Toyota, BMW in green tie-up
Toyota Motor is expanding a tie-up with Germany’s BMW on hybrid and fuel-cell vehicle technology as the global automakers push further into the “green” market, a report said yesterday. The two firms’ top executives will announce in Germany this week that they are boosting a previously announced agreement involving joint research on next-generation lithium ion batteries, the Nikkei Shimbun business daily said. The initial tie-up involved technology for electric cars, and the broadened deal will focus on batteries for hybrid gasoline-electric and fuel-cell vehicles, it said. It marks the first time that Japan’s top automaker will supply its fuel-cell technology to a rival, it said.
London Gatwick profit rises
London’s Gatwick airport reported a strong rise in full-year profit, helped by traffic growth and the addition of new routes to emerging markets in Asia. London’s second-largest airport said yesterday its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 17 percent to ￡221.5 million (US$344.63 million) in the year to the end of March. Revenues rose 8.6 percent to ￡517.4 million. Gatwick, owned by Global Infrastructure Partners — an investment fund founded by Credit Suisse and General Electric — said passenger traffic grew 6.9 percent to 33.8 million, boosted by its investment program and new routes to emerging markets, including South Korea, Turkey, Vietnam, Hong Kong and China, Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate said.
iPhone gets ‘check-in’ app
Apple Inc’s upcoming iPhone map application will include Yelp Inc’s “check-in” feature to let users broadcast their whereabouts to friends, according to materials Apple distributed to software developers. Apple Maps, which will replace Google Inc as the default location service in software set to debut later this year, will allow users to communicate through Yelp without exiting the map and opening a new app, the materials show. Yelp, a Web site that lets users review businesses ranging from plumbers to pet shops, introduced the service in 2010 to help build local vendors’ customer loyalty.
Fonterra opens to outsiders
The New Zealand farmers who jointly own dairy giant Fonterra voted to allow outsiders to invest in the company for the first time. The 10,500 farmers who own the company voted yesterday in favor of starting a fund worth about US$400 million that would allow investors to buy non-voting shares. The investors will get dividends, but no ownership stake. About two-thirds of farmers who voted favored the move. Fonterra describes the move as a way to better secure its finances and says it remains committed to its farmers retaining 100 percent control and ownership of the company. Fonterra is the world’s largest exporter of dairy products, accounting for about 30 percent of the global dairy export trade.
Porsche banks on profit
Porsche SE is sticking to a forecast that it will be profitable this year, even as the sovereign debt crisis in Europe holds back car sales. Porsche and Volkswagen AG are likely to report increased vehicle deliveries this year, though “the second half of 2012 is certain to become more difficult and challenging for the automotive industry as a whole,” Porsche chief executive Martin Winterkorn said yesterday in the text of a speech to be delivered at the annual shareholders meeting.