Factory production rises
Factory production rose for the first time in two months as auto and machinery makers expanded output while bracing for global headwinds. Factory production in October rose 2.4 percent from the previous month, the government said yesterday. In September, it slumped 3.3 percent. Autos, general machinery and chemicals drove the latest increase, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s preliminary report. It described industrial production as “flat” and expects another dip this month. It estimates a 0.1 percent decline for last month and a 2.7 percent rise this month.
Growth slows drastically
Economic growth slowed to 6.9 percent year-on-year in the last quarter, the country’s lowest in over two years, hit by a string of rate hikes and a weakening global economy, data showed yesterday. The last time the economy expanded at below 7 percent was in the financial quarter to June 2009 as Western economies were emerging from the global financial crisis. The figure for the July-to-September second quarter was in line with market forecasts. However, it was sharply below 7.7 percent expansion in the April-to-June quarter and 8.4 percent growth posted in the second quarter a year ago.
Toshiba to close three plants
Electronics and manufacturing giant Toshiba Corp said yesterday it is to shut three semiconductor factories in Japan as part of a reorganization of its business, as it grapples with falling profits. It also said it would slow production at a number of plants during the winter because of the drop-off in demand for electronic goods in the West, where battered economies are showing few signs of life. Toshiba said the closure of the facilities would mean moving production to three other existing factories, allowing the company “to strengthen cost competitiveness and focus on higher value added products.” Toshiba last month announced net profit in the six months to September had dropped 18.5 percent.
Facebook to add protections
Facebook has settled complaints that it disregarded its users’ privacy, agreeing to establish a raft of measures to better protect its 800 million members’ data. The settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday will require Facebook to obtain its users’ consent for certain changes to privacy settings and subject Facebook to 20 years of independent audits. To ensure that Facebook does a better job, co-founder Mark Zuckerberg said the company had created two new corporate privacy officer positions to oversee Facebook products and policy.
Firm makes offer to Yahoo
A group of investors led by private-equity firm Silver Lake offered to buy a minority stake in Yahoo Inc for about US$16.60 a share, according to people with knowledge of the matter. That was lower than an offer made by private-equity firm TPG Capital, said two of the people. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴), aiming to buy back the stake in itself owned by Yahoo, is monitoring the situation and might still enter the bidding, another person said. Silver Lake’s offer values Sunnyvale, California-based Yahoo at US$20.6 billion, about 6 percent higher than its capitalization at Tuesday’s close. Yahoo aims to wrap up the deal by the end of the year, people said.