Tue, Dec 02, 2014 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take



Samsung keeps top bosses

Samsung Electronics Inc defied speculation that it would drop the head of its underperforming mobile division, as the Samsung Group’s heir apparent opted to keep the man his ailing father appointed while the patriarch’s future is uncertain. Staff at Samsung have been waiting for the annual reshuffle after a weak smartphone performance and the worst earnings in three years, with many fearing for their jobs, but embattled co-chief executive J.K. Shin now knows he will continue to head the unit’s mobile division. Semiconductor business boss Kwon Oh-hyun and consumer electronics head Yoon Boo-keun also kept their jobs. Analysts said Jay Y. Lee, likely successor and only son of group patriarch Lee Kun-hee, opted to keep his father’s key lieutenants in place to ensure stability and consolidate his own position.


Japan’s capital spending up

Japanese companies increased investment more than forecast in the third quarter, even as slumping consumption pushed the economy into recession. Manufacturers led a 5.5 percent gain in capital spending in the three months through September from a year earlier, beating the 1.8 percent median in a Bloomberg News survey. Corporate profits climbed 7.6 percent and sales increased 2.9 percent, according to Japanese Ministry of Finance data released yesterday. The unexpectedly strong gain in investment is a boost for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Manufacturing investment advanced 11 percent, with the metal industry boosting spending 85 percent. Machinery makers showed a 15 percent gain and information technology equipment producers increased investment by 26 percent.


Moody’s cuts credit rating

Moody’s Investors Service cut the nation’s credit rating, a setback to Abe before he begins campaigning for an election that he wants to focus on the economy. Moody’s reduced the rating by one notch to “A1,” the same level as Bermuda, Israel, Oman and the Czech Republic. It had been rated in line with Taiwan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia. The yen dropped to a seven-year low of ¥119.14 per US dollar immediately after Moody’s announced the reduction, before reversing those declines to trade at ¥118.40 as of 5:56 pm in Tokyo. Moody’s cited uncertainty over whether Japan would achieve its deficit-reduction goals and succeed in boosting growth in the world’s No. 3 economy. There are increasing risks of a rise in bond yields that could make it harder for Japan to manage its debt, Moody’s said. Standard & Poor’s has Japan at “AA-,” while Fitch Ratings has Japan at “A.”


Norway plans green focus

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, will invest almost US$3 billion into green technology stocks next year, chief executive Yngve Slyngstad has signaled. Starting on Jan. 1, the US$870 billion fund is to speed investments in renewable energy, waste management and energy-storage companies, among others, Slyngstad said last week in Geneva, Switzerland. The shift is to take place over a “shorter time frame,” he said. The fund is under political pressure to boost such investments and reduce its exposure to the coal industry, but investments in the cleanest technologies have generated low returns or even losses. The European Renewable Energy Index, which includes the industry’s 10 largest and most traded stocks, delivered investors a 35 percent loss over the past five years.

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