Reliance profits hit peak
Reliance Industries Ltd, operator of the world’s biggest oil refinery complex, reported its highest quarterly profit in more than two years as a decline in the value of the rupee boosted export earnings. Net income in the quarter to March 31 for the company controlled by India’s richest billionaire Mukesh Ambani matched analyst estimates as refinery margins recovered from the previous three months, and it starts projects that will add to revenue. Higher profit is making analysts the most bullish on the company’s stock in more than two years, while its shares have increased to the highest since May 2011. Profit increased to 56.3 billion rupees (US$933.79 million), or 17.4 rupees a share, in the quarter, from 55.9 billion rupees, or 17.3 rupees, a year earlier, the Mumbai-based company said in a stock exchange filing yesterday.
LinkedIn sees 300m users
The career-focused social network LinkedIn announced on Friday it has 300 million members, with more than half the total outside the US. “While this is an exciting moment, we still have a long way to go to realize our vision of creating economic opportunity for every one of the 3.3 billion people in the global workforce,” LinkedIn vice president Deep Nishar said in a blog posting. Nishar said that for future growth, the company believes it will be more important to get people using the network on mobile devices. “We know mobile is critical,” he said. “Later this year, we are going to hit our mobile moment, where mobile accounts for more than 50 percent of all global traffic.”
Italian bank to boost equity
Italian bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena gave the go-ahead on Friday to a 5 billion euro (US$6.9 billion) equity raising that is to boost its capital and allow it to repay a government bailout this year. The bank said in a statement the share sale would give it a strong enough “capital buffer” to withstand EU bank stress tests in the current climate of “high uncertainty and limited visibility.” The increase will also allow the lender to speed up a restructuring plan, due to be completed by 2017, that includes 8,000 job cuts and the closure of 550 branches. The Tuscan bank has to pay back by the end of the year some 4 billion euros in credit it received from the Italian government last year to stave off bankruptcy.
Fiat to make Jeeps in China
Fiat SpA plans to begin making Jeep sport utility vehicles in China, the largest market for the brand outside the US, by late next year after reaching an agreement with local partner Guangzhou Automobile Group Co (廣州汽車集團). Turin-based Fiat, which bought full control of Jeep producer Chrysler Group LLC, and Guangzhou Auto are to produce three new Jeep vehicles in Guangzhou, Chrysler said on Friday in a statement. The joint venture will soon finalize its production plans, which include the consideration of a Jeep model designed for China, it said. “Today’s announcement represents the next chapter in the proper utilization and expansion on a global scale of the Jeep brand,” Fiat chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne said in the statement.