Exports edge up 0.5%
The city-state’s exports rose less than estimated last month as manufacturers shipped fewer electronics and pharmaceutical goods. Non-oil domestic exports gained 0.5 percent from a year earlier, after a 16.3 percent drop in December, the trade promotion agency said in a statement yesterday. The median of 11 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey was for a 3 percent increase. The government forecasts exports will rise 2 percent to 4 percent this year, restrained by an uneven world recovery.
Bridgestone profit up 37%
Tire manufacturer Bridgestone yesterday said its net profit last year surged 67 percent to US$1.83 billion as it cemented a recovery from a year earlier when an earthquake-tsunami hammered Japan’s manufacturers. Bridgestone said it earned ￥171.61 billion in the year to December as sales rose 1 percent to ￥3.04 trillion, with the bottom line partly boosted by higher tire prices. For this year, Bridgestone forecasts a 37 percent jump in net profit to ￥235 billion from last year on sales of ￥3.55 trillion, up 17 percent, thanks to a weakening yen.
Carlsberg profit rises 6%
Carlsberg said that net profit last year grew 6 percent year-on-year to 5.5 billion kroner (US$980 million), or slightly higher than forecast. The Denmark-based brewing group said in a statement yesterday that annual sales rose 3 percent to 67.2 billion kroner despite a sluggish beer market in Western Europe, which accounts for 42 percent of the group’s sales volume. The group said that in the final quarter of last year, it managed to gain lost momentum in the key Russian market, where by the end of last year, it accounted for 38.3 percent of the country’s total beer sales. Its aggressive expansion in Asia last year was also successful, with sales in the region jumping 9 percent and revenue growth reaching 19 percent.
Morrisons buys stores
British supermarket chain Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC said it had bought 49 stores from the administrators of failed DVD-rental chain Blockbuster, but did not disclose the terms. Morrisons, the UK’s fourth-largest grocer, said it would convert the stores into small “local” supermarkets under the M local name and hoped to have the stores up and running by the end of summer. The company, which is underperforming rivals and posted a weak Christmas update, has been diversifying into non-food, e-commerce and convenience stores and plans to open at least 70 M local convenience stores by the end of the year.
Iberia workers start strikes
Ground staff and cabin crews at Spain’s Iberia are beginning 15 days of strikes to protest plans to lay off 3,800 staff. The company said the stoppages, to be staged over three weeks, would lead to more than 1,200 flight cancelations, including 236 yesterday. A government decree on minimum services guarantees 90 percent of long-haul flights, 61 percent of medium-haul and 46 percent of domestic flights. Unions representing most Iberia workers, but not pilots, called for strikes from Monday to Friday, March 4 to 8, and March 18 to 22. The airline said it had found seats on other flights for most of the 70,000 passengers affected. Iberia claims economic difficulties oblige it to make layoffs. Iberia is linked with British Airways in International Airlines Group.