Google, Yahoo units probed
The government is investigating whether the Indian units of US Internet giants Google Inc and Yahoo Inc might have violated the country’s foreign exchange laws, the Wall Street Journal said in a report. Notices have been sent to the units that they are being investigated for potential violations, the paper said. It cited a senior official at a division of the federal finance ministry, which monitors foreign exchange transactions and money-laundering.
L’Oreal profits rise 8.9%
French cosmetics giant L’Oreal on Monday reported a solid increase in sales and profit for last year, driven by growth in emerging markets, which the company said would surpass western Europe as its most important region this year. Separately, the cosmetics giant announced the end of an era, saying 89-year-old L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, France’s wealthiest woman, is being replaced on the board by her 25-year-old grandson, Jean-Victor Meyers. The company reported that its net profit amounted to 2.44 billion euros (US$3.23 billion) last year, up 8.9 percent from a year earlier. Sales rose 4.3 percent to 20.34 billion euros, it said.
InterContinental profits rise
InterContinental Hotels Group PLC, the world’s largest hotel group by rooms, said profit rose 57 percent last year as business travel recovered, led by the US and Greater China. Net income climbed to US$460 million from US$293 million in 2010, the Denham, England-based company said in a statement yesterday. “Looking ahead, in spite of considerable uncertainty in the eurozone, IHG is well positioned globally to benefit from positive long term industry trends and in particular, growing demand in emerging markets,” InterContinental chief executive officer Richard Solomons said in the statement.
Inflation at two-year low
The country’s headline inflation slipped to a more than two-year low last month, official data showed yesterday, giving the central bank scope to cut interest rates to counter weakening economic growth. The wholesale price index fell to 6.55 percent last month from a year earlier, the lowest in 26 months, thanks mainly to falling prices of food and vegetables. The figure, which marked a decline from December’s inflation of 7.47 percent, reinforced hopes that inflation was on a downward trend. The Reserve Bank of India has raised interest rates 13 times since March 2010 in a bid to bring down inflation. Analysts expect the first interest rate cuts to come in April or March.