Sat, Feb 15, 2020 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

AUTOMAKERS

Renault posts losses

Renault yesterday reported its first loss in a decade and cut its margin target for this year, as it attempts to draw a line under the Carlos Ghosn affair and reboot its Nissan alliance. The French automaker is trying to move on from the internal turmoil sparked by the scandal involving its former CEO Ghosn with a management shake-up. Meanwhile, it is grappling like other automakers with tumbling demand in some key markets like China. Renault posted a loss of 141 million euros (US$153 million) for the group share of net income, in part as a result of charges linked to some of its Chinese joint ventures. The contribution from Nissan, in which Renault has a 43 percent stake, also fell and it was hit by a French deferred tax charge. Renault set an operating margin target next year of between 3 and 4 percent, down from 4.8 percent last year, and sliced its proposed dividend for last year by almost 70 percent from a year earlier.

AIRLINES

Carriers face US$5bn hit

An outbreak of COVID-19 in China could mean a US$4 billion to US$5 billion drop in worldwide airline revenue, the International Civil Aviation Organization said on Thursday. The UN agency reported that 70 airlines have canceled all international flights in and out of China, and 50 others have reduced their operations. Preliminary estimates show this has meant a reduction of nearly 20 million passengers compared with expectations for the first quarter. That figure equates to potential lost revenue of up to US$5 billion, the agency said. “Prior to the outbreak, airlines had planned to increase capacity by 9 percent on international routes to/from China for the first quarter of 2020 compared to 2019,” it said in a statement. However, foreign airline traveler capacity in and out of the country has gone down 80 percent, it added.

FOOD

Chocolatier offers 3D fare

Hotels, pastry chefs and coffee chains can soon start offering guests customized 3D-printed chocolate thanks to a little-known Swiss chocolatier. Barry Callebaut AG, the behind-the-scenes producer of a quarter of the world’s chocolate, is giving gourmet clients access to a method of printing personalized designs en masse, the Zurich-based company said in a statement yesterday. The technology would first be available through the company’s Mona Lisa brand, which makes chocolate decorations, sprinkles and figurines. The move comes as the chocolate industry faces meager growth prospects. Lindt & Spruengli has said it plans to close 50 stores in the US.

AGRICULTURE

India budges on US imports

India has offered to partially open up its poultry and dairy markets in a bid for a limited trade deal during US President Donald Trump’s first official visit to the country this month, people familiar with the protracted talks say. India, the world’s largest milk-producing nation, has traditionally restricted dairy imports to protect the livelihoods of 80 million rural households. It has offered to allow imports of US chicken legs, turkey and produce, such as blueberries and cherries, government sources said, and has offered to cut tariffs on chicken legs from 100 percent to 25 percent. US negotiators want that tariff cut to 10 percent. India is also offering some access to India’s dairy market, but with a 5 percent tariff and quotas, the sources said. However, dairy imports require certification that they are not derived from animals fed internal organs, blood meal or tissues of ruminants.

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