Sat, May 20, 2017 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take



Japan backs hydrogen cars

Japan is backing a push for pollution-free vehicles that run on hydrogen and plans to build more hydrogen fueling stations so that fuel-cell vehicles on roads will grow from the current handful to 40,000 by 2020. The collaboration on fuel cells, announced yesterday, brings together 11 companies, including automakers Toyota Motor Corp, Nissan Motor Co and Honda Motor Co; energy and gas companies; and a bank. Fuel-cell vehicles run on power produced when hydrogen combines with oxygen in the air to create water. Only a handful of such vehicles are on roads, partly because of the scarcity of hydrogen stations. For example, Honda has delivered only 245 of its latest Clarity fuel-cell vehicles in Japan and the US.


Central bank increases rate

The central bank has raised its benchmark interest rate by a quarter-point to 6.75 percent as inflation continues to outpace targets. The Bank of Mexico said the move seeks to calm the rise in consumer prices, as well as expectations for increases, gradually bringing inflation back to the target of 3 percent. The central bank on Thursday said in a statement that inflation hit 5.82 percent last month. The bank foresees inflation remaining high in the near-term, but heading toward 3 percent late this year and next year. The bank said that investment has lagged due to uncertainty in the country’s relationship with the US.


Altice breached rules: EU

The EU on Thursday said Altice NV breached EU rules by prematurely taking over PT Portugal Telecom SGPS SA without full clearance from regulators. The European Commission can fine the company up to 10 percent of its annual worldwide turnover. Netherlands-listed Altice, which is owned by French-Israeli billionaire Patrick Drahi, said it “does not agree with the European Commission’s preliminary conclusions and will submit a full response ... and contest all the objections.” Thursday’s announcement would not affect regulatory approval granted for the 7.4 billion euros transaction in April 2015, the commission said.


SBI more than doubles profit

State Bank of India (SBI), the country’s largest lender by assets, more than doubled its fourth-quarter profit as its bad loan ratio narrowed. Net income climbed to 28.1 billion rupees (US$432.7 million), or 3.55 rupees per share, in the three months ended March 31, compared with 12.6 billion rupees, or 1.64 rupees per share, a year earlier, the Mumbai-based lender said yesterday. Profit beat the 27.9 billion rupee average of 21 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Lawmakers recently approved a proposal giving the Reserve Bank of India more powers to resolve the nation’s US$180 billion pile of stressed loans.


Gap profit tops expectations

Gap Inc on Thursday reported a quarterly profit that topped Wall Street expectations. The San Francisco-based company said that from February to last month net income totaled US$143 million, or US$0.36 per share, up from US$127 million, or US$0.32 per share, in the same period a year earlier. Wall Street had predicted earnings of US$0.29 per share. Overall revenue was unchanged at US$3.44 billion, beating Wall Street’s estimate of US$3.41 billion. “The retail environment continues to be challenging,” CEO Art Peck said in a statement, but added that Gap is improving its “product quality and fit,” and getting better at reacting to changes in fashion trends.

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