Mitsubishi cuts losses
Mitsubishi Motors Corp reduced its losses in the April-December period, thanks to cost cuts and better sales in Europe and Asia. The Tokyo-based manufacturer said yesterday it booked a net loss of ￥2.25 billion (US$27.6 million) for the nine months, compared with a ￥25.7 billion loss a year earlier. Revenue rose 38 percent to ￥1.31 trillion. Demand was particularly robust in Asia, where sales grew in China and Southeast Asia, the company said. That helped offset the impact of a strong yen. Mitsubishi said there had been a “growing sense of uncertainty about the future of the world economy” amid European debt concerns and the yen’s sharper-than-expected appreciation.
LG to launch tablet in US
LG Electronics said yesterday it would release its first tablet computer in the US in March as it prepares to go head to head with Apple’s iPad. LG said the G-slate was among the first tablet models to run on the “Honeycomb” operating system, which is Google’s latest generation of Android platforms designed for mobile devices with large screens. The G-slate features a 8.9-inch screen, smaller than the iPad’s nearly 10-inch display, but larger than the seven-inch screen of Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy Tab. LG did not give a price for the new gadget. The world’s third-largest handset maker said the release date for the G-slate’s global release would be disclosed later this month.
Google offers check-in
Google on Tuesday began letting smartphone users check into spots on the go as the Internet star jumped into the hot location-based services arena with Facebook, Foursquare and Gowalla. The check-in feature was added to a Latitude service that lets people with GPS-enabled Android smartphones share their whereabouts with selected friends. The new Latitude service works with a 5.1 version of Google Maps for devices running on Android software.
Boeing plans new tanker bid
Boeing said on Tuesday it would submit a new, “final” bid for a US$35 billion contract to supply the US military with 179 aerial refueling tankers, as it tries to beat European rival Airbus. A Boeing spokesman said the firm and US Air Force officials held talks on Monday to discuss the company’s proposal and revisions would follow. “This was our last opportunity to get feedback from the Air Force on our proposal before the end of the tanker competition,” Bill Barksdale said in a company blog post. “Based on this feedback, we’re now making final adjustments to our bid, which we will provide February 11 to the Air Force,” he said.
Citigroup takes over EMI
US bank Citigroup took control of troubled music company EMI from private equity owner Guy Hands on Tuesday, bringing an end to a long ownership battle and teeing up the firm behind Coldplay and The Beatles for its next possible sale. Hands, one of the most high-profile private equity bosses in Europe, bought EMI at the height of the buyouts boom in 2007 for ￡4 billion (US$6.4 billion), with Citigroup underwriting all the debt. EMI’s management welcomed the change. The company said it would continue under the same management. PricewaterhouseCoopers said it was appointed as administrator after the Terra Firma investment vehicle defaulted on its loan facilities.
Elpida posts massive loss
Japanese semiconductor maker Elpida Memory said yesterday it plunged into a massive loss in the three months to December on a sharp fall in chip prices amid faltering demand for personal computers. Elpida, the world’s third-largest maker of DRAM chips after South Korean rivals Samsung and Hynix, also blamed the strength of the Japanese yen against other currencies in mitigating cost-cutting measures for a net loss of ￥29.6 billion (US$363 million), compared with a ￥21.1 billion profit the previous year. Sales plunged 35.7 percent to ￥97.1 billion. Elpida expressed hopes that solid demand for smartphones and tablets will help lift its future earnings.
Electrolux profit jumps 53%
Electrolux, the world’s second-largest household appliance company, yesterday posted annual profits and dividends up more than 50 percent, but said this year would provide only “modest” growth amid rising costs for raw materials. Thanks to the economic recovery seen in many countries last year as well as several plant closures, the Swedish company said its net profit jumped 53 percent to 4 billion kronor (US$627 million) last year. Electrolux meanwhile posted a 3 percent drop in sales to 106.33 billion kronor for last year, but said that disregarding an unfavorable exchange rate its sales actually swelled 1.5 percent.
