Philips to appeal ruling
Royal Philips NV says it is to book a US$467 million charge in the third quarter after losing a patent lawsuit to smaller US competitor Masimo Corp. Masimo sued in 2009, saying Philips’ healthcare division had used its patented technology to build machines that measure the amount of oxygen in a patient’s blood without requiring a sample. A jury at the US District Court for Delaware sided with Masimo on Wednesday, rejecting Philips’ arguments that the patents involved were “obvious” and should never have been granted. Philips’ CEO Frans van Houten said yesterday that the company would appeal the decision.
US sales best in eight years
US auto sales in the third quarter were the best in eight years, but mixed September results from leading automakers on Wednesday indicated the industry’s torrid summer pace is slowing. Industry sales last month rose 9 percent, to 1.24 million vehicles, according to research firm Autodata. The annualized sales rate slowed to 16.4 million, Autodata said, above last year’s 15.4 million, but well below the 17.5 million pace in August. General Motors Co, Chrysler Group, Toyota Motor Corp, Honda Motor Co, Nissan Motor Co and Hyundai Motor Co all reported year-to-year sales gains on Wednesday, but Ford Motor Co said sales fell slightly from a year ago.
Cuba to print more pesos
Cuba’s central bank head is giving details about the elimination of a special currency, saying that the shift would require putting more pesos into circulation and issuing higher-denomination bills. Elimination of the stronger currency is one of the toughest challenges facing Cuba’s struggling socialist economy, forcing officials to eliminate a distorted double set of prices for many goods without spawning inflation. The convertible peso is worth about US$1, or 24 local pesos. The highest denomination local bill is 100 pesos. The state news agency reported on Wednesday that Central Bank president Ernesto Medina said consumer prices would not change.
Order error due to ‘fat finger’
Hundreds of billions of dollars worth of stock orders in some of Japan’s biggest firms had to be canceled on Wednesday, officials said, possibly the result of a “fat finger” error. Over-the-counter orders were placed for shares in 42 companies worth dozens of trillions of yen (hundreds of billions of US dollars) in the morning, but were later canceled, an official at the Japan Securities Dealers Association said. The biggest order was for 1.96 billion Toyota shares, but the trades were canceled before being placed, an association official said. Other canceled orders included shares in Japan’s biggest bank, Mitsubushi UFJ, brokerage giant Nomura Holdings and camera maker Canon.
Bank CEO named chairman
Bank of America chief executive Brian Moynihan has been named chairman, effective immediately. The lender said on Wednesday that its board of directors elected Moynihan to succeed Charles Holiday Jr. Moynihan has been chief executive of the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank since January 2010. Like its competitors, Bank of America is still dealing with the fallout from the financial crisis that began in 2007 and the subsequent collapse of the housing market. In August, it agreed to pay a record US$16.65 billion settlement for its role in selling shoddy mortgage bonds.
From the customer’s perspective, car rental is a straightforward business. The only uncertainty is whether the hire company will charge you for the scratch they discover when you hand back the vehicle. Hertz Global Holdings Inc’s bankruptcy protection filing on Friday last week was a reminder that today even the simplest business models are underpinned by a lot more financial complexity than meets the eye. The proximate cause of Hertz’s demise was of course the sudden collapse in bookings caused by COVID-19 travel restrictions. The company’s monthly revenue last month fell 73 percent year-on-year, a shortfall that even the most resilient
Uber Technologies Inc, Lyft Inc and Airbnb Inc have slashed thousands of jobs. Salesforce.com Inc and Visa Inc are letting employees work remotely for months; Twitter Inc and Square Inc are allowing them to do so for good. For the companies’ hometown of San Francisco, the moves are early signs of a dire blow. In a city with a long history of booms, busts and natural calamities, the COVID-19 pandemic has suddenly upended nearly a decade of prosperity. While municipalities across the US are grappling with economic fallout from the virus, San Francisco stands to take a deeper hit given its high
BULK PURCHASE: The French chain and Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm International reached a deal covering 224 stores, which is expected to be finalized by year’s end Carrefour SA yesterday announced it would acquire Wellcome Taiwan Co (惠康百貨) for 97 million euros (US$108.33 million), and bring all the Wellcome supermarkets (頂好超市) and Jasons Market Place stores nationwide under its banner within 12 months of the deal closing. The France-based hypermarket chain reached an agreement with Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm International Holdings (牛奶國際控股), the pan-Asian retailer that launched Wellcome Taiwan in 1987. The transaction involves 199 Wellcome supermarkets, which have average sales areas of 420m2 and 25 high-end Jasons Market Place stores, which have an average sales area of 820m2, as well as a warehouse in Taoyuan, Carrefour Taiwan (家樂福)
‘ONE-STOP SHOP’: A Miaoli official said that the factory in the Jhunan section of the Hsinchu Science Park would create more than 1,000 jobs and boost prosperity A new high-end IC packaging and testing plant planned by contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) in Miaoli County is expected to start operations in the middle of next year, Miaoli County Commissioner Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) said. Hsu wrote on Facebook that TSMC, the world’s largest pure wafer foundry operator, would invest NT$303.2 billion (US$10.1 billion) to build the plant, the largest-ever single investment in Taiwan. However, TSMC declined to disclose the financial terms of the deal, while a company board meeting on May 12 approved a spending plan worth NT$168.2 billion as part of its investment plans. Construction of the