India car sales drop further
India’s domestic passenger vehicle sales fell for the ninth straight month last month, an auto industry body said yesterday, amid a deepening crisis in the nation’s automobile sector that has triggered large-scale job losses. Sales of passenger vehicles to auto dealers fell 30.9 percent to 200,790, data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) showed. Commercial vehicles sales dropped 25.7 percent to 56,866 units, SIAM said. Motorcycle and scooters sales declined 16.8 percent to about 1.51 million units, while passenger car sales fell 36 percent to 122,956 units, the data showed.
Diageo to sell Cuban rum
A subsidiary of British drinks giant Diageo PLC on Monday announced a joint venture with Havana’s state distiller to market and distribute Cuban rum, defying US efforts to block foreign investment in the communist-run country. The Diageo subsidiary and state company Cuba Ron will be equal partners in Santiago SA, a company that will internationally market the Santiago de Cuba brand, one of the island’s premium spirits. To comply with US law, the Diageo subsidiary would have no interaction with any of the beverage group’s US-based businesses or involve any US employees.
L’Oreal guilty of trade theft
L’Oreal SA must pay a California-based start-up US$91.4 million for stealing its trade secrets, breaching a contract and infringing two patents related to a popular system that protects hair during bleaching treatments, a federal jury ruled on Monday. Olaplex LLC had accused the French giant of stealing the secrets in a meeting in California in 2015, when the companies were in talks for L’Oreal to buy the start-up. L’Oreal, during a week-long trial in Wilmington, Delaware, said it independently conceived the use of a critical acid in August 2014 and developed its products on its own. The jury also found that L’Oreal’s acts were intentional, leaving the door open for the judge to substantially increase the damages if he chooses.
Verizon selling Tumblr
Verizon Communications Inc agreed to sell the blogging platform Tumblr to Automattic Inc, the latest sign the wireless giant is dismantling its online empire. Terms of the transaction were not material, Verizon said, suggesting Tumblr sold for a tiny fraction of the US$1.1 billion it fetched in 2013. Verizon acquired the site as part of its 2017 purchase of Yahoo. Automattic already owns a group of publishing sites, including WordPress and Longreads, and sees Tumblr as a good fit. The Wall Street Journal previously reported on the sale, saying that Automattic would take on about 200 staffers.
Huawei hires trade lobby
Huawei Technologies Co (華為) has hired the law firm Sidley Austin LLP to lobby on trade as the US pressures allies to join it in blacklisting the Chinese telecom giant, which has found itself increasingly mired in US President Donald Trump’s trade war with Beijing. The lobbying, which began last month, will focus on export controls, trade sanctions “and other national security-related topics,” according to a disclosure filed with the US Senate. The document shows that Huawei is deepening its ties to Sidley Austin, which is already working on the company’s legal challenges in the US, while also ramping up its lobbying presence.
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