Jobless rate soars
The unemployment rate soared to a new record of 27.16 percent of the workforce in the first quarter of this year as the number of those without jobs surpassed 6 million, National Statistics Institute data showed yesterday. The rate jumped from 26.02 percent in the previous quarter. The number of unemployed climbed by 237,400 people to 6.2 million, the institute said.
Vale’s Q1 profit drops 10.1%
Brazilian mining giant Vale reported a 10.1 percent drop in first-quarter net profit on Wednesday, citing lower sales, higher taxes and currency fluctuations. The world’s top iron ore producer said net profit totaled US$3.199 billion during the period, down 10.1 percent from the same period last year. However, the first-quarter result was better than the fourth quarter of last year, when net profit totaled US$1.95 billion.
Electrolux Q1 profits fall 27%
Swedish home appliance-maker Electrolux yesterday said first-quarter profits plunged 27 percent year-on-year to 361 million kronor (US$55 million) due to the ongoing crisis in Europe, one of the manufacturer’s core markets. It said sales for the three-month period compared to a year ago dropped 2 percent to 25.3 billion kronor, led by a 3 percent drop in shipments of core appliances to Western Europe.
Bayer Q1 profits rise 11.5%
German chemical and pharmaceutical company Bayer AG said net profit rose 11.5 percent in the first quarter as new drug launches added sales revenue. The company also saw stronger demand in emerging markets, which helped overcome weaker business in Europe. Net income rose to 1.16 billion euros (US$1.51 billion) from 1.04 billion in the same quarter a year earlier. Revenue rose 2.1 percent to 10.2 billion euros.
UK dodges recession
Britain dodged recession after official figures showed the economy grew in the first quarter. The Office for National Statistics yesterday said the economy grew by 0.3 percent in the first quarter compared with the previous three-month period. Economists on average were expecting growth of 0.1 percent. However, with growth so anemic, even a statistical blip could have put the number in negative territory and pushed Britain into its third recession since 2008.
Hyundai Q1 profits drop 15%
South Korea’s top automaker Hyundai Motor yesterday said net profit in the January-March quarter fell 15 percent from a year earlier, mainly due to work stoppages and a strong won. Its consolidated net profit for the first quarter fell to 2.088 trillion won (US$1.87 billion) from 2.453 trillion won a year earlier. Operating profit was down 11 percent year-on-year at 1.869 trillion won as sales rose 6 percent at 21.367 trillion won.
Page, Brin cap salaries
Google chief executive Larry Page and his longtime partner Sergey Brin limited their salaries to US$1 apiece last year, while four other top executives received combined compensation packages totaling more than US$124 million. Google co-founders Page and Brin have capped their salaries at US$1 since the company went public in 2004. They each own Google stock currently worth about US$20 billion.