Thu, Jun 23, 2011 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

INTERNET

Google hits billion mark

Figures released on Tuesday by industry tracker comScore credited Google with being the first online operation to attract more than 1 billion visitors in a single month. Slightly more than 1 billion people went to Google Web sites last month in what comScore billed as an unprecedented turn-out on the Internet. Microsoft Web sites were closing in on the milestone with about 900,000 “unique visitors” for the month, according to comScore. Facebook had the third most visited Web addresses, but topped other online venues in terms of how long people lingered after they arrived.

CLOTHING

Q2 profits fall at H&M

Swedish fashion retailer Hennes and Mauritz AB (H&M) yesterday blamed higher procurement costs as well as campaigns and special offers for an 18 percent drop in second-quarter profits. The Stockholm-based retailer said yesterday that net profit in the three month period fell to 4.3 billion kronor (US$673 million) from 5.2 billion kronor in the same quarter a year ago. However, sales in the quarter rose from 31.6 billion kronor to 32.4 billion kronor, while gross margin shrank from 65.9 percent to 61.7 percent. The company is planning 178 new stores in the second half of this year, with China, Britain and the US set to be the main expansion locations.

TELECOMS

Nokia to outsource Symbian

Nokia Corp says it has completed a deal to outsource its Symbian software development to Accenture that includes the transfer of 2,800 Nokia workers to the global management-consulting firm. The Finnish company says Accenture PLC will provide it with software services through 2016 with the transfer of personnel — in China, Finland, India, Britain and the US — expected in October, when the deal closes. Yesterday’s announcement came two months after Nokia disclosed the plan as part of its aim to slash 7,000 jobs worldwide as it strives to cut costs by US$1.5 billion by 2013 and catch up with rivals in the smartphone market.

FORESTRY

Sino-Forest Corp sued

Canadian-listed Chinese forest company Sino-Forest Corp (嘉漢林業) and its auditors are facing class action lawsuits following the meltdown of its shares amid allegations of accounting fraud. On Monday, two Canadian plaintiffs’ firms, Siskinds LLP and Koskie Minsky LLP, filed a US$6.5 billion lawsuit against Sino-Forest, its directors and officers, auditor Ernst & Young LLP and consulting firm Poyry Beijing. The lawsuit, which seeks class certification on behalf of Sino-Forest investors, said the company issued misleading financial statements, including prospectuses for stock offerings that raised almost US$950 million from investors.

RETAIL

GOME sues former boss

Chinese electrical appliance giant GOME (國美) has filed a lawsuit against its ex-chairman for allegedly damaging the firm’s reputation in a media interview, in the latest controversy to hit the company. Hong Kong-listed GOME said it had filed the suit in a Beijing court against Chen Xiao (陳曉) over comments he made in an article published in the 21st Century Business Herald, a Chinese publication, on May 10. GOME claimed the article, in which Chen described the events leading up to his departure from the firm in March, caused “financial damages to the company’s reputation and operations,” GOME said in a statement on Tuesday.

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