Fri, Oct 26, 2012 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

RARE EARTHS

Chinese firm halts output

China’s biggest rare earths producer has suspended output in an effort to shore up slumping prices of the materials used by makers of mobile phones and other high-tech products. Baotou Steel Rare-Earth Group Hi-tech Co (內蒙古包鋼稀土集團) said in a statement released through the Shanghai Stock Exchange that it suspended production on Tuesday to promote “healthy development” of the rare earths market. It gave no indication when production would resume and phone calls to Baogang were not answered.

AUTOMAKERS

BYD sends cabs to UK

Chinese automaker BYD Co (比亞迪) is sending 50 electric cabs to London in an attempt to boost China’s struggling makers of all-electric vehicles. BYD and London cab company Green Tomato Cars announced this week they will start a trial using 50 of BYD’s e6 sedans late next year. BYD has supplied 300 electric taxis and 200 electric buses being used in the southern city of Shenzhen. The e6 can travel 300km on one charge.

AUTOMAKERS

Hyundai increases profit

Hyundai Motor Co increased its quarterly net profit by 13 percent to US$2 billion, squeezing overseas capacity to keep sales going despite damaging labour strikes at home. The South Korean firm yesterday, hours after a bleak day for European brands — with Ford announcing a plant closure, Peugeot accepting state aid and Volkswagen posting a big drop in profits — said its July-September net profit rose to 2.17 trillion won, a touch above market forecasts and up on last year’s 1.92 trillion won. The company said it would beat its global sales target of 4.29 million vehicles this year.

TECHNOLOGY

Canon cuts profit forecast

Japanese tech giant Canon yesterday slashed its annual profit forecast again, blaming the global slowdown and a strong yen, as it saw quarterly earnings dive by more than a third. The maker of laser printers and digital cameras said it now expected a net profit of ¥234 billion (US$2.9 billion) in the fiscal year to March, down from the ¥250 billion forecast in July and 290 billion yen in April. Sales for the fiscal year would come in at ¥3.53 trillion instead of ¥3.69 trillion, it said.

PHARMACEUTICALS

Firm posts flat profits

Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis AG posted flat third-quarter profits as new drugs offset patent expirations. The Basel-based company said yesterday that its net profit of US$2.48 billion in the July-September quarter was virtually unchanged from the US$2.49 billion recorded in the same period last year. However, sales fell 7 percent to US$13.8 billion, from US$14.8 billion, as the company suffered from the Sept. 21 loss of the US patent on its blockbuster hypertension drug Diovan and a 13 percent decline in net sales at its Sandoz generic division.

BANKING

Bank reports drop in profit

Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse said yesterday that third-quarter net profit plunged 63 percent to 254 million Swiss francs (US$225.6 million). While Credit Suisse said it has already significantly cut costs and improved efficiencies, it announced further it would seek to make an additional SF1 billion in cuts in 2014 and 2015 to take total savings to SF4 billion.

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