High-tech to drive buying
New high-tech devices will get US consumers to open their wallets for the upcoming holiday season, driving retail spending higher, a survey showed on Tuesday. The Consumer Electronics Association found overall holiday spending is expected to increase 11 percent this year while spending on consumer electronics gifts also likely will increase. On average, consumers plan to spend US$1,634 overall this holiday, up 11 percent from last year, the survey found. Consumers plan to allocate US$842 from their overall budget to gifts, up 9 percent from last year, and US$252 of that will be for consumer electronics, it said.
IBM Q3 earnings unchanged
IBM says its third-quarter earnings remained unchanged from a year ago despite an unexpected charge and a steeper drop in revenue than analysts anticipated. The results announced on Tuesday showed IBM Corp earned US$3.8 billion, or US$3.33 per share, in the July-September period. The company delivered the same net income a year ago, but its per-share earnings were US$0.14 lower last year because the company had more outstanding stock then. Revenue for the quarter fell 5 percent from last year to US$24.7 billion. That figure was about US$1 billion below analyst projections.
ASML offers to buy Cymer
ASML Holding NV, the biggest supplier of equipment to semiconductor manufacturers, has offered to buy Cymer Inc of the US for around US$2.55 billion in cash and shares. Cymer makes the focused beams of light that ASML uses in its lithography machines, which trace out the circuitry of computer chips. ASML said its offer of US$20 in cash and 1.1502 ASML shares per Cymer share represents a 61 percent premium to Cymer’s average closing price over the past month. Cymer shares closed at US$47.83 on Tuesday. Also yesterday, ASML reported third quarter earnings of 322.6 million euros (US$422.4 million), down from 350.1 million euros a year ago. Sales fell 16 percent to 1.29 billion euros.
FOOD AND BEVERAGE
Danone reports solid sales
Yogurt maker Danone says its sales grew solidly in the third quarter of the year, driven by its booming waters business and strong growth in Asia. The company behind Activia yogurt yesterday said revenue grew 9.4 percent in the July-to-September period to 5.3 billion euros. The Paris-based maker of Evian bottled water warned this year that the economic slowdown in Europe would hit its performance. Its third-quarter sales were flat for the region, which accounts for about half of its revenue. However, Asian sales grew by 28 percent.
A123 files for bankruptcy
Short of cash and hurting from weak sales of electric cars, battery maker A123 Systems Inc filed for bankruptcy protection on Tuesday and quickly sold its automotive assets. The moves came one day after the company warned it likely would miss debt payments and could be headed for restructuring. Auto parts maker Johnson Controls Inc will buy the company’s automotive business for US$125 million. A123 has struggled for several years as Americans have been slow to embrace electric cars. The company has yet to post a profit and lost US$83 million in the second quarter. Just two months ago, A123 announced a US$450 million lifeline from Chinese auto parts maker Wanxiang Group Corp (萬向集團), but A123 said in a statement that the deal has been scrapped.