Thu, Jan 29, 2009 - Page 6 News List

Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■SOFTWARE

SAP to cut 3,000 jobs

SAP, the world leader in professional software, said yesterday it will cut more than 3,000 jobs this year to save up to 350 million euros (US$460 million) as demand slumps. The German company said the job cuts would allow it to “adjust to difficult market conditions.” SAP employs 51,000 people, according to its Web site. It said it would not be making forecasts for this year because of “the limited visibility” in the business. The company said its net profit for last year fell 2 percent to US$1.88 billion as sales rose 14 percent to 8.46 billion euros.

■PHARMACEUTICALS

Novartis profits rise 25%

Novartis yesterday reported a 25 percent jump in profits last year to US$8.16 billion and forecast a record year for this year. Boosted by vaccines, diagnostics and consumer health products, the Swiss company said sales increased by 9 percent to US$41.6 billion last year. The company appears to have so far largely escaped the global financial crisis, although sales grew just 1 percent in the final quarter of last year. “Thanks to successful innovation and a leading market position of our healthcare business portfolio, Novartis achieved a strong performance in 2008,” Novartis CEO Daniel Vasella said in a statement.

■SEMICONDUCTORS

Toshiba shuttering plants

Japan’s No. 1 chipmaker, Toshiba Corp, will shut down several semiconductor plants at home to cope with a plunge in global demand for electronics goods, the Asahi Shimbun said yesterday. Toshiba will also likely incur an operating loss of ¥200 billion (US$2.2 billion) in the fiscal year ending in March, the Asahi said, citing no sources. Toshiba spokeswoman Hiroko Mochida declined to confirm the report, but said the company had earlier forecast an operating profit of ¥150 billion. Toshiba runs 10 semiconductor plants in Japan and one each in China, Malaysia and Thailand. Mochida said Toshiba plans to boost overseas production due to cheaper labor costs.

■AVIATION

SIA cuts NYC, LA flights

Singapore Airlines (SIA) is reducing its all-business class service to New York and Los Angeles in the face of the global economic downturn, the carrier said yesterday. The 14 weekly Airbus A345 flights will be cut to 10, the airline said, adding the change will initially take effect between Feb. 17 and March 25. The non-stop all-business service to New York began last May, followed by Los Angeles in August. Earlier this month, SIA and travel agents said the carrier was cutting more than 200 flights to Europe, Australia, China, and India in response to falling passenger numbers amid the global slowdown.

■AUTOMOBILES

UK to aid auto industry

Britain on Tuesday unveiled a £2.3 billion (US$3.2 billion) support package for its ailing auto industry. But Business Secretary Lord Peter Mandelson said the plan did not amount to a “blank check.” “This industry is not a lame duck, and this not a bailout,” Mandelson told the House of Lords. “Britain needs an economy with less financial engineering and more real engineering.” He said the sector was “vital” to Britain and the government had to take action “to prevent an irreversible loss of capacity, skills and technology.” The government will offer guarantees to unlock loans of up to £1.3 billion from the European Investment Bank, and will offer guarantees on a further £1 billion of loans.

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