Daimler’s profits double
German automaker Daimler AG said that net profit doubled in the first three months of the year, as sales were boosted by the new version of its Mercedes-Benz E-class sedan and its SUV lineup. The company raised its profit outlook for the year, with CEO Dieter Zetsche saying in a statement yesterday that earnings and sales would “significantly increase.” Net profit rose to 2.8 billion euros (US$3 billion) from 1.4 billion euros in the year-earlier quarter. Revenue rose 11 percent to 38.77 billion euros. The company credits strong sales of the E-Class, which can come loaded with advanced driver-assistance features, and SUVs, which bring high per-vehicle profits. Earnings also increased by a one-time plus of 183 million euros after new investors joined the company’s HERE mapping venture with other automakers and by currency exchange-rate shifts.
Pizza Hut going to Ethiopia
Pizza Hut is set to open three outlets in Ethiopia this year, becoming one of the first international restaurant chains to enter Africa’s second-most populous country. The shops are scheduled to begin serving in the capital, Addis Ababa, by November, franchisee Aschalew Belay said in an interview on Monday. Aschalew’s company, Belayab Foods and Franchise, will run the local outlets of the Yum! Brands Inc pizzeria and will have invested US$5.5 million in the operations by next year, said his partner, Michael Ghebru. Ethiopia is an attractive destination because of its cheap labor and electricity, said Ghebru, who will run the franchise and initially hold a 15 percent stake. There are “no major” food franchises in Addis Ababa, making competition “non-existent,” he said.
Hyundai profit falls 21%
Hyundai Motor, South Korea’s biggest automake, posted a 21 percent drop in first-quarter profits, hammered by the fallout from a diplomatic spat between Seoul and Beijing over a US missile defense system. Hyundai said in a statement yesterday that it posted 1.46 trillion won (US$1.3 billion) in net profits during the January-to-March period, its 13th consecutive quarter of profit downturn. “Partial suspensions at factories increased cost burdens, while bigger marketing fees were spent to overcome the global economic slowdown,” the company said. Hyundai recorded strong sales in emerging markets like Russia and Brazil, but “weak demand” by Chinese consumers resulted in a drop in overseas sales. Sales in China plunged 44 percent last month.
Santander profit up 14.3%
Spanish banking giant Santander yesterday said that its profits jumped in the first quarter, as a strong performance in Brazil offset weakness in Britain caused by the slump in the pound. Santander said that net profit rose 14.3 percent to 1.87 billion euros in the period from January to March. The lender said that its net profit in Brazil jumped 77 percent to 634 million euros on the back of the rise in the value of the real and improved business in the region. Brazil, which accounts for just over a quarter of Santander’s total earnings, is this year expected to emerge from a recession. In Britain, where the bank generates about one-fifth of its earnings, net profit fell 8 percent to 416 million euros as a result of the fall in the pound since the country voted to leave the EU. Profit from its banking activity in Spain rose 17.9 percent, buoyed by higher fees and lower loan-loss provisions.
STEPPING UP: The firm has also asked employees to work in split shifts from this week and to halt all but essential overseas business travel from next month Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) has implemented a remote work policy for employees not on production lines in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19, the world’s largest contract chipmaker said yesterday. This is the first time in the Hsinchu-based company’s history that it has launched a large-scale remote work policy, joining global technology companies, such as Apple Inc and Google, that encourage employees to work from home. The chipmaker has also asked employees to work in split shifts from this week, it said. As the number of virus infections continues to climb worldwide, TSMC has urged employees to halt unnecessary
Manufacturers are on a mission to produce desperately needed medical ventilators for the COVID-19 pandemic, even if it means converting assembly lines now making auto parts. Along with a shortage of masks and gloves, the spread of COVID-19 to almost every corner of the globe has highlighted a great need for specialized machines that help keep severely afflicted patients alive. “As the global pandemic evolves, there is unprecedented demand for medical equipment, including ventilators,” GE Healthcare chief executive officer Kieran Murphy said. The group has hired more workers and is making ventilators around the clock. Swedish group Getinge AB is also ramping up output
Facing the rapidly evolving global COVID-19 pandemic, Citibank Taiwan Ltd (台灣花旗) has proactively taken precautionary measures. “The health and safety of our colleagues and their families, as well as our clients and the communities we serve, are of the utmost importance. We continue to take proactive measures to preserve their well-being while we maintain our ability to serve our clients,” Citibank Taiwan chairman Paulus Mok (莫兆鴻) said in a statement yesterday. “We have local and regional contingency plans in place, and we have well-established business continuity plans for the firm. We are monitoring the situation closely, adjusting our operations accordingly,
GoShare, an electric scooter sharing service provider with Gogoro Inc (睿能創意), plans to expand to Tainan next quarter in a strategic alliance with Aeon Motor Co (宏佳騰). The company currently offers its services in Taipei and Taoyuan. “Tainan is very popular among tourists. The city receives an average of 22.94 million tourists every year,” GoShare head Henry Chiang (姜家煒) told a news conference yesterday in Taipei, citing Tourism Bureau statistics. “Besides, the city has a long history of riding scooters,” he said. Each household owns an average of 2.5 scooters, he added. “Expanding presence” is one of four strategies GoShare is adopting for this