Galaxy S III claim probed
Samsung Electronics Co said it was investigating reports that one of its flagship Galaxy S III smartphones exploded in a user’s car in Ireland. Samsung launched the phone, the strongest rival to Apple’s iPhone, in Europe on May 29 and in the US on Thursday. A Dublin-based consumer posted comments and photographs on a Web site on Wednesday, saying his Galaxy phone exploded while mounted on his car dashboard. There have been other reports of Samsung smartphones overheating or exploding. In March, a South Korean schoolboy reported that a spare battery for his Galaxy S II exploded in his back pocket. Samsung said then that massive external pressure or force caused the explosion.
Sony to raises Olympus share
Japan’s Sony will inject about US$623 million into troubled Olympus as the camera and medical equipment maker rebuilds its finances after a massive cover-up scandal, reports said yesterday. The ￥50 billion deal would make Sony the single biggest Olympus shareholder with more than 10 percent of its stock, according to the Nikkei Shimbun, public broadcaster NHK and other Japanese media. The Nikkei said the companies plan to reach a final deal by next month, but the two firms declined to comment on the story. The latest reports come after earlier stories named Sony, rival Panasonic and Fujifilm among the likely candidates to invest in the scandal-hit firm.
Malaysia Air profit delayed
Loss-making national carrier Malaysia Airlines has put back its target to return to profitability from next year to 2014 following a failed tie-up with rival budget carrier AirAsia. The company said after its annual general meeting on Thursday that a “renewed” business plan — without the cooperation deal — included cutting costs to return to profit by 2014. The troubled airline said it aimed to cut operational costs by 20 percent within three years through measures including axing loss-making routes and concentrating on lucrative routes in Asia as well as possible job losses. The airline also aims to increase revenue per available seat-kilometer by 10 percent, it said.
Household purchasing falls
The purchasing power of households dipped last year, when consumption also slowed, contributing little to economic growth, the national statistics office INSEE said yesterday. INSEE said purchasing power slid 0.1 percent, reversing the rising trend in 2010, when growth of 0.3 percent was recorded, while spending crept up just 0.3 percent last year at constant prices, a sharp slowdown from the pace of 1.4 percent growth a year ago. As such, household consumption contributed just 0.1 percentage points to overall economic growth of 1.7 percent during the year.
Business confidence falls
Business confidence dropped to the lowest level in more than two years this month as companies grow ever gloomier about the fallout from the European debt crisis, data showed yesterday. The Ifo economic institute’s closely watched business climate index fell to 105.3 points this month from 106.9 points last month. That is slightly steeper than expected: Analysts had been penciling in a fall to 105.6 points. It is the second month in a row that the index has fallen and the barometer is now at its lowest level since March 2010.