IBM income jumps 7%
Information technology giant IBM said on Thursday that its net income jumped 7 percent last year, driven by surging business in dynamic emerging economies. Net income for the year hit US$15.9 billion on revenues of US$106.9 billion, also up 7 percent for the year. Earnings per share (EPS) rose 13 percent to US$13.06, the ninth straight year EPS scored double-digit growth, the company said. The company said revenues in the BRIC countries — Brazil, Russia, India and China — increased 10 percent.
IKEA profits up 10.3%
IKEA says its profit jumped 10.3 percent last year as the Swedish furniture retailer increased sales despite economic uncertainty in some of its key markets. IKEA said yesterday it made a net profit of 2.97 billion euros (US$3.81 billion) in the year ended Aug. 31, while revenue grew 6.9 percent to 25.17 billion euros. CEO Mikael Ohlsson said IKEA is examining the details of recent legislation that will open up India to foreign companies and allow large single-brand retailers to own 100 percent of their stores there.
American Express income up
American Express Co, the biggest credit-card issuer by purchases, reported a 12 percent increase in fourth-quarter net income as card spending reached a record. Net income was US$1.19 billion, or US$1.01 a share, compared with US$1.06 billion, or US$0.88, a year earlier, the New York-based lender said on Thursday. “Cardmembers spent a record amount on their American Express cards, continuing a trend that has translated into overall share gains during the last two years,” CEO Kenneth Chenault said in the statement. “The overall recovery in the US remains uneven and the environment in Europe continues to pose challenges for the global economy.”
Fifty-year bonds issued
Austria has issued 50-year bonds for the first time in its history, the federal financing agency said on Thursday. The offering raised 2 billion euros (US$2.58 billion) with the yield at 3.837 percent, slightly higher than the 3.434 percent rate for 3 billion euros’ of 10-year bonds issued the same day, the state agency said. The move comes after Austria last week lost its cherished “AAA” rating from Standard & Poor’s, although it retains the top credit rank with fellow rating agencies Fitch and Moody’s.
Merck pays up over Vioxx
Pharmaceutical giant Merck said on Thursday it has agreed to pay up to C$36.8 million (US$36.3 million) to resolve all suits brought against it in Canada over its former hit painkiller Vioxx. Merck voluntarily withdrew the popular medicine, known by its generic name Rofecoxib, from the market in 2004 after interim clinical trials linked the drug to a higher risk of heart attacks and stroke. Since then Merck has faced numerous lawsuits over the medicine from customers.
Ford workers get bonuses
Ford is giving pay raises and bonuses to about 20,000 workers, mainly in the US and Canada. Letters sent to workers last week say they will get 2.7 percent raises on April 1. They will also get bonuses based on performance. Spokeswoman Marcey Evans says the raises are needed to keep pay competitive with other Fortune 100 companies. Ford Motor Co made US$6.6 billion in the first three quarters of last year.