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
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.
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.
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.
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.
From the customer’s perspective, car rental is a straightforward business. The only uncertainty is whether the hire company will charge you for the scratch they discover when you hand back the vehicle. Hertz Global Holdings Inc’s bankruptcy protection filing on Friday last week was a reminder that today even the simplest business models are underpinned by a lot more financial complexity than meets the eye. The proximate cause of Hertz’s demise was of course the sudden collapse in bookings caused by COVID-19 travel restrictions. The company’s monthly revenue last month fell 73 percent year-on-year, a shortfall that even the most resilient
Uber Technologies Inc, Lyft Inc and Airbnb Inc have slashed thousands of jobs. Salesforce.com Inc and Visa Inc are letting employees work remotely for months; Twitter Inc and Square Inc are allowing them to do so for good. For the companies’ hometown of San Francisco, the moves are early signs of a dire blow. In a city with a long history of booms, busts and natural calamities, the COVID-19 pandemic has suddenly upended nearly a decade of prosperity. While municipalities across the US are grappling with economic fallout from the virus, San Francisco stands to take a deeper hit given its high
‘ONE-STOP SHOP’: A Miaoli official said that the factory in the Jhunan section of the Hsinchu Science Park would create more than 1,000 jobs and boost prosperity A new high-end IC packaging and testing plant planned by contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) in Miaoli County is expected to start operations in the middle of next year, Miaoli County Commissioner Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) said. Hsu wrote on Facebook that TSMC, the world’s largest pure wafer foundry operator, would invest NT$303.2 billion (US$10.1 billion) to build the plant, the largest-ever single investment in Taiwan. However, TSMC declined to disclose the financial terms of the deal, while a company board meeting on May 12 approved a spending plan worth NT$168.2 billion as part of its investment plans. Construction of the
BULK PURCHASE: The French chain and Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm International reached a deal covering 224 stores, which is expected to be finalized by year’s end Carrefour SA yesterday announced it would acquire Wellcome Taiwan Co (惠康百貨) for 97 million euros (US$108.33 million), and bring all the Wellcome supermarkets (頂好超市) and Jasons Market Place stores nationwide under its banner within 12 months of the deal closing. The France-based hypermarket chain reached an agreement with Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm International Holdings (牛奶國際控股), the pan-Asian retailer that launched Wellcome Taiwan in 1987. The transaction involves 199 Wellcome supermarkets, which have average sales areas of 420m2 and 25 high-end Jasons Market Place stores, which have an average sales area of 820m2, as well as a warehouse in Taoyuan, Carrefour Taiwan (家樂福)