GE net income falls
General Electrics (GE) said on Friday that net income fell 9 percent to US$3.19 billion and revenue fell 1 percent to US$35.73 billion in the third quarter. In last year’s comparable quarter, the company earned US$3.49 billion on revenue of US$36.3 billion. GE’s earnings per share dropped to US$0.31, from US$0.33 last year. Still, the company’s results exceeded Wall Street expectations on the strength of 11 percent growth in profit at its industrial divisions — those that make aircraft engines, CT-scanners, gas turbines, locomotives, and oil and gas drilling equipment.
Rupert Murdoch re-elected
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch was re-elected chairman of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc despite protests from shareholder groups who sought to separate the chairman and chief executive positions of the family-dominated company. Shareholders elected the 82-year-old CEO, his two sons, Lachlan and James, and the rest of the company’s 12-person board during the meeting on Friday at the Fox studio lot in Los Angeles. Shareholders Christian Brothers Investment Services and British Columbia Investment Management Corp in Canada unsuccessfully proposed the appointment of an independent chair of the company, citing “the level of family control, and the influence this may bring to the impending reorganization.” Proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services recommended shareholders vote against Murdoch and eight other directors including his sons, saying the company should have put its poison pill plan to a shareholder vote.
Sugar terminal burned down
A fire ravaged Copersucar’s sugar terminal in Brazil on Friday, paralyzing operations of the world’s biggest sugar trader and putting 10 million tonnes of export capacity offline for six months or more. The fire hit all of Copersucar’s warehouses at the Santos port, igniting 180,000 tonnes of sugar — about 10 percent of Brazil’s monthly sugar exports — and driving prices of the sweetener to a one-year high on global markets. The loss of nearly all of its port capacity will send Copersucar scrambling to lease or rent terminal space to cover its obligations to global buyers and exchanges in the coming months. The disaster adds one more bend to the tortuous path that Brazilian agricultural products must take to global markets. Potholed roads, scarce rail transport and backed up ports already undercut margins of Brazilian sugar and grain producers, and cause headaches for global commodity markets.
UK banks to increase capital
British banks may have to build up more capital and more quickly than they expected, forcing firms like Barclays to rein in dividends to shareholders and restrain bankers’ bonuses to find the extra cash. Plans put forward by the Prudential Regulation Authority, which are still under consultation, would require the banks to strengthen further their capital safety nets so taxpayers will not have to foot the bill if there is another crisis, bankers and analysts said. The banks have already had to more than double the amount of capital they hold since the 2008 financial crisis to provide a bigger buffer against shocks in the future.