “The advantage is that we can improve revenue,