Sun, Mar 09, 2014 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take



Bank CEO bonus jumps 77%

Bank of America chief executive Brian Moynihan saw his compensation jump 77 percent last year as the company’s fortunes improved. Moynihan’s total compensation was US$13.1 million, according to an Associated Press calculation based on a filing made by the company on Friday. The bulk of his pay was US$11.1 million worth of stock awards granted in February last year. He also had a base salary of almost US$1.5 million. Company perks totaled US$497,751, most of which was for personal use of the company plane. Bank of America’s finances have been improving. Last year its profit more than tripled to US$10.08 billion, and it has been cutting staff and focusing on its core businesses. Its balance sheet has been improving as well. Bank of America’s board cited its improving balance sheet as a factor in Moynihan’s pay, saying the company cut long-term debt by US$25 billion last year.


Moody’s lifts Dutch outlook

Moody’s raised its credit outlook for the Netherlands and Belgium on Friday, elevating both to stable from negative as the eurozone economy improves. The Netherlands kept its top-level “Aaa” rating, while Belgium was three levels down at “Aa3.” Moody’s said the Netherlands outlook improved because it was less likely to be called on to help fund rescues of weaker eurozone countries, including troubled Italy and Spain. It also said there were signs that the country’s own domestic problems, such as weak growth and high household debt, have peaked “and are likely to evolve in a positive direction.” In addition, Moody’s said, the country’s fiscal situation has stabilized. For Belgium, Moody’s said the risk that the government would have to shoulder more liabilities in the weak banking sector had declined. Bank asset quality “should improve going forward as the Belgian economy is expected to recover, especially in light of the banks’ strong re-focus on the domestic market.”


Bombardier freezes wages

Bombardier Inc, whose delayed CSeries jet is weighing on profits, is freezing salaries for about 38,000 nonunion workers in its aerospace and transportation units worldwide as well the head office. Employees who are covered under certain local contracts, about half of Bombardier’s 76,400 workers, will not be affected. The company has already been tightening its belt, announcing in January that it was eliminating 1,700 jobs at its aerospace division, mostly in and around its headquarters in Montreal. It is also reducing training budgets and restricting business travel, encouraging employees to use videoconferencing instead, Bombardier spokeswoman Isabelle Rondeau said.


Samsung offers free music

Samsung on Friday unveiled a free music service for users of its Galaxy smartphones, entering a crowded market that includes Pandora, Spotify and Apple’s iTunes. The service, dubbed “Milk Music,” will offer about 200 ad-free radio stations to US customers with Samsung Galaxy devices. The company said the service will be offered with no log-in required and no need to browse for a specific artist or song. It will have 200 genre-based and curated stations and about 13 million songs, and like other services, it will allow six song skips per hour per station.

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