Exports return to growth
Exports increased by 2.3 percent in January from the previous month — returning to growth after a sharp decline at the end of last year. The Federal Statistical Office said yesterday that the nation, Europe’s biggest economy, exported goods and services worth 85.9 billion euros (US$113.4 billion) in January. The month-on-month gain followed a 4.4 percent drop in December last year. Imports in January were up 2.4 percent at 72.8 billion euros following a 3.9 percent fall in December.
Siemens, Greece reach deal
German electronics giant Siemens and Greece have reached a 270 million euro deal to end a decade-old bribery scandal, the Greek Ministry of Finance said on Thursday. Siemens will hand over 90 million euros to the Greek government to help it fight corruption and 80 million euros to help it pay off debts. In addition, the German group promised to “invest 100 million euros in Greece in 2012,” and “examine the possibility of setting up a 60 million euro production plant” in the country, the ministry said.
Apple patent case rejected
Apple Inc lost a bid to file a patent-infringement complaint against Eastman Kodak Co and restart litigation over ownership of a patent that Kodak intends to sell while in bankruptcy. US bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper in Manhattan on Thursday denied Apple’s request to file a complaint with the International Trade Commission and attempt to unfreeze a patent lawsuit pending between the companies. The patents cover technologies used in printers, digital cameras and digital picture frames, Apple said.
Qantas, Malaysia deal fails
Qantas Airways said it had failed to strike a deal with Malaysia Airlines as part of its plans to set up a new premium airline in Asia. The Australian flagship carrier said in a statement yesterday that it was unable to reach mutually agreeable commercial terms on a partnership with Kuala Lumpur-based Malaysia Airlines. Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said Asia remains a priority for the airline. He announced last month that Qantas had started discussions with existing and potential partners about a new, Asia-based premium carrier.
TI reduces Q1 sales forecast
Texas Instruments Inc (TI), the world’s largest maker of analog semiconductors, reduced its first-quarter sales and profit forecasts, citing lower demand for products that let wireless devices connect and run applications. Revenue would be between US$2.99 billion and US$3.11 billion, the company said in a statement on Thursday. Analysts on average had estimated US$3.16 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Net income would be between US$0.15 and US$0.19 a share, Texas Instruments said, compared with a projection of US$0.21.
ABN Amro profits fall
ABN Amro NV, the state-owned Dutch bank, said yesterday that its “underlying” profit fell by 11 percent last year as the Netherlands’ economy fell into recession and the bank wrote down the value of its holdings of bonds insured by the Greek government. Underlying profit — a nonstandard figure — was 960 million euros. Net profit was 665 million euros, from a loss of 417 million euros last year, with large one-time charges and gains distorting figures in both years.
NOT ALL GOOD: Analysts warned that other data for last month might be less rosy due to the virus and analysts expect the PMI to contract again next month Chinese factory activity saw surprise growth last month as businesses went back to work following a lengthy shutdown, but analysts said that the economy faces a challenging recovery as external demand has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, while the World Bank said that growth could screech to a halt. China is slowly returning to life after months of tough restrictions aimed at containing the virus, which put millions of people into virtual house arrest and brought economic activity to a near standstill. The strict measures saw a closely watched gauge of manufacturing plunge to its lowest level on record in February,
The output of the global smartphone industry this year is to contract by 7.8 percent on an annual basis as the COVID-19 pandemic ushers in a global recession, Taipei-based market researcher TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) said in a report on Monday. The global production of smartphones is expected to fall to 1.29 billion units, as the pandemic dampens demand for consumer electronics, leading to a decline in shipments across Europe and North America, TrendForce said. With consumers delaying smartphone purchases and thereby lengthening the device replacement cycle, overall prices would suffer a setback that is expected to negatively affect the profitability of smartphone
ELECTRONICS Lite-On delays sale of unit Lite-On Technology Corp (光寶科技) yesterday said it would postpone the sale of its solid-state drives (SSD) business to Kioxia Holdings Corp, formerly known as Toshiba Memory Holdings Corp, due to disruptions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the Taiwan-based electronics components supplier struck the deal with the Japanese firm, agreeing to sell the unit for US$165 million. Citing unfinished integration work due to the pandemic, Lite-On has deferred today’s closing date until further notice, adding that the delay would not have a negative effect on the unit’s operations. AUTO PARTS Hiroca approves dividend Automotive interior parts supplier Hiroca
ALL ABOUT STRATEGY: The company is optimistic, saying that its gross margin should increase year-on-year, but it is scaling back on its plans to expand capacity Quang Viet Enterprise Co (QVE, 廣越), which makes down jackets and garments for sportswear and outdoor brands including Adidas AG, yesterday said that revenue might drop 5 to 10 percent annually this year as some customers trimmed orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. That would mark its first revenue decline since 2016. Quang Viet posted record-high revenue of NT$16.26 billion (US$537.45 million) last year, up 22 percent from 2018. Down jackets made up 40 percent of it revenue last year. North Face Inc and Patagonia Inc are this year likely to reduce orders by 20 to 30 percent from a