Automakers’ production rises
Major automakers yesterday reported huge production increases for last month, as the hard-hit sector recovers from the devastating impact of last year’s quake and tsunami. Toyota, the nation’s biggest automaker, said output at its local factories surged more than three-fold to 352,973 vehicles last month, while overseas production rose 64.8 percent in the period to 439,988. Honda Motor said its production at home skyrocketed 514.4 percent to 87,049 vehicles, while foreign output climbed by 112.5 percent to 264,614. Nissan’s production, meanwhile, jumped 94.0 percent to 85,734 at home, while overseas production rose 39.2 percent to 283,788.
Hyundai wins US$700m order
South Korean shipbuilding giant Hyundai Heavy Industries has won a US$700 million order from a Norwegian company to build the world’s largest semi-submersible oil rig, it said yesterday. Hyundai said the rig would be delivered to Norway’s Fred Olsen Energy in March 2015 and would be used in the North Sea. The world’s largest shipbuilder by sales said the contract includes an option to order an additional rig.
Slowdown may hurt rating
A prolonged collapse in the country’s economic growth could bring the nation’s sovereign credit rating down, while continued macroeconomic stability might help raise the rating, Moody’s Investors Service said. Severe deterioration in trade relations might also harm the rating, Moody’s said yesterday. The rating would be helped by “robust government finances” and strengthening of the financial system, Moody’s said.
Hastie Group suspended
Australian engineering business Hastie Group Ltd has appointed administrators who have suspended operations in Australia and the Middle East after refinancing negotiations with banks collapsed. Voluntary administration in Australia is similar to bankruptcy protection in the US, and can buy a company time to trade out of its financial problems. The administrator, PPB Advisory, said in a statement yesterday it was suspending Hastie’s mechanical, electrical and plumbing businesses in Australia and the Middle East because they had insufficient funds to continue operating.
Diageo to buy Ypioca
Diageo PLC agreed to buy the Brazilian cachaca brand Ypioca as the world’s biggest distiller expands in faster-growing emerging markets. Diageo will buy Ypioca and some production assets from Ypioca Agroindustrial Limitada for 900 million reais (US$453 million) in cash, it said yesterday in a statement. The transaction will be completed in about a month. Cachaca, the main ingredient in a caipirinha cocktail, is the most popular liquor in Brazil, the company said. Ypioca, which is the second-largest brand by value and third-largest by volume, had annual sales of about 177 million reais last year.
Rinehart ups Fairfax stake
The world’s richest woman, Gina Rinehart, has increased her stake in Australian media group Fairfax, the company said yesterday, as she lashed out at the chairman after being denied a board seat. Rinehart, who has a fortune of A$29.17 billion (US$28.48 billion) according to an annual index by Business Review Weekly, increased her holding to more than 13 percent from the 12.8 percent she bought in February.