Honda ramps US production
Honda Motor is ramping up production in the US and expects to double its US-made vehicle exports in the next few years, a senior Honda official said on Wednesday. Honda will export about 100,000 units this year to markets in Europe, South America and Asia, said Rick Schostek, senior vice president of Honda of America Manufacturing. Last year, Honda’s operations in the US exported 53,000 units outside North America, he said. Schostek announced that Honda will invest US$40 million in an Indiana plant to increase annual production capacity by 50,000 units, to a total of 250,000 vehicles.
Electrolux’s profits rise
Electrolux, the world’s second-largest maker of household appliances, says second-quarter profits rose around 12 percent thanks to stronger sales in emerging markets as well as a round of successful product price increases in North America. The Stockholm-based group, a maker of washing machines, dryers, refrigerators and vacuum cleaners, yesterday reported a net profit of 1.26 billion kronor (US$181 million) in the three-month period, up from 1.14 billion kronor in the same quarter a year ago. Revenues rose to 27.76 billion kronor from 24.14 billion kronor, boosted by sales growth in Latin America, Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe. Although the company continues to report higher raw material costs and weaker demand in Western Europe, it is still increasing its market share there.
UK’s Lloyds sells branches
Lloyds Banking Group has agreed the sale of 632 branches to the Co-Operative Group, concluding a process aimed at boosting competition in British high-street banking and streamlining its business at the behest of regulators. Lloyds — which is 40 percent owned by the UK government — said the Co-Op would pay ￡350 million (US$546.79 million) for the branches and up to ￡400 million in additional payments in a deal creating another major British bank. The deal will bring 4.8 million new customers to Co-Op’s burgeoning brand, including 3.1 million current account holders, and means the Co-Op will run around 1,000 branches, or approximately 10 percent of the UK network.
Industry sales defy recession
Industrial orders rose 1.7 percent in May after a fall the previous month with a 2 percent rise in foreign orders despite a grinding recession, the official ISTAT data agency said yesterday. According to the seasonally adjusted data, ISTAT said in a statement that there was also a 1.6 percent increase in orders from Italy. Industrial orders had fallen by 1.9 percent in April, but orders were still down 9.4 percent in May on a 12-month comparison. The economy entered recession in the second half of last year and is not expected to start recovery until next year. The Bank of Italy on Tuesday predicted an economic contraction of 2 percent this year.
Deustche Bank to cut jobs
Deutsche Bank, Germany’s biggest lender, is to cut 1,000 jobs in its investment banking division, the business daily Handelsblatt reported yesterday, quoting “well-informed financial sources.” The layoffs had become necessary in view of the difficult situation in the financial markets and most of the jobs would be cut outside Germany, with Deutsche Bank likely to unveil them when it publishes its second-quarter results on July 31, the newspaper said. Deutsche Bank declined to comment on the report.