Wed, Feb 16, 2011 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

COMPUTERS

HP to purchase Vertica

Hewlett-Packard Co (HP) agreed to buy Vertica, adding technology that would help customers analyze large and growing quantities of digital data. The transaction is expected to close in the second fiscal quarter, which ends around the last day of April, Palo Alto, California-based HP said in a statement yesterday. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Vertica, based in Billerica, Massachusetts, provides software that helps businesses pore through massive amounts of information, HP chief strategy and technology officer Shane Robison said. Under chief executive officer Leo Apotheker and chairman Ray Lane, HP aims to capitalize on the explosion of data delivered via the Internet and data centers. The Vertica deal is important to HP in light of its lack of success with NeoView, the data-analysis software developed by HP, said Jayson Noland, an analyst at Robert W. Baird in San Francisco.

GERMANY

GDP expansion slows

Fourth-quarter economic growth slowed more than economists forecast to the weakest in a year as export demand eased and unusually cold temperatures curb construction output. GDP, adjusted for seasonal effects, rose 0.4 percent from the third quarter, when it increased 0.7 percent, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said yesterday. Economists had forecast an expansion of 0.5 percent, the median of 39 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey shows. From a year earlier, GDP increased 4 percent. “Exports weakened and consumers didn’t maintain their spending from the previous quarters,” said Andreas Scheuerle, an economist at Dekabank in Frankfurt. Still, “the outlook remains promising. The dent in global demand seems to be over, investments are doing very well and consumption will benefit from decent wage deals and a robust labor market.”

LOGISTICS

FedEx cuts profit target

FedEx Corp cut its quarterly earnings target because of rising fuel prices and snowstorms that snarled operations, less than two months after saying it was being “hammered” by winter weather. Adjusted earnings could fall to a range of US$0.70 to US$0.90 a share for the quarter ending on Feb. 28, from a prior forecast of US$0.95 to US$1.15, the Memphis, Tennessee-based company said in a statement on Monday. Analysts expected US$1.02 a share, the average of 20 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. FedEx, operator of the world’s largest cargo airline, foreshadowed the earnings fallout when it said in December it was being “hammered” by storms. Record snowfall in some cities may make this winter the worst for flight cancelations since the US government began tracking the data in 1987. FedEx said it continued to see “strength in our base business” in all segments and regions amid storms that dampened revenue and inflated costs.

BEVERAGES

Foster’s to split wine, beer

Australian drinks giant Foster’s yesterday said it planned to split its wine and beer divisions in a long-awaited move that is likely to draw takeover offers as the bloated industry consolidates. Foster’s, owner of Australia’s largest brewer Carlton and United Breweries, also said its half-year profits were down 12 percent as domestic beer sales slumped, especially in the flood-hit state of Queensland. Foster’s reported first-half net profit of A$312.1 million (US$313 million), down from A$355.7 million a year earlier.

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