Taipower mulls rate hike
Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電), the nation’s biggest electricity producer, could raise electricity prices by 1 percent next month to reflect costs for renewable energy, the Chinese-language Apple Daily newspaper reported yesterday, citing an unidentified official at the Bureau of Energy. The state-run company charges an average of NT$2.6 per kilowatt-hour for electricity, the newspaper reported. Taipower reported a pre-tax loss of NT$18.7 billion last year because of rising costs of liquefied natural gas and coal, the ministry said in a statement on Monday.
PRC inflation, peg linked
China’s inflation rate will likely rise as long as the nation continues to peg its currency to the US dollar, said Peter Schiff, president and chief global strategist of Euro Pacific Capital Inc. “As long as they maintain the dollar peg, inflation will go up,” Schiff said at Bloomberg’s China Investment Strategies conference in New York on Wednesday. Allowing the yuan to appreciate will “unleash the purchasing power” of the Chinese people, he said.
Nippon, Sumitomo in talks
Japan’s biggest steelmaker, Nippon Steel Corp and third-ranked rival Sumitomo Metal Industries Ltd yesterday said they had agreed to launch merger talks. A tie-up between the two would create the world’s second-largest steelmaker behind India’s ArcelorMittal. “Today, Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal Industries jointly announced that they have agreed to commence consideration of the integration of their entire businesses,” the two companies said in a joint statement. They plan to complete integration talks by Oct. 1 next year.
Mazda sinks into the red
Mazda Motor Corp sank into the red in the October-December quarter, unable to overcome a stronger yen and lackluster sales in Japan. The automaker said yesterday it booked a quarterly net loss of ￥2.67 billion (US$32.7 million). It had net profit of ￥4.42 billion a year earlier. Revenue inched up 0.5 percent to ￥560.24 billion, while operating profit slid 90 percent to ￥1.05 billion. Demand for cars in Japan fell sharply in the quarter after government subsidies for green car purchases expired, Mazda said. It also cited foreign exchange losses and higher sales costs.
Vodafone revenue up 2.5%
Mobile communications company Vodafone says that revenue from telephone, data and other services rose 2.5 percent in the last three months of last year compared with a year earlier, the fifth consecutive quarterly gain for the company. Vodafone said in a trading update released yesterday that growth was led by a 32 percent gain in Turkey, 17 percent in India and 7 percent in the UK. Verizon Wireless, Vodafone’s US joint venture with Verizon Communications, reported a 7 percent increase.
Deutsche Bank profit drops
The biggest German bank, Deutsche Bank, yesterday reported a net profit of 605 million euros (US$ 835 million) for the fourth quarter of last year and a full-year figure of 2.3 billion euros. That represented a plunge of 54 percent from the bank’s 2009 net profit of 5 billion euros. The fourth-quarter figure represented a fall of more than 53 percent from the same period a year earlier, and was the result of recent acquisitions and restructuring costs.
Solid sales boost Unilever