Morgan Stanley to axe staff
Morgan Stanley expects to reduce payroll by just over 1,000 employees by the end of this year as part of a plan to cut its headcount by 7 percent as measured from the end of last year, as it prepares for weak global economic growth and low trading volume, the investment bank said on Thursday. Morgan Stanley reported a 24 percent decline to US$6.95 billion in second-quarter revenue, with revenue in its main businesses — investment banking, wealth management and asset management — dropping in the quarter. The bank posted a profit of US$564 million, or US$0.29 per share, in the second quarter, compared with a loss of US$558 million, or US$0.38 per share, a year earlier.
Nokia’s net loss soars
Nokia’s net loss nearly quadrupled in the second quarter on sagging sales of smartphones, a market in which the company is struggling to regain ground lost to rivals including Apple and Samsung. Nokia on Thursday posted a net loss of 1.41 billion euros (US$1.72 billion), compared with a loss of a 368 million euros in the same period last year. Overall sales were down 19 percent to 7.54 billion euros, not as low as analysts’ forecast of 7.36 billion euros, according to financial data provider FactSet. Smartphone sales were the weak point, dropping 34 percent to 1.54 billion euros, as shipments of the new Lumia devices could not make up for a slump in demand for the older models.
Heineken eyes Tiger stake
Heineken said yesterday it is offering US$4.1 billion to buy out its partner in the Singapore-based maker of Tiger beer, attempting to neutralize a Thai tycoon’s competing bid for influence over the brand as the Dutch brewer expands in emerging markets. Heineken said it has made a proposal to the board of Fraser & Neave Ltd, which shares ownership of the Tiger beer brewer Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd with Heineken, to pay S$50 a share for F&N’s nearly 40 percent stake. The offer is worth S$5.1 billion (US$4.1 billion) and would give Heineken about an 82 percent stake in APB. If the offer is accepted, Heineken would spend a further S$2.4 billion to buy out the minority APB shareholders.
iPad hits China market
Apple Inc released its newest iPad in China yesterday after settling a lawsuit over ownership of its name and requiring buyers to place orders in advance to control crowds. Apple cleared a potential legal hurdle to the release when it paid US$60 million this month to settle a dispute with a local company, Shenzhen Proview Technology Ltd (深圳唯冠), over ownership of the iPad name. China is Apple’s second-largest market after the US and the source of much of the California-based company’s sales growth.
Growth may be slowing
The country’s finance ministry says economic growth likely slowed somewhat in the second quarter — pointing to weaker industrial production figures and slipping business confidence. The country’s economy, Europe’s biggest, grew by 0.5 percent in the January-to-March period compared with the previous quarter —helping to keep the 17-nation eurozone out of recession. The finance ministry said in its monthly report yesterday that second-quarter growth likely was “somewhat lower” and said indicators point to a “moderate development” for the rest of the year. Official second-quarter GDP figures are due on Aug. 14.