Samsung to boost handsets
Samsung Electronics Co, the world’s second-largest handset maker, said it aims to double sales of smartphones and tablet computers this year with a wider range of Galaxy-branded devices, intensifying competition with Apple Inc. Samsung, which shipped about 97 million smartphones last year, plans to introduce a successor to the Galaxy S II in the first half of the year and other models later, the company said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. Samsung sold a record 300 million handsets, including basic models last year, helped by the popularity of its Galaxy products that run Google Inc’s Android software. The company expects to sell about 380 million handsets this year, J.K. Shin, head of the mobile business, said in Barcelona, Spain, on Sunday.
Olympus names president
Scandal-hit Olympus yesterday named current board member and executive officer Hiroyuki Sasa as its new president after one of the biggest financial scandals in Japanese corporate history. Olympus plans to hold an extraordinary general meeting on April 20, at which shareholders will be asked to approve the new 11-member management board, which includes eight people from outside the company. The firm nominated former Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp senior managing director Yasuyuki Kimoto as its next chairman and former executive of the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Hideaki Fujizuka as a director. Three current board members, including Sasa, were nominated to lead the company, while six other outside directors were also appointed to the task of rebuilding the under-fire camera and medical equipment maker.
Severstal to invest in Russia
OAO Severstal, Russia’s second-largest steel producer by volume, plans to invest US$1.7 billion this year in its factories and mines in Russia and the US to boost output. Sevestal plans capital expenditures of US$905 million in its Russian steel operations and US$659 million on its mining units, including new projects in Liberia and Brazil, it said in a statement yesterday. Another US$104 million is earmarked for improving its US operations.
Cookson’s profits rise 18%
British industrial materials group Cookson yesterday reported profit for last year above market estimates helped by strength at its two core divisions and signaled further growth this year. Cookson, whose products are used in the glass and solar industries as well as by steelmakers and foundries, said full-year pretax profit rose 18 percent to ￡261.5 million (US$414.6 million), beating consensus estimates of ￡250.8 million. Sales rose 11 percent to ￡2.83 billion, in line with estimates. Sales at the company’s engineered ceramics unit were up 13 percent, while revenue at Cookson’s performance materials unit was up 13 percent. The two units together account for nearly 90 percent of group sales.
Essar’s earnings fall 10%
India-focused refiner and power generator Essar Energy said core earnings fell 10 percent last year, falling short of forecasts due to weaker refining margins and depreciation of the Indian rupee in the second half of the year. It posted full-year earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of US$624.8 million. That compared with US$696.5 million in 2010 and the US$685 million average of 10 analysts’ forecasts supplied by the company.