Petrobras sees uneven output
Petrobras CEO Maria das Gracas Foster warned on Tuesday that the company faces erratic output this year due to platform maintenance. However, production by Brazil’s state-run oil giant will pick up in the second half of this year thanks to six new oil platforms that will be put into operation during the year, Foster said. Petrobas is forecast to produce about 1.98 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, in line with last year’s output, but down 2 percent from 2011, she said.
Virtual currency coming
Amazon on Tuesday unveiled a virtual currency to enhance the potential for developers to make real money in games and other applications tailored for Kindle Fire tablet computers. Amazon Coins will be introduced in the US in May in a move aimed at inspiring the creation of more fun, hip or functional programs for its challenge to Apple’s iPads and rival tablets powered by Google’s Android software. Amazon coins can be used to buy applications or to pay for virtual goods or features sold inside mini-programs. Developers get to keep 70 percent of the revenue, with Amazon getting 30 percent.
ArcelorMittal losses widen
ArcelorMittal SA, the world’s largest steelmaker, posted a larger loss for the fourth quarter because of write-downs and charges related to its European business, which it said was the one gloomy spot in an otherwise positive outlook for this year. Net loss widened to US$3.99 billion from a loss of US$1 billion in the same period a year ago, the Luxembourg-based company said yesterday. Sales fell 14 percent to US$19.3 billion, as both prices and volumes declined year-on-year. The loss included US$4.8 billion in charges and write-downs related to its European business, notably the idling of plants in Madrid, and Florange, France, and the decision to close a plant in Liege, Belgium. The company has clashed with governments and labor unions over the facilities.
Lego to lay off 380
Lego, the Danish maker of colorful toy bricks, said on Tuesday it would cut 380 jobs at its main plant in Denmark by 2015 as it moves its packaging activities abroad to slash costs. “For some employees it will be natural departures. Other employees will be able to acquire new skills and find other positions within the Lego group. But unfortunately, we will not be able to avoid some layoffs,” chief executive Joergen Vig Knudstorp said in a statement. The unit affected by the job cuts, at Lego’s headquarters in Billund, makes both the toys’ packaging and decorations. The cuts will take place over several years, starting with 75 this year and 200 next year.
Manila casino sets opening
A US$4 billion mega-casino complex is set to open in the Philippines in the middle of next month, when the first of four franchise-holders starts commercial operations, the parent firm said in a disclosure released yesterday. The US$1.2 billion Solaire Manila Resorts is one of four gaming operations licensed at Manila’s bayside Entertainment City, a government project designed to compete with Macau, Las Vegas and Singapore as a gaming hub. Boasting 500 hotel rooms set in modern resorts, Solaire will open its doors on March 16, parent company Bloomberry Resorts Corp said in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange.