Billiton profits drop 5.5%
Billiton yesterday posted a 5.5 percent fall in first-half profits to US$9.94 billion, largely due to volatility in commodity prices. The interim result in the six months to Dec. 31 last year was nevertheless one of the largest in Australian history and compared to the record US$10.5 billion it booked in the previous corresponding period. Revenue increased 9.7 percent to US$37.48 billion from US$34.17 billion previously. Iron ore and petroleum were the standout performers, with aluminum, base metals, nickel and diamonds among the worst.
Samsung eyes ‘smart TVs’
Samsung Electronics yesterday said it plans to sell more than 25 million “smart TVs” this year as it tries to capture the emerging Internet TV market. The firm hopes to fill more than half of its planned global flat-screen TV sales of 50 million this year with Internet-enabled, interactive TVs, said Kim Hyun-suk, head of the firm’s TV business. Samsung’s latest smart TV recognizes human voices in about 30 languages to turn itself on or off, switch channels or adjust volume. It also recognizes hand motions and offers about 1,500 applications.
Illumina rejects Roche offer
Illumina Inc’s board unanimously rejected Roche Holding AG’s US$5.7 billion bid to take over the maker of gene-mapping tools as “grossly inadequate.” “The timing of the offer is blatantly opportunistic and does not reflect Illumina’s strong platform of new products and pipeline,” chairman William Rastetter and CEO Jay Flatley said on Tuesday in a letter to shareholders. Roche went directly to shareholders of California-based Illumina in a hostile bid after the company rebuffed its approaches. The Switzerland-based drugmaker yesterday said it was “disappointed” with Illumina’s response.
Walt Disney income up 12%
The Walt Disney Co said on Tuesday that its net income rose 12 percent in the final quarter of last year, as a slimmer movie slate and upbeat theme park results helped it top earnings forecasts even while revenue gains were less than expected. Net income in the October through December period rose to US$1.46 billion, or US$0.80 per share, from US$1.30 billion, or US$0.68 per share, a year earlier. Revenue in the company’s fiscal first quarter ticked up 1 percent to US$10.78 billion from US$10.72 billion. Fees paid by distributors of ESPN rose, but advertising revenue at ESPN and broadcast network ABC was flat, the firm said.
Beijing office rents beat NY
Office rents in Beijing are more expensive than New York after rising 75 percent last year as China’s rapid economic growth sparked strong demand, Cushman & Wakefield said. Beijing is now in fifth place for the world’s most expensive office space, with New York’s midtown Manhattan coming sixth, the company said in its 2012 rankings released this month. The top spot was captured by Hong Kong, followed by London and Tokyo.
Nokia cutting 4,000 jobs
World-leading mobile phone maker Nokia plans to cut 4,000 jobs at its smartphone manufacturing facilities in Finland, Hungary and Mexico by the end of this year. “The expected headcount impact by country is 2,300 in Komarom [Hungary], 700 in Reynosa [Mexico] and 1,000 in Salo [Finland],” spokesman James Etheridge said yesterday.