New ADB head nominated
The government has nominated Takehiko Nakao, deputy finance minister for international affairs, to become president of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The Finance Ministry proposed that Nakao succeed current ADB president Haruhiko Kuroda, who has been nominated to become the next central bank governor and resigned as ADB president effective March 18. The government nominates the president of the Manila, Philippines-based regional lender due to its status as the ADB’s biggest donor. Kuroda’s planned departure has raised speculation that China might seek a chance to lead the bank.
GM to hire 1,000 workers
General Motors (GM) announced plans on Wednesday to hire 1,000 high-tech workers to staff a new IT innovation center in suburban Phoenix, Arizona. The largest US automaker said it expects to hire more than 4,000 new information technology workers over the next three to five years to staff centers in Arizona, Texas, Georgia and Michigan. More than 1,000 people have already been hired to staff the other three centers.
Continental reports profit
Continental, the German maker of automotive parts and tyres, said it achieved record results last year and expects its success to continue this year. “In 2012, Continental set new records in a market environment that was difficult in part,” the group said in a statement. “This success is set to continue in 2013.” Last year, net profit zoomed ahead by 51.6 percent to 1.884 billion euros (US$ 2.451 billion) and underlying or operating profit was up 18.3 percent at 3.073 billion euros on a 7.3 percent increase in sales to 32.736 billion euros.
Aviva earnings slump
British insurer Aviva yesterday said it slumped into a net loss of ￡3 billion (US$4.5 billion) last year, mainly owing to a massive writedown following the sale of its US business. Aviva said last year’s earnings after tax compared with a net profit of 60 million pounds in 2011. Meanwhile, Aviva reported underlying operating profit — an indicator of its day-to-day business — of ￡1.78 billion, the company said in an earnings statement.
Carrefour profits triple
French big box retailer Carrefour’s pullout of struggling underperforming markets and asset sales more than tripled its profits last year to 1.2 billion euros, up from 371 million euros in 2011, the company reported yesterday. The huge jump in profit hides a more modest rise of 0.9 percent in revenue to 76.8 billion euros, excluding sales tax. Last year, Carrefour closed its stores in Singapore and either pulled out of or handed over its operations to partners in Greece, Colombia, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Adidas’ net profit declines
German sportswear and equipment maker Adidas said yesterday that one-off writedowns hit its bottom line last year, but underlying profits increased due to higher sales. Adidas said in a statement its year-end net profit declined by 14.2 percent to 526 million euros last year. However, the group said the figure included goodwill writedowns of 265 million euros largely related to “adjusted growth assumptions for the Reebok brand, especially in North America, Latin America and Brazil.” Excluding these, net profit grew by 29 percent to 791 million euros, Adidas said.