Olympic boost to Comcast
Comcast Corp posted higher quarterly profit on Friday after its NBC Universal media unit scored US$1.2 billion in additional revenue from its London Olympics coverage. The leading US cable TV operator also benefited from adding Internet users. Because of the Olympics, “broadcast actually made money for the first time in a long time,” Macquarie analyst Amy Yong said. The London Olympics coverage helped NBC Universal’s revenue climb more than 30 percent to US$6.8 billion from a year earlier. The Games drew a record audience that averaged 31.3 million viewers per night, 12 percent above the Beijing Olympics. With the strong ratings performance over the summer, Comcast said it would at least break even on its US$1.18 billion deal for the London Olympics. Analysts initially expected the company to lose money on the Olympics.
Rating remains stable
Treasurer Wayne Swan yesterday welcomed a decision by ratings agency Fitch to affirm the country’s “AAA” credit rating, days after his mid-year economic review lowered this year’s growth forecast. The affirmation overnight of the “AAA” rating with a stable outlook comes after the government last week cut its growth and budget surplus forecasts as worsening global conditions hurt revenues in the mining-driven economy. “We manage our economy in the interests of working people and we’ve had a big tick from the rating agencies overnight,” Swan said. In a mid-year economic review released on Monday, Swan said real GDP growth was forecast at 3 percent this fiscal year — from 3.25 percent predicted in May — and shaved the budget surplus back to A$1.1 billion (US$1.14 billion).
Toyota widens lead over GM
Toyota has widened its global sales lead over General Motors (GM) after bouncing back from a series of natural disasters. The company said on Friday it sold 7.4 million vehicles globally in the first nine months of this year — 450,000 more than General Motors. While Toyota’s sales rose 28 percent in that period, GM’s rose 2.5 percent, to 6.95 million cars and light-duty trucks. Toyota, which makes the Prius hybrid, Camry sedan and Lexus luxury models, had planned to sell 1 million vehicles in China this year. However, the company no longer expects to reach that number. It has not given a new target. Toyota’s vehicle sales in China dropped to 44,100 vehicles last month, from 86,000 a year earlier, because of a territorial dispute with Japan. In August, Toyota sold 75,280 vehicles in China, down 15 percent from the same month last year.
Bankia outlines losses
Ruined Spanish banking giant Bankia suffered more than 7 billion euros (US$9.05 billion) in losses in the first nine months of this year, it said on Friday. The group at the heart of Spain’s financial crisis said in a statement that it had to make 11.485 billion euros in provisions as it cleaned up its balance sheet, stricken by masses of bad loans. It recorded a net loss of 2.6 billion euros in the third quarter, after reporting for the previous quarter a loss of 4.45 billion euros. Total losses for January to September were 7.053 billion euros. The bank said it would need a total of 23.5 billion euros to salvage its balance sheet.