Economy still weak: official
South Korea’s economic recovery is weak and may need additional government stimulus, new Finance Minister Hyun Oh-seok said yesterday, adding that growth might not reach the government’s target of 3 percent for this year. Meanwhile, the jobless rate rose to a one-year high last month, state data showed, as more university graduates flooded the market. The seasonally adjusted jobless rate of 3.4 percent was the highest since the 3.7 percent posted in February last year, and was up from 3.2 percent in January.
Google to pay US$7m fine
Google on Tuesday agreed to pay a US$7 million fine in the US for stealthily collecting data from private Wi-Fi hotspots in a mapping service slip that irked an array of countries. In a legal settlement with attorneys general in 38 states, the Internet giant also agreed to ramp up employee training about data privacy and back a nationwide campaign to teach people about securing wireless networks. According to the Electronic Privacy Information Center, at least nine countries have found Google violated local laws.
Cathay profit plummets 83%
Cathay Pacific yesterday said that net profit last year plunged 83.3 percent, as the Hong Kong flag carrier was hit by persistently high fuel prices and the eurozone financial crisis. The airline said profit stood at HK$916 million (US$118 million), down from the HK$5.5 billion it recorded in 2011. Revenue rose 1 percent to HK$99.4 billion, from HK$98.4 billion in 2011. Cathay said it carried a total of 29 million passengers last year, a 5 percent rise year-on-year, but its premium-class sales were hit as companies cut back on travel for executives.
Sharp rejects copier offer
Samsung Electronics Co, which last week agreed to invest more than US$100 million in Sharp Corp to secure LCDs for phones and televisions, said an offer to buy the Japanese company’s photocopier business was rejected. “We initially showed interest to take over Sharp’s photocopier operation, but Sharp refused the proposal,” Chenny Kim, a spokeswoman for Samsung, said by telephone yesterday, without disclosing a price. Miyuki Nakayama, a spokeswoman for Sharp, confirmed the approach was rejected.
China Everbright plans IPO
China Everbright Bank (光大銀行), a mid-sized lender, yesterday said it would relaunch plans to list shares in Hong Kong, after earlier aborted attempts at an overseas stock offer. The Beijing-based bank is looking to raise US$1.5 billion from the planned initial public offering (IPO), its third attempt to list on Hong Kong’s stock exchange, Dow Jones Newswires reported. The bank’s board had approved launching the IPO “at an appropriate time” by issuing up to 12 billion shares, it said in a statement.
Chevron output rise on track
Chevron Corp on Tuesday reaffirmed that it would meet its target for a large increase in oil and natural gas output in 2017. The US oil giant, outlining its medium-term investment strategy to analysts, said it would hit 3.3 million barrels a day of oil-equivalent in 2017, up from 2.6 million barrels a day last year. Chevron also hinted it expects to keep growing output beyond the 2017 timeframe.