News Corp beats forecasts
News Corp on Wednesday reported a strong gain in quarterly profits, boosted by Hollywood entertainment and cable television operations in the US, Asia and Latin America. The conglomerate controlled by magnate Rupert Murdoch said profits in the fiscal third quarter ended March 31 leapt 47 percent to US$937 million, beating most analyst forecasts, as revenues rose 2 percent to US$8.4 billion. The company said lower revenue growth was due to advertising declines at the Australian and British newspapers, as well as the closing of the News of the World.
Outlook good: Rio Tinto
Rio Tinto chairman Jan du Plessis yesterday said he was more confident about the global outlook than he was six months ago, with demand for commodities expected to double over the next 20 years. The global miner’s chief said the world continued to face volatility driven by the European crisis, but the company was optimistic about promising signs of recovery in the US. Du Plessis told the company’s annual general meeting in Brisbane that despite China growing more slowly than in recent years, “the rate of growth is still very favorable in comparison to global economic growth.”
ArcelorMittal profit plunges
ArcelorMittal, the world’s biggest steelmaker, yesterday said first-quarter net profit plunged to US$11 million from US$1.069 billion for the same period a year ago. However, the results were an improvement over the fourth quarter last year, when the company posted a US$1 billion loss. In a statement, ArcelorMittal chairman and CEO Lakshmi Mittal said demand in North American continued to grow, driven in part by the automotive sector and white and yellow good sectors. White goods are heavy consumer durables such as air conditioners, refrigerators and stoves. Yellow goods are materials for construction and earth-moving equipment.
Zurich Financial profit up
Swiss insurer Zurich Financial Group yesterday said net profit in the first quarter surged 78 percent to a better-than-forecast US$1.1 billion. The group also said in a statement that its business volume increased 10 percent to US$19.6 billion. The combined ratio, used by insurance companies to indicate how well they are performing in daily operations, improved to 94.6 percent from 103.6 year on year. A ratio below 100 means the company is receiving more money in premiums than paying out in claims. The net profit figure beat market expectations, with analysts surveyed by the AWP financial agency having predicted it would stand at US$1 billion.
SIA eyeing India, China
Singapore Airlines (SIA) yesterday said it was exploring partnerships in India and China as it looks to guard against increased competition and global economic uncertainty. “There is always a constant look at how we can be nimble in response to changes in the market,” chief executive Goh Choon Phong told reporters a day after the group announced sharply lower profits for the fiscal year to March. SIA’s profit slumped 69 percent year on year to S$336 million (US$268.8 million). However, on a sequential basis, that represented an improvement from a net loss of S$38.2 million in the fourth quarter, only the third quarterly loss in its history.