GM delays second Volt shift
General Motors Co (GM) is delaying plans to add a second shift at the factory that makes Chevrolet Volt electric cars. The company said on Friday it has found ways to make one shift more efficient, so it can produce the same number of cars as two shifts. Spokesperson Chris Lee said GM still will add 300 workers at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant — but not a second shift — by the end of this year to make more Volts. In May, the company announced it would add a second shift late this year to increase Volt production from 16,000 a year to 60,000. GM said on Friday the change had nothing to do with Volt sales, which have been slower than expected.
Sprint looks to raise funds
Sprint Nextel Corp said it needs to raise more money and signaled it will burn through its cash reserves, raising concerns about the wireless provider’s financial stability and business strategy. Sprint outlined a plan to spend US$7 billion on a network upgrade that it wants to complete by the end of 2013, and chief financial officer Joe Euteneur said Sprint would pay for the upgrade with cash from its balance sheet and by raising capital. The company also flashed a presentation slide saying it expects its liquidity to improve after 2013, implying a tough two years before that. Shares fell 20 percent to close at US$2.41 on Friday, while its credit default swaps rose, reflecting greater concerns about a default risk.
Consumer debt drops
Consumers unexpectedly pared debt in August after 10 straight months of gains amid rising concerns about the economy, central bank data showed on Friday. Consumer credit fell to a seasonally adjusted US$2.44 trillion, a decline at an annual rate of 4.6 percent, the Federal Reserve said. According to the Fed data, the decline in August was led by a drop in nonrevolving credit, such as automobile financing and student loans. Revolving credit, essentially credit-card transactions, fell for the second month running in August, at a rate of 3.4 percent per year.
JAC to build Brazil factory
Chinese automaker JAC Motors (江淮汽車) said on Friday it will invest US$500 million to build a factory in Brazil’s northeastern state of Bahia, its first outside China. The factory, slated to open in 2014, will have the capacity to produce 100,000 units, JAC said in a statement. A total of 3,500 jobs are expected to be created. The investment will be made by the parent company in China together with the SHC Group, which represents its business interests in Brazil. In August, the company put the preliminary value of its investment at US$900 million.
EU approves Skype bid
The European Commission has approved Microsoft Corp’s proposed US$8.5 billion acquisition of the Internet voice and video communication provider Skype, saying the deal would not significantly impede competition in Europe. The approval, announced on Friday, appears to be the final step in the technology giant’s effort to acquire Skype. Brad Smith, general counsel and executive vice president of Microsoft, said in an e-mailed statement that the company is pleased with the decision. Smith says it’s “an important milestone,” because the company has “now received clearance from both the United States and the European Union.” The European Commission is the EU’s executive branch.
‘BIG LOSS’: This year might see the last generation of Huawei’s Kirin chips, as their production would stop next month because they are made using US technology Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co (華為) is running out of processor chips to make smartphones due to US sanctions and would be forced to stop production of its own most advanced chips, a company executive has said, in a sign of growing damage to Huawei’s business from US pressure. Huawei, one of the biggest producers of smartphones and network equipment, is at the center of US-Chinese tension over technology and security. Washington last year cut off Huawei’s access to US components and technology, and those penalties were tightened in May, when the White House barred vendors worldwide from using US
’WHITE BOX’: The open platform would give local firms access to Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop 5G telecom equipment and tap into the global market The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday introduced a new 5G “open lab” in collaboration with US-based information technology and networking giant Cisco Systems Inc to address the rapidly growing “white box” 5G networking equipment market. The open lab will be a platform where Taiwanese manufacturers can access Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop their own 5G telecom equipment, such as small-cell base stations, network switches, modems and Internet of things (IoT) devices, a ministry statement said. The open platform would allow Taiwanese manufacturers to tap into the lucrative 5G telecom equipment market, which was previously monopolized by Nokia Oyj, Ericsson AB
CORPORATE SCANDAL: Cathay Life has invested NT$13.3 billion in Bank Mayapada since 2015, but the latest loss of NT$8.8 billion has completely written off its investment Cathay Life Insurance Co (國泰人壽) yesterday said it would recognize an investment loss of NT$8.8 billion (US$298.1 million) in Indonesia’s Bank Mayapada Internasional Tbk PT due to concerns about the lender’s operations amid a corporate scandal. The company said it would revise its earnings result for June, from a net profit of NT$6.52 billion to a net loss of NT$520 million, its first monthly loss over the past 17 months. After booking an investment loss of NT$5.2 billion in Bank Mayapada earlier this year, Cathay Life has so far recognized total investment losses of NT$14 billion in the lender, executive vice president
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday reported that revenue last month expanded 25 percent annually, but fell 12.8 percent month-on-month to NT$105.96 billion (US$3.59 billion). In the first seven months of this year, the chipmaker’s revenue surged 33.6 percent to NT$727.26 billion, compared with NT$544.46 billion a year earlier. TSMC has said it aims to grow its revenue by more than 20 percent this year. The company has since May 15 stopped taking new orders from Huawei Technologies Co (華為), its second-biggest customer after Apple Inc, due to the US’ restrictions on exports containing US technologies. TSMC has no plans to