Samsung fights back
Samsung Electronics Co is set to unveil a new high-end Galaxy phone next week in circumstances far different than those facing the previous model as it fights to stay atop an industry that has proven hard for one company to lead for long. Samsung faces slumping profit growth, a falling share price, and increasing sales by Apple Inc and Chinese newcomer Xiaomi Corp (小米). “The smartphone market is getting crowded... Samsung needs something different in its product designs to stand apart in a sea of black rectangles on store shelves,” said Neil Mawston, director of global wireless practice for researcher Strategy Analytics. The new phone will have a 5.2 inch screen that is larger and sharper than the S4, and an upgraded battery and camera, according to a person familiar with the device who asked not to be identified.
Citigroup CEO gets pay rise
Citigroup Inc, the third-largest US bank, boosted chief executive Michael Corbat’s compensation 25 percent to about US$14.4 million last year, his first full year running the company. He got 78,528 deferred shares valued at US$3.88 million, based on Tuesday’s closing price, according to a filing made on Thursday to the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Corbat received about US$5.17 million in a cash bonus, US$3.88 million of performance share units and a US$1.5 million salary, based on the bank’s description of his compensation plan last year. Citigroup’s profit jumped 84 percent to US$13.9 billion last year as Corbat, 53, boosted revenue and cut costs. The chief executive’s package compares with US$20 million for JPMorgan Chase and Co’s Jamie Dimon and US$14 million for Bank of America Corp’s Brian Moynihan.
Shell sells stations, refinery
Global energy giant Shell announced yesterday it is selling 870 service stations and its last remaining Australian refinery to Swiss-based oil giant Vitol for US$2.6 billion. The deal also includes Shell Australia’s bulk fuels, bitumen, chemicals and part of its lubricants business, but the firm is to retain ownership of its Australian aviation fuel operations. The move is part of Royal Dutch Shell’s global shift away from downstream operations and follows the recent divestment of refineries in Britain, Germany, France, Norway and the Czech Republic. Most employees at the 120,000 barrel-per-day Geelong refinery in Victoria State and elsewhere will retain their jobs under Vitol.
Personal debt targeted
Finance Minister Hyun Oh-seok said the government is planning extra measures to tackle record household debt that poses risks for the financial system and the economy. The measures will help low-income households reschedule their debt and focus on changing short-term loans into longer-term liabilities, Hyun, 63, said in an interview in Sydney, Australia, yesterday, where he was attending a G20 meeting. The likelihood of systemic danger from household debt is not high, he said. “Household debt will undermine the increase of private consumption and at the same time it will be burdensome for the lower-income class,” Hyun said. Home loans and credit extended to households rose to a record 991.7 trillion won (US$923 billion) at the end of September last year.