Merck Q4 profit rises 6.3%
Merck KGaA posted fourth-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates on sales of its pharmaceutical manufacturing equipment. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, and excluding some costs, rose 6.3 percent to 933.4 million euros (US$1.03 billion), the Darmstadt, Germany-based company said in a statement yesterday. That is higher than the 912.7 million euro average of seven analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Merck chief executive officer Karl-Ludwig Kley has spent the last eight years restructuring the conglomerate, which has not launched a new drug in more than a decade.
Rumors fuel Burberry stock
Burberry Group PLC rose as much as 5 percent to ￡14.34 at 8am in London on speculation that the UK’s biggest luxury-goods producer is setting up defenses against a potential takeover offer. Burberry asked its advisers at Robey Warshaw to help prepare for a bid after a mystery investor built up a stake of about 5 percent in the trenchcoat maker, the Financial Times said, citing people close to the matter that it did not identify. The company asked HSBC Holdings PLC, which is the custodian for the stake, to identify the client, although the bank refused, the newspaper said. The stock has dropped 27 percent in the past year.
German production rises
German industrial production jumped more than forecast in January, in a sign that strong domestic demand might be helping to underpin factories even as external growth cools. Production, adjusted for seasonal swings, climbed 3.3 percent from the prior month after retreating a revised 0.3 percent in December last year, data from the German Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy in Berlin showed yesterday. That is the first increase in three months and compares with a median estimate of 0.5 percent growth in a Bloomberg survey of economists. The gauge rose 2.2 percent from a year earlier. Germany’s inflation rate dropped to minus-0.2 percent last month, the weakest figure in more than a year.
Gorgon producing LNG
Chevron Corp’s US$4 billion Gorgon liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, the largest resource development in Australia’s history, has started producing the super-cooled fuel. The project, whose partners include Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Exxon Mobil Corp, is due to ship its first cargo next week, Chevron said in a statement. The development is located on the Barrow Island nature reserve off northwest Australia. Gorgon is starting as weaker oil prices threaten revenue projections for LNG export developments, which typically have long-term sales contracts tied to the value of crude.
Loan-linked bonds on offer
JPMorgan Chase & Co is marketing a package of bonds tied to unsecured consumer loans that were originated by LendingClub Corp, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. The securities are backed by some of the US$1 billion of loans that JPMorgan bought from Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc earlier this year, and are split into two offerings, said the people, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Bond sales tied to personal loans made over the Internet have grown over the past two years.
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
Intel Corp has received licenses from US authorities to continue supplying certain products to Huawei Technologies Co (華為), a company spokesman said yesterday. Washington has been pushing governments around to world to squeeze out Huawei, saying that the telecom giant would hand data to Beijing for espionage. From Monday last week, new curbs have barred US companies from supplying or servicing Huawei. This week, the state-backed China Securities Journal reported that Intel had received permission to supply Huawei. China’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC, 中芯國際), which uses US-origin equipment to make chips for Huawei and other companies, last week confirmed that it had sought
Swancor Renewable Energy Co (上緯新能源) yesterday announced plans for a 4.4 gigawatt (GW) offshore wind project off Miaoli County as part of its commitment toward Taiwan’s energy transformation, the company said in a statement. The “Formosa 4” project includes three deep-water wind farms 18km to 20km off the coast, Swancor Renewable CEO Lucas Lin (林雍堯) said, adding that planning for the project began last year. A proposal for Formosa 4 was this week submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the company said. Swancor Renewable jointly developed the Formosa 1 project, a 128 megawatt (MW) wind farm about 4km off Miaoli and the
INVEST IN TAIWAN: A metal components casting firm and the world’s largest maker of aluminum bicycle rims also obtained approvals to join the program Solar Applied Materials Technology Co (SOLAR, 光洋應用材料), a part of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) “green supply chain,” has pledged to invest NT$1 billion (US$34.1 million) to build a new plant at the Tainan Technology Industrial Park (台南科技工業區), the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday. SOLAR has been collaborating with TSMC to extract precious metals from waste and reuse them as “sputtering target” material in high-end semiconductor manufacturing, a TSMC press release issued in May said. Established in 1978, SOLAR also offers key materials and integrated services to customers in the optoelectronics, information and communications technology, petrochemicals and consumer electronics industries,