Sat, Jan 09, 2016 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

CHINA

Fashion boss disappears

The chairman of one of China’s most prominent fashion firms, Metersbonwe (美特斯邦威), has disappeared, the company said yesterday. Metersbonwe could reach neither Zhou Chengjian (周成建), ranked China’s 62nd-richest man last year by wealth publisher Hurun, nor the secretary of the board, it said in a statement to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. Trading in its shares would remain suspended “to protect investors’ interests,” the company said. Without citing a source, the Qianjiang Evening News said Zhou might have been detained in connection with an insider trading case. Hurun estimated Zhou’s net worth at US$4.1 billion.

GERMANY

Industrial production slips

Industrial production decreased by 0.3 percent in November from a month earlier, weighed down by falling activity in the manufacturing sector, the economy ministry said yesterday. Manufacturing output was down by 0.8 percent month-on-month, while construction output increased by 1.6 percent and energy output was up 2.5 percent, the ministry said. Other data released showed that exports inched up by a seasonally adjusted 0.4 percent to 99.3 billion euros (US$108 billion) in November. Imports grew more strongly, rising by 1.6 percent to 79.6 billion euros, meaning that the trade surplus fell to 19.7 billion euros in November from 20.5 billion euros in October.

UNITED STATES

Time Warner suspects hack

Time Warner Cable Inc on Thursday said the e-mail addresses and passwords of about 320,000 of its customers in the US might have been stolen by hackers. The company was told by the FBI about the possible compromise and has yet to determine how the information was stolen. However, the company said there is no evidence of a breach of the Time Warner Cable systems that operate customer e-mail accounts. The company said it is likely that the e-mails and passwords were previously stolen either through malware downloaded during phishing attacks, or indirectly through data breaches of other companies that stored the company’s customer information.

INVESTMENT

Noble downgraded to junk

Embattled trader Noble Group Ltd saw its credit rating downgraded to junk status by the Standard & Poor’s ratings agency on Thursday, citing the Hong Kong-based firm’s weakening “liquidity position.” Noble’s long-term corporate credit rating was lowered to “BB+” from “BBB-,” the ratings agency said, adding that the current depressed commodities markets and heightened risk aversion by lenders could complicate the company’s fund raising plans for the next few months. S&P’s move followed a similar move by Moody’s Investors Service in late last month.

RETAIL

Gap sales fall 5 percent

Gap Inc’s slump continued through the holiday season. The San Francisco-based retailer, which operates stores under its own brand, as well as Banana Republic and Old Navy, said on Thursday that a key sales measure fell 5 percent for the five-week period ending on Saturday last week. The decline was worse than the 3.5 percent drop analysts expected, on average. The company’s total revenue dropped 4 percent to US$2.01 billion for the five-week period. Gap’s shares dropped more than 8 percent in after-hours trading to US$24.52. Shares have been down nearly 40 percent for the past 12 months.

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