Sharp rises on panel news
Sharp Corp’s share price yesterday rose to its highest in a month after saying Foxconn Technology Group (富士康科技集團), which has agreed to invest in the Japanese television maker, will start buying its panels earlier than it had planned. The stock closed at the day’s high of ￥424, up 8.2 percent and its highest since May 2. The stock was the second-best performer on Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average, which rose 2 percent. Foxconn will start buying from Sharp’s TV panel unit next quarter, three months earlier than planned under an agreement in March, Sharp president Takashi Okuda told reporters on Friday.
Top Chinese officials quizzed
State media reports say the bosses of China’s postal bank and of a regional city lender are among the latest financial bigwigs caught up in corruption investigations. The China Securities Journal and other reports yesterday said that Postal Savings Bank (郵政儲蓄銀行) governor Tao Liming (陶禮明) was recently detained for questioning. The reports gave no details, but said that past government audits had found fault with the postal bank’s governance. Separately, the financial magazine Caixin and other reports said Zhuang Yonghui (莊永輝), former chairman of Yantai Bank (煙台銀行), was being questioned in a corruption case that has implicated more than a dozen people. The bank’s former president was arrested earlier this year on embezzlement charges.
Telefonica selling Unicom
Spanish phone company Telefonica is selling about half its stake in China Unicom (中國聯通) back to the Chinese state-owned phone carrier for HK$11 billion (US$1.4 billion). Unicom said on Sunday it had agreed to buy about 1.1 billion shares from Telefonica at HK$10.21 a share. The shares represent a 4.56 percent stake. After the deal, Telefonica will still own 5 percent of Unicom, whose shares are traded in Hong Kong. The deal is expected to close by the end of next month. Telefonica’s first-quarter profit plunged 54 percent, in large part due to a write-down of the value of an investment in Italy.
Flybe profit plunges
Flybe, Europe’s largest regional airline, posted a steep fall in full-year profit, hit by tough economic conditions in Britain and rising fuel costs. The British carrier yesterday reported underlying earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and restructuring of ￡88.8 million (US$136.9 million) for the year ending March. Group revenues rose 3.3 percent to ￡615.3 million. It described the performance, which was hit by a 5 percent decline in its core UK market and ￡3.7 million of losses at its Flybe Europe division, “disappointing.”
Tesco Q1 sales drop 1.5%
Tesco, Britain’s biggest retailer, posted a fall in UK underlying sales in its first quarter. The firm, which accounts for about one in every ￡10 spent in British shops, yesterday said sales at British stores open more than a year, excluding fuel and VAT sales tax, fell 1.5 percent in the 13 weeks to May 26. That compares with analyst forecasts of a fall of 1 to 2 percent, according to a Reuters poll, and a decline of 1.6 percent in the fourth quarter to Feb. 25, which included a fall of 2.3 percent over the Christmas trading period that prompted the retailer’s first profit warning in more than 20 years.