Thu, Feb 01, 2018 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

AUTOMAKERS

Volvo buoyed by US market

Volvo AB’s fourth-quarter profit surged 30 percent as the Swedish manufacturer reaped the rewards of buoyant truck markets in the US and sold more construction equipment in China. Earnings before interest and taxes adjusted for one-time items increased to 7.33 billion kronor (US$933 million) from 5.66 billion kronor a year earlier, the Gothenburg-based truckmaker said in a statement yesterday. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg were estimating profit of 7.29 billion kronor, on average. The operating margin widened from 6.9 percent to 8 percent of revenue. The result pushed Volvo closer to a goal of bringing operating profit consistently above 10 percent of revenue. Efforts to improve profitability, including the elimination of thousands of jobs, were championed by activist shareholder Cevian Capital AB.

AGRICULTURE

Ghana Cocoa to sell debt

Ghana’s cocoa regulator is to sell as much as 2.5 billion Ghanaian cedis (US$554 million) of debt to pay for liabilities and operational costs while pledging to end subsidies for farmers, Ghanaian Deputy Minister of Finance Charles Adu Boahen said. The debt sale is to follow after the Ghana Cocoa Board opted to prop up farmer pay with 984 million Ghanaian cedis in the current season, incurred losses of at least 110 million Ghanaian cedis during the previous crop and had to deal with legacy debts from an administration that was replaced last year. The pledge to end subsidies signal a policy shift after the world’s second-biggest cocoa grower ruled out changing producer payments since setting the minimum price at 7,600 Ghanaian cedis per tonne in October 2016.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Line to expand services

Line Corp, Japan’s biggest messaging service, is expanding into financial services including cryptocurrency trading, loans and insurance. The company established Line Financial Corp on Jan. 10 and has already applied for a license to open a cryptocurrency exchange in Japan, according to a statement yesterday. Line is also considering expanding its cryptocurrency operations to Hong Kong and Luxembourg next, people familiar with the matter said. The company’s shares rose as much as 3.6 percent in Tokyo, adding to gains after Bloomberg News first reported the expansion. Since Line’s listing in July 2016, the company has scaled back its global ambitions to focus on markets where it already has top share — Taiwan, Japan, Thailand and Indonesia. Chief executive officer Takeshi Idezawa has set out to transform the messaging app into an all-in-one communications and entertainment service over the next five years.

MINING

Rio accused of tax dodge

Rio Tinto Group has been accused by a Dutch non-profit group of avoiding about US$700 million in taxes related to its Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in Mongolia. The company denied the allegations. Rio and its Canadian subsidiary Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd used so-called mailbox companies in Luxembourg and the Netherlands to fund the development of the mine in Mongolia, the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) said in a report yesterday. The company avoided US$470 million in Canadian taxes through the vehicles and US$230 million in Mongolian taxes, group said. “The flawed SOMO report contains a number of unsubstantiated and incorrect allegations regarding tax,” London-based Rio said in an e-mailed statement.

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