Harmony Gold’s profits rise
South African miner Harmony Gold’s half-year profit rose 49 percent, boosted by improved performance at its South African operations, the firm said yesterday. Headline earnings per share, the main profit measure in South Africa that strips out certain one-off items, rose to 2.24 rand per share for the six months ended Dec. 31 last year from 1.50 rand per share in the previous period. The figure was in line with what the firm previously flagged to the market. The group, which has operations in South Africa and Papua New Guinea, saw gold production for the half-year period rise to 560,003 ounces, compared with 553,862 ounces in the previous period.
Regal RA receives license
Dubai gold trader Regal RA DMCC is the first company in the Middle East to get a license to trade cryptocurrencies, the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) said. The company will offer storage of Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies in a vault located in center’s headquarters in Almas Tower in Dubai, the center said in a statement. Regal RA started trading gold in Dubai in 2016. “At the heart of DMCC’s long term strategic growth plan is the use of technology and innovation to disrupt and connect new markets, industries and customers,” center executive chairman Ahmed Bin Sulayem said. “The announcement today embodies this approach.”
Mercedes-Benz drops show
The Detroit auto show will be missing a famous star next year, with Mercedes-Benz choosing to sit out the iconic event. The top-selling luxury carmaker continuously reviews the platforms it chooses to reach customers and has decided not to participate in the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in 2019, according to an e-mailed statement. Bloomberg News reported last week that the Daimler AG-owned brand had been mulling the decision as auto manufacturers increasingly participate in tech conferences and do major reveals at their own showcases.
Amazon to cut Seattle jobs
Amazon.com Inc is to cut a “small” number of positions at its Seattle headquarters, after ramping up hiring last year. The company did not give an exact number, but the Seattle Times, citing a person familiar with the cuts, says they affect a few hundred people. That would be a small percentage of the 40,000 people Amazon employs at its headquarters, and an even smaller proportion of its 566,000 employees worldwide. Amazon says it is still hiring aggressively in some areas and would consider those affected for other roles. Amazon said it hired 130,000 people last year, a 66 percent increase over 2016.
New offer for TDC Group
Danish company TDC Group on Monday said it received a sweetened bid from an Australian-Danish consortium for all of its shares. That led it to call off its own US$2.5 billion takeover plan of Sweden’s Modern Times Group’s broadcasting and entertainment operations. The Copenhagen-based company said it urged investors to back the cash offer of about 40 billion Danish kroner (US$6.7 billion) from Australia’s Macquarie and three Danish pension funds. TDC, formerly known as Tele Danmark Communications, had last week rejected a US$6 billion takeover from the same consortium, which is pledging to make substantial investments into the company’s network infrastructure.
NOT ALL GOOD: Analysts warned that other data for last month might be less rosy due to the virus and analysts expect the PMI to contract again next month Chinese factory activity saw surprise growth last month as businesses went back to work following a lengthy shutdown, but analysts said that the economy faces a challenging recovery as external demand has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, while the World Bank said that growth could screech to a halt. China is slowly returning to life after months of tough restrictions aimed at containing the virus, which put millions of people into virtual house arrest and brought economic activity to a near standstill. The strict measures saw a closely watched gauge of manufacturing plunge to its lowest level on record in February,
The output of the global smartphone industry this year is to contract by 7.8 percent on an annual basis as the COVID-19 pandemic ushers in a global recession, Taipei-based market researcher TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) said in a report on Monday. The global production of smartphones is expected to fall to 1.29 billion units, as the pandemic dampens demand for consumer electronics, leading to a decline in shipments across Europe and North America, TrendForce said. With consumers delaying smartphone purchases and thereby lengthening the device replacement cycle, overall prices would suffer a setback that is expected to negatively affect the profitability of smartphone
ELECTRONICS Lite-On delays sale of unit Lite-On Technology Corp (光寶科技) yesterday said it would postpone the sale of its solid-state drives (SSD) business to Kioxia Holdings Corp, formerly known as Toshiba Memory Holdings Corp, due to disruptions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the Taiwan-based electronics components supplier struck the deal with the Japanese firm, agreeing to sell the unit for US$165 million. Citing unfinished integration work due to the pandemic, Lite-On has deferred today’s closing date until further notice, adding that the delay would not have a negative effect on the unit’s operations. AUTO PARTS Hiroca approves dividend Automotive interior parts supplier Hiroca
ALL ABOUT STRATEGY: The company is optimistic, saying that its gross margin should increase year-on-year, but it is scaling back on its plans to expand capacity Quang Viet Enterprise Co (QVE, 廣越), which makes down jackets and garments for sportswear and outdoor brands including Adidas AG, yesterday said that revenue might drop 5 to 10 percent annually this year as some customers trimmed orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. That would mark its first revenue decline since 2016. Quang Viet posted record-high revenue of NT$16.26 billion (US$537.45 million) last year, up 22 percent from 2018. Down jackets made up 40 percent of it revenue last year. North Face Inc and Patagonia Inc are this year likely to reduce orders by 20 to 30 percent from a