Siemens reports profit rise
Industrial equipment maker Siemens AG said its quarterly net profit rose 20 percent as it moved past one-time charges and pressed ahead with its cost-reduction program. The company’s net profit rose to 1.46 billion euros (US$2 billion) from 1.21 billion euros in the fourth quarter of last year, which was Siemens’ fiscal first quarter. However, a stronger euro and slower demand in emerging markets hurt revenue, which went down 3 percent to 17.325 billion euros. The Munich-based company has also said it is withdrawing its listing on the New York Stock Exchange.
Philips swings back to black
Royal Philips NV has reported a return to profitability in the fourth quarter, with operating profits up in all its main businesses: lighting, consumer appliances and healthcare equipment. The company yesterday reported net profit of 409 million euros (US$559 million), compared with losses of 423 million euros in the same period a year earlier when it was fined 509 million euros for price-fixing in the TV market. Its fourth-quarter sales rose 0.6 percent to 6.80 billion euros, which Philips says would have been a 7 percent rise comparing like-for-like businesses and stripping currency effects.
POSCO profits hit last year
South Korea’s POSCO, the world’s fifth-largest steelmaker, yesterday said its net profit for last year plunged 43.2 percent due to the global slowdown and intensifying competition with Chinese rivals. Its net profit for last year amounted to 1.35 trillion won (US$1.25 billion), compared with 2.38 trillion won a year earlier, the country’s top steel group said in a statement. POSCO’s operating profit was down 18 percent to 2.99 trillion won over the period, while sales shrank 2.7 percent to 61.8 trillion won. Slowing growth in China and economic woes in Europe have sapped demand and caused a global glut, squeezing margins for the company. Chinese steelmakers have also churned out a growing amount of cheap steel products, pushing market prices lower, while the weak yen has blunted South Korean firms’ price competitiveness overseas, POSCO said.
Plant fire hurts SK Hynix
South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix yesterday reported a drop in its fourth-quarter net profit caused by a fall in production following a fire at its plant in China. The world’s second-largest memory chip maker said that its net profit in last year’s October-to-December period stood at 789 billion won (US$729 million), down 18 percent from the previous quarter. SK Hynix’s operating profit also fell 33 percent to 785 billion won over the same period. The decline was largely attributed to a fire at the company’s DRAM production line in Wuxi in China’s Jiangsu Province in September last year. Production at the plant is expected to return to normal at the end of this month.
Bitcoin promoter arrested
The vice chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation, a trade group promoting the adoption of the digital currency, has been charged by US prosecutors with conspiring to commit money laundering by helping funnel cash to illicit online drugs bazaar Silk Road. Charlie Shrem, who had financial backing from the Winklevoss twins and is well-known as one of bitcoin’s biggest global promoters, was arrested on Sunday at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, the US Attorney’s Office in Manhattan said on Monday.