Economy likely shrank
The economy, Europe’s biggest, is likely to have shrunk by about 0.25 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, the national statistics office Destatis said yesterday. “The economy is likely to have contracted by around a quarter of a [percentage] point in the fourth quarter,” Destatis official Norbert Raeth, told a news conference, without providing an exact estimate. The statistics office said earlier that while GDP expanded by a robust 3 percent over the whole of last year, most of the growth was seen in the first six months of the year.
Fed paid out US$76.9bn
The Federal Reserve paid the federal government US$76.9 billion last year, the second-highest amount in history. The central bank earned the money from investments made to bolster the US economy. The Fed reported that last year’s payment is down from an all-time record of US$79.3 billion made in 2010. Part of the decline reflected lower earnings that the Fed made from its support for insurance giant American International Group, which repaid a loan early last year, cutting the Fed’s interest earnings.
Incheon airport plans casino
The operator of South Korea’s main airport plans to build a US$3 billion casino resort to woo increasingly wealthy travelers from China and elsewhere in Asia, its spokeswoman said yesterday. The new resort is to be built near the airport 50km west of Seoul. The Incheon International Airport Corp is also mulling a bid for Edinburgh Airport as part of efforts to boost sources of income abroad, she said.
Nissan expects new record
Nissan-Renault will achieve another sales record this year after posting a 10 percent jump in global sales to 8.03 million vehicles last year, alliance chief Carlos Ghosn said on Tuesday. The results put Renault-Nissan within sight of German rival Volkswagen, which posted sales of 8.13 million vehicles last year. Nissan’s sales rose 14.4 percent to a record 4.67 million vehicles worldwide last year, while Renault’s sales were up a record 4.6 percent at 2.72 million vehicles, he said. Russia’s Avetovaz, part of the alliance, sold 638,000 vehicles.
Kodak sues Apple, HTC
Eastman Kodak Co has filed patent-infringement lawsuits against Apple Inc and HTC Corp (宏達電), claiming the smartphone makers are infringing several of its digital-imaging inventions. The lawsuits, filed on Tuesday in a US federal court, claim that some of Apple’s iPhones, iPads and iPods and HTC’s smartphones and tablet devices infringe four Kodak patents related to image transmission. It also lodged complaints against HTC and Apple before the US International Trade Commission.
Hostess bankrupt again
Hostess Brands Inc, the maker of Twinkies snack cakes and Wonder Bread in the US, fell back into bankruptcy about three years after completing an earlier restructuring. The Irving, Texas-based baker ended an earlier trip through bankruptcy court in February 2009 when buyout firm Ripplewood Holdings LLC and lenders took control of Interstate Bakeries Corp, which was renamed Hostess Brands. Hostess Brands filed its Chapter 11 petition in the US Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, listing assets of as much as US$1 billion and debt of more than US$1 billion.