Wed, May 07, 2014 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

TAXATION

Singapore, US to enter pact

Singapore has reached a tax information-sharing agreement with the US under a new law meant to combat offshore tax dodging by US citizens, a US Treasury Department spokeswoman said on Monday. Set to take effect on July 1, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act of 2010 (FATCA) will require foreign banks, investment funds and insurers to hand over information to the US Internal Revenue Service about accounts with more than US$50,000 held by Americans. Foreign firms that do not comply face a 30 percent withholding tax on their US investment income and could effectively be frozen out of US capital markets.

TAXATION

EU nations target new tax

A group of 11 EU nations are to reach an agreement soon on introducing a financial transaction tax, German Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Monday, ahead of a meeting of finance ministers from the 11 countries seeking the levy, and that an agreement on “limited taxation of stock and derivatives” trading could be reached by the day’s end. The levy’s scope will not be as broad as its supporters initially hoped for, but the EU nations behind it say it is better to start with an imperfect solution than having no tax at all. The EU estimates that a financial transaction tax encompassing all asset classes could yield about 30 billion euros (US$42 billion) in additional tax revenue annually.

CHILE

Economic growth slows

Chile’s economy grew at its slowest pace since 2010 in the first quarter due to less investment and consumer spending. The central bank says its indicator of economic activity expanded at an annual rate of 2.8 percent in March and by 2.4 percent in the first quarter.

Chile is the world’s top copper-producing nation and is known for its fast growth and low unemployment, but growth has slowed to a four-year low and prices for copper have plunged.

COMMUNICATIONS

Tesco to launch smartphone

Tesco, Britain’s biggest retailer, will launch its first own-brand smartphone by the end of the year, building on the success of the Hudl tablet it launched last year, it said on Tuesday. A spokesman for the firm said the Tesco smartphone would run on Google’s Android software and would be pre-installed with Tesco services. Tesco has sold more than 500,000 Hudl tablets and plans to launch a second version later this year.

AUTOMAKERS

BMW earnings, revenue rise

German top-of-the-range carmaker BMW said yesterday it got off to a strong start this year with earnings and revenues rising in the first three months. First-quarter net profit climbed by 11.4 percent to 1.462 billion euros (US$2 billion). Underlying or operating profit was up 2.6 percent at 2.09 billion euros and revenues rose by 3.9 percent to 18.235 billion euros. Unit sales advanced by 8.7 percent to 487,024 vehicles worldwide.

SPORTING GOODS

Adidas earnings slide

Adidas, the German maker of sportswear and equipment, said Tuesday that earnings were down in the first quarter, hit by unfavorable exchange rates and the strong euro. In the period from January to March, net profit fell by 33.8 percent to 204 million euros (US$283 million). Underlying or operating profit tumbled 31.4 percent to 303 million euros and sales were down 5.8 percent at 3.533 billion euros.

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