Tue, Jul 31, 2012 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

SPAIN

Economy contracts 0.4%

Spain’s downturn deepened in the second quarter, with the economy shrinking 0.4 percent after contracting 0.3 percent in the first three months of the year, official data showed yesterday. The figures from the national statistics institute INE confirmed Bank of Spain data issued last week, compounding the problems the government faces in an economy expected not to return to growth until 2014. INE said the second-quarter outcome reflected “weaker domestic demand, which was offset in part by a positive contribution from external demand.”

AUTOMAKERS

Mitsubishi cuts profit target

Mitsubishi Motors yesterday halved its full-year profit forecast due to the impact of selling a Dutch factory, but the Japanese automaker said its latest quarterly earnings surged. The nation’s sixth-biggest automaker by sales said it now expected to earn a net profit of ¥13 billion (US$166 million) in the fiscal year through March, down from an earlier forecast of ¥25 billion. The company’s profit for the April-June period nearly quadrupled to ¥20 billion, largely because of gains from selling shares in a Chinese auto joint venture, which offset lower car sales and damage from a strong yen.

TECHNOLOGY

Hitachi’s net profit doubles

Japanese high-tech firm Hitachi yesterday said net profit almost doubled in the fiscal first quarter, but warned about turmoil in the European market and a slowdown in China. The firm said it earned ¥7 billion in the three months to June, up from just ¥2.93 billion a year earlier, on stronger sales in its construction machinery, power and automotive systems businesses. Sales in the period were ¥2.12 trillion, down about 1 percent. Hitachi kept its fiscal year through March outlook unchanged, expecting to book a ¥200 billion net profit on sales of ¥9.1 trillion.

AIRLINES

Air France-KLM loss widens

Air France-KLM yesterday said its net loss ballooned to 895 million euros (US$1.1 billion) in the second quarter, compared with a loss of 197 million euros a year earlier, after it took a hefty charge to pay for restructuring that will see it shed about 10 percent of its work force. Revenue rose 4.5 percent to 6.5 billion euros in the second quarter, lifted by a 2.4 percent increase in passenger traffic, the company said. In a statement the airline said its accounts included a 368 million euros provision to pay for restructuring that is expected to eliminate 5,122 jobs out of a work force of 49,301.

AIRCRAFT

Boeing plane under probe

Boeing Co says federal regulators are investigating after one of its new 787 jets had an engine issue that sparked a fire in South Carolina, but the company remains confident about the aircraft’s safety. The jet is one of Boeing’s most critical products. The Chicago company delivered the first 787, known as the Dreamliner, last year following several years of design and production delays. Boeing said on Sunday that a 787 had an engine issue on Saturday while undergoing preflight runway testing in North Charleston, South Carolina. The Post and Courier newspaper of Charleston reported that debris from the aircraft fell on the runway at Charleston International Airport and sparked a fire in the nearby grass, which closed the airport for more than an hour.

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