Mizuho to buy out units
Mizuho Financial Group is planning to buy out its brokerage and trust bank units, a source familiar with the matter said yesterday, a deal that could be worth about US$4 billion as the lender tries to grow beyond sluggish commercial banking business in Japan. Japan’s second-largest bank by assets is planning to buy out minority shareholders in Mizuho Securities, Mizuho Trust & Banking and Mizuho Investors Securities, said the source, who was not authorized to talk about the matter publicly. Mizuho is expected to carry out the buyout around October after getting approval at an annual shareholders meeting scheduled in June, the source said.
Vale announces record
Brazil’s mining giant Vale announced industry record net profits of US$17.3 billion last year, more than tripling 2009’s figures thanks to a “stellar performance.” “It is our best ever annual result, characterized by all-time high figures for operating revenues, operating income, operating margin, cash generation and net earnings,” the company said in its annual report. Last week the world’s top miner BHP Billiton posted half-year net profits of US$10.52 billion, up 72 percent. Both sector giants are benefiting from emerging markets snapping up raw materials and the West edging out of its economic slump.
GDP shrinks by 0.6 percent
The British economy shrank more than previously thought in the final quarter of last year, according to revised figures released Friday. The Office for National Statistics reported that GDP declined by 0.6 percent between October and December. It had previously put the contraction at 0.5 percent. The agency said that severe winter weather in December, when Britain was hit by heavy snowfalls, is still largely to blame for the plunge in the final three months of the year. However, the data also showed that household spending declined 0.1 percent — the first drop since the second quarter of 2009.
India might see 9% growth
India said on Friday that Asia’s third-biggest economy could see growth of more than 9 percent next year, but warned that inflation remained a “dominant concern.” Growth, boosted by a rebound in agriculture and “continued momentum” in manufacturing and services, should reach 8.6 percent this year and 8.75 percent to 9.25 percent next year, according to the annual state economic survey. India posted average annual growth of more than 9 percent between 2006 and 2008, before the global slump slowed expansion to 6.7 percent in 2008 and 2009. The economy picked up pace last year to advance 7.4 percent.
Volkswagen surpasses Ford
Volkswagen AG, Europe’s biggest automaker, passed rival Ford Motor Co in the auto industry earnings race last year on surging demand in China. Net income surged sevenfold to 6.84 billion euros (US$9.42 billion), the Wolfsburg, Germany-based company said on Friday. Ford posted a profit for last year of US$6.56 billion, while General Motors Co reported US$4.7 billion. Toyota Motor Corp forecasts ￥490 billion (US$6 billion) in profit in the year ending March 31. Volkswagen aims to surpass Toyota, the world’s largest carmaker, in sales and profitability by 2018 on growth in Brazil, Russia, India and China.