Low orders from chipmakers
Applied Materials Inc, the largest maker of machinery used to build computer chips, forecast fiscal fourth-quarter sales that might fall short of analysts’ estimates on lower-than-expected orders from some outsourcing chipmakers. Revenue in the three months ending in October will be unchanged to down 7 percent from the previous period, the Santa Clara, California-based company said in a statement on Thursday. That indicates sales of as low as US$2.32 billion, compared with an average analyst estimate of US$2.52 billion. The company is now predicting the overall market for equipment is to be unchanged from last year and might even shrink, chief executive officer Gary Dickerson said.
EU GDP growth up 0.3%
The eurozone economy grew by less than expected in the second quarter, the EU’s statistics office said in its first estimate published yesterday. Eurostat said GDP in the 19-country euro area grew by 0.3 percent quarter-on-quarter in the April-June period, for a 1.2 percent year-on-year rise. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a 0.4 percent quarterly expansion and a 1.3 percent annual gain. The relatively slow growth came despite a large monetary stimulus from the European Central Bank and a weak euro helping exporters. “Looking ahead, business surveys suggest that the euro zone economy will continue to expand, led by strong growth in Spain and a solid German economy. But they offer little hope that the recovery will gain pace,” Capital Economics said in a note. “Indeed, we think it is more likely that growth in the region as a whole will slow further in the second half of the year.”
Swiss Life beats predictions
Swiss Life Holding AG, Switzerland’s biggest life insurer, beat analysts’ first-half profit estimates, led by revenue from fees and commissions. Net income rose to 490 million Swiss francs (US$511 million) from SF484 million a year earlier, the Zurich-based company said yesterday. That beat the SF452 million average estimate of five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Gross written premiums rose to SF11 billion from SF10.8 billion, while fee and commission income advanced 5 percent to SF612 million. Swiss Life chief executive officer Patrick Frost has been seeking to boost profitability and cut costs as low interest rates weigh on earnings.
Australian court caps fine
An Australian court yesterday forced makers of the film Dallas Buyers Club to cap penalties for illegal downloaders, a ruling welcomed by Internet companies as a “knockout blow” to the controversial tactic of threatening pirates into paying fines. The ruling puts Australia at odds with the US, UK, Canada and Germany where content owners have been allowed to send letters to suspected illegal downloaders demanding thousands of dollars to drop legal action, a measure known as “speculative invoicing.” In a lawsuit seen as a test of whether the practice is to be allowed in Australia, where a third of adults admit to stealing online, the studio, Voltage Pictures, wanted iiNet and five smaller Internet companies to hand over the addresses of 4,276 suspected offenders, but the Federal Court refused their request, saying it would only make the Internet companies hand over customer details if the producers promised to charge only the cost of buying a copy of the film.
HEAVY INVESTMENT: Moody’s affirmed the firm’s ‘Aa3’ rating with a ‘stable’ outlook due to its leading position in the industry and ability to match customer requirements Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) revenue this year is expected to increase about 21 percent to NT$1.29 trillion (US$44.01 billion) from NT$1.07 trillion last year, driven by strong demand for advanced 5-nanometer and 7-nanometer chips mainly used in smartphones and high-performance computing devices, a Moody’s Investors Service report on Wednesday said. TSMC’s rate of revenue growth next year is to increase to 7.5 percent, the ratings agency said. The company, which supplies 5-nanometer chips for Apple Inc’s new iPad series, has introduced the advanced chips ahead of its competitors and gained a significant share of the market for the foundry industry’s
Shin Kong Financial Holding Co (新光金控) yesterday said that its insurance unit would adjust its investment portfolio after being banned from buying new stocks a day earlier by the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC). “We will research what we can do based on the commission’s specific instructions after we receive the regulator’s formal documents,” Shin Kong Financial spokesman Sunny Hsu (徐順鋆) told the Taipei Times by telephone. The commission on Tuesday fined Shin Kong Life Insurance Co (新光人壽) NT$27.6 million (US$941,722) for reckless investment, and demanded that the insurer reduce its overseas investment ratio from 43 percent to 39 percent. The fine would affect
Taipei Times: When do you think the hospitality industry can return to how it was before the COVID-19 pandemic? How does Formosa International Hotels Group (FIH, 晶華酒店集團) fare this quarter and beyond? FIH chairman Steve Pan (潘思亮): The virus outbreak will have a serious impact on business travel, driven mainly by meetings, incentive travel, conferences and exhibitions over the past three decades. For the past six months, many businesspeople have grown used to exchanging information on the Internet, where more people can participate. The trend might sustain for three to five years until people are vaccinated and it is safe to
NO VIRUS BLUES: A SEMI Taiwan official said that the virus does not slow down the global semiconductor industry’s investment in manufacturing equipment The production value of the nation’s semiconductor industry is expected to grow 16.7 percent this year from last year, outpacing the global industry’s 3.3 percent growth, industry association SEMI said yesterday. That would help Taiwan safeguard its second spot in the global semiconductor market with a production value of more than NT$3 trillion (US$102.73 billion), SEMI Taiwan president Terry Tsao (曹世綸) told a media briefing in Taipei for the Semicon Taiwan trade show beginning today. The global semiconductor industry’s production value is expected to increase to US$426 billion this year, SEMI said. In terms of semiconductor equipment investment, equipment billings from Taiwanese firms