ABN Amro misses estimates
ABN Amro Group NV missed fourth-quarter profit estimates on increased anti-money laundering costs and as an anticipated dividend increase failed to materialize. The Dutch lender kept its dividend at 1.45 euros for last year, the same as the year before, missing analyst estimates of 1.54 euros. Fourth-quarter net income was 316 million euros (US$357.7 million), including 85 million euros in pre-tax for additional costs of customer due diligence programs and elevated loan impairments. The CET 1 ratio declined to 18.4 percent from 18.6 percent in the previous quarter, maintaining one of the highest capital buffers in Europe. Net interest income fell to 1.64 billion euros from 1.7 billion euros a year earlier, as ABN Amro faced increased competitions from new players — mostly pension funds and insurers — in the mortgage market.
Heineken beats forecast
Heineken NV, the second-largest brewer in the world, reported full-year earnings that beat analysts’ estimates, helped by the fastest sales growth of its namesake brand in a decade. Adjusted operating profit on an organic basis rose 6.4 percent to 3.87 billion euros last year, beating the average analyst estimate of 3.84 billion euros. Full-year beer volume rose 4.2 percent, the Dutch company said. Analysts expected 4 percent growth. The rise of low and no-alcohol beers is increasing demand for Heineken 0.0, helping the brewer’s flagship brand boost volumes by 7.7 percent. Heineken reported that profit growth was partly due to running its business more efficiently as commodity expenses rise. The company has forecast a mid-single-digit percentage growth in operating profit this year as it tries to manage those costs.
Ghosn lawyers withdraw
Carlos Ghosn’s Japanese lawyers, hired after the former Nissan Motor Co chairman was sent to jail in November last year, have asked to be removed from the case, potentially hurting the executive’s defense against the financial misconduct allegations that have shocked the global auto industry. Ghosn has selected Junichiro Hironaka as his new lawyer, the Sankei reported, citing unidentified people. The previous lawyers, including Motonari Otsuru, have notified the court that they will no longer represent him as counsel, an e-mailed statement showed yesterday.
Inflation slows to 1.9%
Cheaper gasoline and energy brought cheer to households last month as consumer prices likely rose at their slowest annual pace in two years, data showed yesterday. Inflation probably eased to 1.9 percent, below the Bank of England’s 2 percent target for the first time since January 2017. The figures were expected to provide policymakers with further reasons to refrain from increasing interest rates as Brexit uncertainty grips the economy.
India poses opportunity
India is presenting a potential investment opportunity of US$50 billion in battery storage facilities that could help integrate renewable energy into the grid, replace polluting diesel-fueled power and boosting electric mobility, US energy firm AES Corp chief executive Andres Gluski said. AES completed the nation’s first 10-megawatt battery-storage system to support the grid in the capital, New Delhi. Built in partnership with Mitsubishi Corp for almost US$9 million, the project would demonstrate the benefits of energy storage to clients, regulators and the government, Gluski said.
POOR INTERNAL CONTROLS: Insurance Bureau Director-General Shih Chiung-hwa said the company is expected to get back on track while its chairman is suspended The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) yesterday fined Shin Kong Life Insurance Co (新光人壽) NT$27.6 million (US$939,415) for a reckless investment that endangered its solvency, and suspended its chairman Eugene Wu (吳東進) for poor supervision. The penalty is the second-highest in a single case after Nan Shan Life Insurance Co (南山人壽) was fined NT$30 million in September last year and its chairman Du Ying-tzyong (杜英宗) suspended for two years, the commission said. In three rounds of special and regular examinations conducted since last year, the commission found that Shin Kong Life had given too much power to an asset and liability management committee
Nano-X Imaging Ltd, a start-up founded by Israeli investor Ran Poliakine, is joining forces with South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix Inc to build a machine that could disrupt a century-old X-ray industry. Valued at about US$2 billion after listing on the NASDAQ last month, Nano-X is seeking to transform a multibillion-dollar industry that has essentially relied on the same technology since Nobel Prize in Physics winner Wilhelm Roentgen discovered X-rays in the late 19th century. Nano-X’s device uses semiconductors instead of metal filaments to generate X-rays. The backing of SK Hynix, the world’s second-largest maker of memory chips, is a boost for
Continental AG, which makes control units for Daimler AG cars, cannot pursue antitrust claims against a group of patent owners, including Qualcomm Inc, which are seeking royalties on telecommunications technology, a federal judge in Texas ruled. Avanci LLC, a licensing pool formed by Qualcomm, Nokia Oyj, Sharp Corp and other owners of patents on technology standards, is not breaching antitrust laws when it negotiates license agreements with automakers rather than the component makers, Barbara Lynn, chief district judge for the Northern District of Texas, said in dismissing the suit in a decision posted on Friday. The licensing group charges US$15 per vehicle
Sony Corp has cut its estimated Play Station 5 (PS5) production for this fiscal year by 4 million units, down to about 11 million, following production issues with its custom-designed system-on-chip (SOC) for the new console, people familiar with the matter said. The Tokyo-based electronics giant in July boosted orders with suppliers in anticipation of heightened demand for gaming in the holiday season and beyond, as people spend more time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the company has come up against manufacturing issues, such as production yields as low as 50 percent for its SOC, which have cut into