No loan for Qantas
Canberra has rejected a request from Qantas Airways for a US$2.7 billion unsecured loan to help the national carrier return to profitability, deciding instead to abolish foreign ownership restrictions, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said yesterday. The government plans to repeal legislation that prevents foreign airlines from holding more than 35 percent of Qantas and any single foreign investor from holding more than a 25 percent stake, which Qantas chief executive officer Alan Joyce said would “level the playing field” with its major competitor Virgin Australia.
Standard’s profit falls
Standard Chartered PLC posted its first decline in full-year profit in more than a decade amid writedowns and lower revenue in South Korea. Statutory pretax profit fell to US$6.06 billion last year from US$6.85 billion in 2012, the London-based bank said in a statement yesterday. The bank last year suspended a target for revenue growth of at least 10 percent, after writing down its South Korean business by US$1 billion in the first half as bad loans increased. The lender is merging its consumer and corporate-banking business to cut costs, it said in January.
Adidas sales to decrease
Adidas AG forecast that earnings this year would be “significantly impacted” by currency effects. The world’s second-largest sporting-goods maker yesterday said that sales are expected to increase at a high-single digit rate this year. The German company forecast profit of between 830 million euros (US$1.14 billion) and 930 million euros this year, falling short of the 1 billion-euro average estimate of 30 analysts compiled by Bloomberg.
Carrefour 2013 income up
Carrefour SA, France’s largest retailer, reported an increase in last year’s earnings, as investments in price and convenience helped sales rebound in its domestic market, and said it would increase spending this year. Recurring operating income rose 5.3 percent to 2.24 billion euros, the company said in a statement yesterday. Excluding currency shifts, earnings gained 9.8 percent.
IDC forecasts bigger fall
Worldwide PC shipments may decline by a steeper-than-forecast 6.1 percent this year, as demand weakens in emerging markets, researcher IDC said. PC unit sales are projected to fall for a third straight year to 295.9 million from 315.1 million last year, IDC said in a statement on Tuesday. The researcher, which in January predicted a 3.8 percent drop this year and growth of less than 1 percent next year, now estimates the declines will persist through 2018. Last year, global PC shipments dropped 9.8 percent, it said.
Mizuho to hire 28% more
Mizuho Financial Group Inc plans to increase hiring of university graduates by 28 percent next year, as an economic recovery spurs lending and investment. Japan’s third-biggest bank by market value will recruit 1,365 graduates to join the holding company and its lending and trust banking units in April next year, up from the 1,065 who are scheduled to start work next month, Masako Shiono, a Tokyo-based spokeswoman, said by phone yesterday.