World Business Quick Take - Taipei Times
Wed, May 16, 2018 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

TELECOMS

Vodafone back in the black

British giant Vodafone yesterday announced a return to annual profit, as it revealed that long-serving chief executive Vittorio Colao would step down later this year. Chief financial officer Nick Read is to succeed Colao from October, with the announcement coming less than a week after Vodafone unveiled a deal to turn it into Europe’s largest cable and broadband operator by buying assets from US peer Liberty Global. Vodafone posted a net profit of 2.4 billion euros (US$2.9 billion) in the 12 months to the end of March, which compared with a loss after tax of 6.3 billion euros the previous year, the group said in a statement. The turnaround pointed to a “year of significant operational and strategic achievement, and strong financial performance,” Colao said.

VIETNAM

Fitch upgrades rating

The nation won a sovereign rating upgrade from Fitch Ratings on strong economic growth and rising foreign-exchange reserves and. The rating on the nation’s long-term, foreign currency-denominated debt was raised one level to “BB,” with a stable outlook, Fitch said in a statement yesterday. The upgrade puts Vietnam at the second-highest speculative grade and on a par with Costa Rica. The government has committed to containing debt and reforming its state-owned enterprises, boosting its track record of policymaking. Reserves are forecast to climb to about US$66 billion by the end of this year from US$49 billion last year, while general government debt is likely to decline to below 50 percent of GDP by next year, according to Fitch calculations.

CHINA

Investment, sales weak

The government reported weaker-than-expected investment and retail sales last month, and a drop in home sales, clouding its economic outlook. Fixed asset investment grew the slowest since 1999 and the pace of retail sales softened to a four-month low, data showed yesterday, suggesting a loss of momentum in the world’s second-largest economy following generally soft readings in March. The lone bright spot was industrial output, which jumped more than expected as the automobile sector rebounded and steel production surged. Industrial output rose 7 percent last month, the National Bureau of Statistics said, from a seven-month low of 6 percent in March. The statistics bureau said Sino-US trade frictions have yet to make an impact on the economy.

AUTOMAKERS

Tesla unveils reorganization

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk on Monday told employees that the electric automaker is being reorganized to speed up production of Model 3 vehicles — a key to profitability at the fast-growing firm. “We are flattening the management structure to improve communication, combining functions where sensible and trimming activities that are not vital to the success of our mission,” Musk said in an internal note. Musk said Tesla is on the road to hitting goals in coming months for the more affordable Model 3 and achieving profitability by the end of this year.

INSURANCE

Allianz profit up 6.8%

Allianz SE’s first-quarter profit rose 6.8 percent, boosted by US President Donald Trump’s changes to US corporate tax and lower restructuring charges. Income from property and casualty premiums rose as customers opted for more coverage after last year’s US hurricanes and California wildfires contributed to a record year for losses.

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