Fri, May 20, 2011 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

INTERNET

Sony closes Web site

Sony Corp has shut down a Web site set up to help millions of users affected by last month’s massive data breach after finding a “security hole.” The site had been designed to help 77 million users of its PlayStation Network reset their passwords after finding the security weakness. The issue, which Sony alerted customers to on its PlayStation Web site, marks yet another setback for the company, which has been under fire since hackers broke into its systems about a month ago. The notice to users about the Web site shutdown can be found at: http://bit.ly/JkCma

AVIATION

Air France-KLM profit returns

Air France-KLM says it returned to profit in its latest fiscal year as the rebounding global economy lifted traffic and helped offset a 1 billion euro (US$1.42 billion) rise in its fuel costs. Europe’s largest airline by passengers says in a statement it made a 613 million euro net profit for the 12 months ending on March 31, in contrast to the 1.6 billion euro net loss a year earlier when the global economic crisis hammered freight and passenger traffic. Air France-KLM warned that “uncertainties” including the long-term impact of Japan’s earthquake, crises in the Middle East and Africa and fuel prices could weigh on its performance this year. The airline forecast an operating profit higher than the 122 million euros it made last year.

BEVERAGES

SABMiller profit jumps 26%

Britain-based brewer SABMiller, the maker of Grolsch and Miller Lite, said yesterday that full-year net profits jumped 26 percent to US$2.4 billion on rising sales in developing markets. The profit after tax level for the year to March 31 compared with net earnings of US$1.91 billion in 2009 to last year, SABMiller said in a statement. “SABMiller’s financial performance for the year was very strong,” the company’s chairman Meyer Kahn said in the earnings statement. “While we maintained focus on cost management, we continued to increase investment behind our local and international brand portfolios.” Total annual sales rose 7 percent to US$28.3 billion.

ENERGY

STX to build Iraq plants

South Korea’s STX Heavy Industries said yesterday it has signed a 3 trillion won (US$2.76 billion) deal to build 25 diesel power plants in Iraq. The company said it would build the complexes, which will be capable of generating a total 2,500 megawatts, by June next year under the agreement signed with Iraq’s electricity ministry in Baghdad. The deal is part of Iraq’s project to build 50 new power plants at a cost of US$6.25 billion, it said. STX Heavy said Iraq has also expressed its desire to sign two other deals in a month for construction of a steel plant and a 500 megawatt gas-powered plant.

NEW ZEALAND

Record deficit forecast

The government has unveiled a bleak annual budget that forecasts a record deficit following a devastating earthquake earlier this year. The government yesterday said its books would be NZ$16.7 billion (US$13.2 billion) in the red for the year ending on June 30 next year — the highest deficit in the country’s history. However, it pledged a return to a modest NZ$1.3 billion surplus within four years, a year earlier than previously projected. The budget, which contains cuts to government spending, is widely seen as a gamble by Prime Minister John Key that voters will respect his efforts to get the nation’s books back in order.

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