Fri, Aug 10, 2012 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

FAST FOOD

McDonald’s recalls tumblers

McDonald’s in Japan said on Wednesday it was recalling giveaway glass tumblers after 78 people reported being injured by the Olympic-themed freebies. The fast food giant said it had received 130 complaints after handing out the tumblers to purchasers of “Value Sets,” which included fries and a soft drink, during their “Olympic Cheer Coke Glass Campaign” in June and last month. McDonald’s said they gave away 6 million tumblers in Japan, some of which had “glass protrusions” on their edges or insides because of a manufacturing error. Company spokesman Kazuyuki Hagiwara said flawed metallic moulds used by the producer of the glasses were to blame.

FOOD AND DRINK

Nestle profits up 8.9%

Swiss food and drinks giant Nestle SA posted a 8.9 percent rise in first-half profits but predicted that the remainder of this year will be challenging. Helped by strong demand from emerging markets, price rises and cost-cutting, the world’s biggest food and beverage maker said its net profit rose to 5.120 billion Swiss francs (US$5.27 billion) from January to June, up from SF4.703 billion in the comparable period last year. The Vevey, Switzerland-based company’s said those profits came on first-half sales of SF44.1 billion, which was 7.5 percent up on last year’s equivalent of SF41 billion a year ago. Nestle said it expects underlying sales growth of 5 to 6 percent for the remainder of the year due to its strong first half.

INSURANCE

Aegon Q2 profits down 50%

Aegon NV, the Dutch insurer that does most of its business in the US, said second quarter net profit fell by more than 50 percent, due to a charge on its Dutch life insurance business. Net profit was 254 million euros (US$314 million), down from 521 million euros in the same period a year ago, including the 265 million euros charge to bring Dutch “unit-linked” plans into line with their current value. The company yesterday said “underlying earnings” — a measure that seeks to strip out asset value reassessments, investment gains and other adjustments to give a clearer picture of the company’s operational performance — was up 2.7 percent to 337 million euros.

BANKING

Commerzbank sees drop

Commerzbank, Germany’s second-biggest bank, yesterday said it expected net profit in the second half of the year to be lower than in the first, with no end to the eurozone debt crisis in sight. “We still do not expect the macro-economic and market environment to stabilise in the second half of 2012. Against this background, we expect net profit in the second half of the year to be below the net profit of the first six months,” Commerzbank said in a statement. Commerzbank said its January-June net profit amounted to 644 million euros, down 36 percent from a year earlier. In the second quarter alone, net profit was down by 25 percent from the preceding three months at 275 million euros.

BANKING

UBS unaware of data theft

UBS AG said it wasn’t aware of any data theft after the Financial Times Deutschland on Wednesday reported that the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia obtained a CD with account information from the Swiss bank on German clients suspected of tax evasion. “We are not aware of having fallen victim to any data theft,” said Yves Kaufmann, a Zurich-based spokesman for UBS.

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