‘Greater China’ to lead way
“Greater China” will become the world’s biggest market for luxury goods by 2020 as rising incomes drive demand for products from companies including LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets said. Chinese consumers are the biggest buyers of Louis Vuitton products and represent 28 percent of sales for Swatch Group AG and 11 percent at Hermes International, according to a CLSA report distributed yesterday. The “greater China region” typically refers to China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Luxury goods companies expect half their global growth to come from the country in the next decade and for greater China to account for 44 percent of global sales by 2020, up from 15 percent, CLSA said.
Roche profit rises 4 percent
Swiss drug maker Roche Holding AG yesterday reported a 4 percent rise in full-year net profit to 8.89 billion Swiss francs (US$9.52 billion), as currency swings and severance pay depressed earnings. Sales fell 3 percent to SF47.47 billion last year. Growth in sales of Roche’s anti-cancer drugs such as Avastin, Rituxan and Herceptin were unable to compensate for the anticipated drop in sales of influenza treatment Tamiflu, and the surge in the Swiss franc compared with other currencies.
Economy grows 4 percent
The finance minister says the country’s economy grew more than expected over the past year and that the government is undertaking initiatives to accelerate growth further. Alexei Kudrin says the economy grew 4 percent last year, better than the anticipated 3.8 percent. Speaking at the Russia Forum, a gathering of business leaders often described as the Russian equivalent of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Kudrin said on Tuesday that growth could have been higher if Russia had not suffered severe heat and drought last year that affected food prices and grain exports. He says Russia is aiming for annual growth of 7 to 8 percent in the next few years.
STEPPING UP: The firm has also asked employees to work in split shifts from this week and to halt all but essential overseas business travel from next month Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) has implemented a remote work policy for employees not on production lines in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19, the world’s largest contract chipmaker said yesterday. This is the first time in the Hsinchu-based company’s history that it has launched a large-scale remote work policy, joining global technology companies, such as Apple Inc and Google, that encourage employees to work from home. The chipmaker has also asked employees to work in split shifts from this week, it said. As the number of virus infections continues to climb worldwide, TSMC has urged employees to halt unnecessary
A two-hour drive south of Amsterdam in Veldhoven, workers decked out head-to-toe in protective gear toil in vast assembly halls. Before entering the inner sanctuary of the facilities, they meticulously layer on masks, gloves and special socks. A single speck of dust or a hair can have devastating effects on production. The result of all this painstaking process is an environment that is 10,000 times more purified than outside. As COVID-19 grips the world, it might just be the safest place to work right now. The teams belong to ASML Holding NV, which holds a de facto monopoly on the industry of
DBS Bank Ltd yesterday hacked its GDP growth forecast for Taiwan this year to 0.9 percent, down from its estimate of 2.3 percent two months earlier, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and increasing financial market volatility. The bank’s latest forecast was even lower than London-based IHS Markit Ltd’s estimate of 1 percent, while other research institutes’ projections range from 1.6 percent to 2.6 percent. Taiwan’s economic momentum is being negatively affected by the pandemic, DBS said. The rapid spread of the disease from Asia to Europe and the US has dampened the bank’s previous expectation of a “V-shaped” global rebound in the
DOWNSIDE RISKS: Firms have a ‘very low’ chance of boosting investment returns in the next two years, making it hard for them to improve their capitalization, an analyst said Taiwanese life insurers wanting to improve their capital structure face strong headwinds this year, given prolonged low interest rates and economic impacts derived from trade protectionism and the COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan Ratings Corp (中華信評) said on Friday. The local life insurance sector also still has high asset risks and such risks are susceptible to market volatility, the local arm of Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings said. Since last year, major financial holding companies — including CTBC Financial Holding Co (中信金控), Cathay Financial Holding Co (國泰金控) and Shin Kong Financial Holding Co (新光金控) — have announced plans to raise fresh capital to