No fresh stimulus: BOJ
The Bank of Japan (BOJ) yesterday held off launching fresh easing measures, despite growing calls for further stimulus to spur the economy and as it warned of a “high degree of uncertainty.” After a two-day policy meeting, the BOJ said in a statement the European debt crisis, an unsteady US economic recovery and an export-denting territorial spat with China have all weighed on the country’s prospects. The bank’s policy board also voted unanimously to hold rates at zero to 0.1 percent.
Sharp to book charges
Sharp Corp will book a ￥25.3 billion (US$311 million) one-time charge this quarter to eliminate jobs. The charge, for 2,960 workers who accepted buyout offers, is already factored into earnings forecasts for the year ending March 31, Sharp said in a statement yesterday. Sharp, which sought about 2,000 voluntary retirements, closed the offer on Nov. 9, it said. Sharp’s stock fell 1.7 percent to ￥172 in Tokyo trading yesterday, extending its loss this year to 74 percent, the worst performer among more than 1,600 companies in the MSCI World Index of developed nations.
Nissan upgrades Leaf
The upgraded Nissan Motor Co Leaf electric car can travel further without recharging, comes in a cheaper model and tells drivers how much battery life is left. The new model can travel 228km on a single charge, up from 200km as long as the driver doesn’t use air conditioning, because of improvements such as streamlining the battery system and the vehicle’s lighter weight, according to Nissan. It sells for less than ￥2.5 million in Japan when stripped of fancy options and adding government green subsidies. Nissan did not detail overseas sales plans, but said similar upgrades were in the works.
Mulsanne under liquidation
An Australian court yesterday appointed liquidators to a company owned by struggling mining magnate Nathan Tinkler, as junior coal miner Blackwood Resources attempts to recover a A$28.4 million (US$29.6 million) debt. The order from the New South Wales Supreme Court suspends Tinkler’s powers as a director of the company, Mulsanne Resources, and allows liquidators to begin investigating its finances. It is the first time one of the many companies controlled by Tinkler has been liquidated amid his current financial troubles.
EasyJet profits jump 13%
British budget airline easyJet yesterday said that annual net profits surged 13 percent, boosted by demand for low-cost air travel. After-tax profits advanced to ￡255 million (US$405 million) for the year ending September, compared with ￡225 million in the previous year, easyJet said in a results statement. Pre-tax profits jumped 27.9 percent to ￡317 million, in line with the London-based company’s guidance. The airline also doubled its shareholder dividend to ￡0.215 per share, from ￡0.105.
Panasonic credit rating cut
Moody’s yesterday chopped Panasonic’s credit rating by two notches to “Baa3,” just above junk status, from “Baa1” with a negative outlook, meaning another downgrade may follow and throw Panasonic’s rating into the non-investment grade category. Panasonic has warned it would book a loss of ￥765 billion in the year to March because of restructuring and tax charges, close to its record loss last year.