Ford profit beats estimates
Ford Motor Co, the No. 2 US automaker, posted a higher-than-expected profit for the first quarter on Friday as the strength of its core North American unit offset weak results overseas, particularly in Europe, and higher taxes. The automaker reported first-quarter net income of US$1.4 billion, or US$0.35 per share, down from US$2.55 billion or US$0.61 a share a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, Ford reported a profit of US$0.39 per share, compared with analysts’ estimates of US$0.35. However, Ford shares were down 1.9 percent at US$11.65 on Friday afternoon, as analysts said the company’s annual profit outlook suggested that second-quarter results will fall short of estimates. Analysts project Ford will earn US$0.42 per share in the second quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Ford said earlier this month that it would lose market share in the US this year as consumer demand for cars and trucks is outstripping its capacity to build them.
GDP target slashed
Ireland on Friday slashed its growth forecast for this year to 0.7 percent from last December’s budget estimate of 1.3 percent as depressed consumer demand drags on the eurozone economy’s recovery. The government also revised next year’s GDP growth forecast from 2.4 percent to 2.2 percent. The Irish economy returned to growth last year, the first time since 2007; last year’s underlying deficit was 9.4 percent of GDP, significantly ahead of the EU/IMF target of 10.6 percent of GDP; and the government’s revenues are increasing, Finance Minister Michael Noonan said in a statement.
S&P downgrades Nokia
Standard & Poor’s (S&P) on Friday downgraded Nokia’s credit rating by one notch and warned that it may reduce it again unless the company’s performance improves. The rating agency said it was lowering the Finnish company’s long-term corporate credit rating to “BB+” from “BBB-” and its short-term corporate credit rating to “B” from “A-3.” The downgrade came after Nokia Corp posted huge first-quarter losses and a 30 percent drop in sales and a report earlier on Friday estimated Samsung Electronics Co had overtaken it as the world’s largest maker of mobile phones. “We now expect Nokia to report significantly lower margins and cash flows in 2012 than we had previously expected,” S&P said.
Fired CEO gets US$16.4m
Former Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz received a compensation package valued at US$16.4 million in her final year on the job, including a US$3 million severance payment after the troubled Internet company abruptly fired her in September last year. Bartz, now 63, stands to make even more from the nearly 386,000 shares of restricted stock and nearly 416,000 stock options that vested upon her ouster, according to regulatory filing from Yahoo Inc on Friday. Options and awards she got earlier in the year tallied at US$12 million. She also could still reap a windfall from 5 million stock options that she received when the company hired her in January 2009. None of those 5 million options have vested because Yahoo’s stock has not yet hit any of the required price targets. Last year’s package of US$16.4 million represented a 37 percent increase from 2010’s package of US$11.9 million. In 2009, Bartz ranked among corporate America’s best-paid CEOs with a package valued at US$47.2 million.
DEVELOPING TALENT: The electronics contractor is looking to recruit people to work in core tech fields and emerging industries like electric cars and robotics Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), the world’s largest contract electronics maker, has launched a recruitment drive, offering a monthly salary of no less than NT$45,000 (US$1,485) to university graduates. For those with a master’s degree, the starting pay would be NT$52,000 per month at the minimum, while doctorate degree holders would receive at least NT$60,000 a month, Hon Hai said a statement issued early this week. The latest recruitment drive is aimed at attracting talent in core technology fields — artificial intelligence, semiconductors and next-generation mobile communications — and emerging industries — electric vehicles, digital healthcare and robotics, the
MRT TRAVEL FALLS: In February, ridership on the Taipei MRT System fell 8.96 percent from an average of 2.01 million per day in January Scooter sales jumped 13 percent last month as more commuters turned to two-wheelers to avoid public transportation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the latest statistics showed. Sales expanded to 74,493 units last month, compared with 65,913 units in February, statistics released on Wednesday by Kwang Yang Motor Co (光陽工業) and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications showed. In the first quarter, aggregate sales slid 0.51 percent year-over-year to 186,627 units, from 187,580 units, data showed. Kwang Yang, the nation’s biggest scooter manufacturer, continued to lead the market by selling 24,136 vehicles last month, growing 6.12 percent from 20,785 units in the previous month, while
Asustek Computer Inc (華碩), the nation’s leading PC vendor, yesterday launched its first dual-screen gaming laptop powered by Intel Corp’s latest central processing units (CPUs). The PC manufacturer’s announcement closely followed the US chipmaker’s unveiling of its 10th Generation Core H-series, the fastest commercial mobile processors with speeds of up to 5 gigahertz. Although Asustek’s Zephyrus Duo 15, the highlight of its Republic of Gamers line, is not the company’s first laptop with two screens, it is its first designed specifically for gaming. Nestled between the primary display panel and the keyboard, the secondary display, which Asustek calls the ScreenPad Plus, is angled
NO ILL EFFECT: Last month’s data mainly reflected deals made in February, when the spread of COVID-19 was still relatively mild in Taiwan, housing brokers said Housing transactions in the six special municipalities totaled 19,824 units last month, up 7.8 percent from a year earlier, brokers said, citing government data. Last month’s data mainly reflected deals made in February, when the pinch of the COVID-19 pandemic was not yet evident, they said. Taoyuan posted the largest improvement, with housing transactions soaring 36.6 percent year-on-year to 3,676 units, local government data showed. Taiwan Realty Co (台灣房屋) attributed the pickup to the completion of two presale residential projects in the municipality. Houses in Taoyuan have increasingly gained in popularity in the past few year years due to relatively affordable home prices and