Macau sets earnings record
The tiny Chinese city of Macau has again smashed its annual record for casino earnings as revenues last year hit US$45 billion, further underlining its outsize position as the world’s biggest gambling market. Gambling regulator data released yesterday showed that Macau’s three dozen casinos took in 33.5 billion patacas (US$4.2 billion) last month. That brought revenue for last year to 360.8 billion patacas, up 18.6 percent from the year before. Analyst Grant Govertsen of Union Gaming Research said Macau’s take would probably be more than seven times the amount earned on the Las Vegas Strip.
Samsung urges innovation
Samsung Electronics Co chairman Lee Kun-hee yesterday urged workers to adopt new ways of thinking and move beyond their focus on hardware as the world’s biggest maker of smartphones and televisions seeks to maintain growth. “We have to change once again,” Lee said, according to e-mailed notes from the company. “We must give a bigger push for innovations, including in business structure, so that we can lead industry trends.” Samsung shipped a record number of handsets last year and posted its highest quarterly earnings, yet its shares had their first annual decline in five years amid signs of slowing growth in high-end handsets and competition from Apple Inc’s new iPhones.
Russian oil output rises
Russia yesterday said that its oil output last year hit a post-Soviet high, while natural gas production of its giant Gazprom holding slipped for the second successive year. The Russian Ministry of Energy’s reporting unit said oil and gas condensate production grew by 1 percent last year to reach a new record of 523.3 million tonnes. Russia had established its previous post-Soviet high in 2012, when output stood at 10.4 million barrels per day.
Key lending rate cut
The Sri Lankan central bank yesterday cut a key lending rate by 50 basis points to 8 percent after inflation eased to its lowest level in nearly two years and as the economy shows signs of sustained growth. The move by the Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka represents the fourth consecutive reduction since December 2012. The deposit rate was kept at 6.5 percent. The bank said it expected the nation’s economy to have grown 7.2 percent last year, up from 6.4 percent in 2012 after announcing last week that inflation had hit a 22-month low of 4.7 percent.
Repsol sells LNG assets
Spanish oil group Repsol yesterday said it has sold liquefied natural gas (LNG) assets to Royal Dutch Shell for US$4.1 billion, slashing its heavy debt load. The spanish group handed over its LNG assets in Trinidad and Tobago, and Peru to Shell, the world’s biggest LNG supplier, as part of a huge debt-reduction plan. The sale followed a smaller US$200 million sale of a Basque power plant to British Petroleum in October last year, bringing in a combined US$4.3 billion to the Spanish group. The sale generated a net US$2.9 billion in profits and capital gains for Repsol, the Spanish group said, more than had been anticipated when the deal was first announced in February last year.