POSCO profit down 12%
POSCO, the world’s third-largest steelmaker, reported a 12 percent decline in full-year group profit as the economic slowdown eroded demand and prices for the alloy used in cars, ships and construction fell. Net income dipped to 3.7 trillion won (US$3.3 billion) in the year ended Dec. 31 from 4.19 trillion won a year earlier, according to a regulatory filing yesterday. The company forecast sales this year will probably be in the range of 37.7 trillion won to 41.2 trillion won on a parent basis, compared with 39.17 trillion won last year. Group sales will total 70.6 trillion won to 74.3 trillion won, compared with 68.94 trillion won, it said. POSCO joins China’s Baoshan Iron & Steel Co (寶鋼) and Nippon Steel Corp of Japan in forecasting weaker demand.
Qualcomm lifts sales target
Qualcomm Inc raised its sales and profit expectations for this quarter and the year as the world’s biggest maker of mobile-phone chips benefits from growing demand for smartphones. Sales for the second quarter ending in March may increase to between US$4.6 billion and US$5 billion, the company said in a statement on Wednesday. Analysts were expecting US$4.51 billion, the average of estimates in a Bloomberg survey. Qualcomm lifted forecasts for phone shipments based on strength in India and China and said demand for smartphones is boosting chip revenue and licensing income. Qualcomm’s ownership of CDMA technology gives the San Diego-based firm the ability to charge royalties on all 3G phones and networks, providing most of its profit. Qualcomm is also the largest seller of chips that connect phones to mobile networks.
GDP growth forecast cut
Thailand’s central bank lowered its economic growth estimates for last year for the third time after re-assessing the effect of floods that shuttered thousands of factories in the fourth quarter. The economy was estimated to have expanded 1 percent last year and is expected to grow 4.9 percent this year, the Bank of Thailand said in a statement yesterday. Its prior forecast in November was for growth of 1.8 percent last year and 4.8 percent this year. Central bank policymakers cut interest rates last week for the second consecutive meeting to support a recovery from the worst floods in almost seven decades as slowing global growth erodes demand. The benchmark rate at 3 percent is “appropriate” to buttress the economy without stoking inflation, the Bank of Thailand said. “The economy this year will pick up from last year, driven by local consumption and investment after the floods,” Bandid Nijathaworn, a former bank deputy governor, said before the release.
Samsung, Apple fight on
Samsung Electronics Co is vowing to keep fighting Apple over intellectual property after receiving a boost from a German court ruling that favored the South Korean firm. Germany’s Munich Regional Court on Wednesday reportedly rejected Apple’s request to ban sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 N computer and the Galaxy Nexus smartphone in the country. Apple claims Samsung used its patented touchscreen technology. Samsung welcomed the ruling yesterday and said it would continue to defend itself against Apple’s claims. The ruling came after a separate German court earlier this week banned Samsung from selling its older tablet models in the country. The EU has also said it will investigate whether Samsung is breaching fair competition rules.