Bank maintains interest rate
South Korea’s central bank yesterday kept its key interest rate unchanged at 2.75 percent following a cut last month, as the fourth-largest economy in Asia showed small signs of recovering from a year-long slump. The bank had cut the rate by 25 basis points last month, the second policy easing in three months aimed at arresting a slowdown in the country’s export-driven economy caused by the global downturn. Last month’s exports grew 1.2 percent, after three months of contraction.
Authorities probe HSBC bank
Tax authorities have launched a probe into HSBC over offshore accounts opened in Jersey by serious criminals living in the UK, the Daily Telegraph reported yesterday. The Revenue and Customs department opened the inquiry after a whistleblower handed them details of every British client holding an account with the banking giant in the low-tax Channel Island, according to the paper. The list is reported to include a convicted drug dealer, a man convicted of possessing hundreds of weapons and three bankers facing major fraud claims.
Groupon reports losses
Online discount deal broker Groupon came under fresh pressure on Thursday after reporting a loss of US$3 million in results that came up shy of most analyst forecasts for a small profit. Groupon shares tumbled 16 percent in after-hours trade to US$3.28. The company made its stock market debut at US$20 per share a year ago and peaked above US$31 dollars a share before analysts soured on the company’s prospects. Revenue increased 32 percent year-on-year to US$568.6 million in the third quarter, while gross billings increased 5 percent year-on-year to US$1.22 billion.
Disney sees rise in income
The Walt Disney Co says its net income in the latest quarter rose 14 percent thanks to an uptick in revenue driven by higher consumer spending at its theme parks and on its cruise ships. Net income rose to US$1.24 billion, or US$0.68 per share, from US$1.09 billion, or US$0.58 per share, a year ago. One-time items offset each other, and the adjusted earnings of US$0.68 per share matched the expectations of analysts polled by FactSet. Revenue rose 3 percent to US$10.78 billion, slightly below the US$10.9 billion analysts expected.
Maersk Line books profit
A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S said its container-shipping line, the world’s largest, returned to profit in the third quarter as freight rates rose. Maersk Line’s net income totaled 2.87 billion kroner (US$490 million) compared with a year-earlier loss of 1.53 billion kroner, the Copenhagen-based company said yesterday in a statement. The shipping operator yesterday kept a forecast of a “modest” profit for this year, while lowering an estimate for global container demand growth to 3 percent from 4 percent in August.
Iberia airline to cut jobs
Iberia is to shed 4,500 jobs in a bid to save Spain’s biggest airline from collapse, parent group International Airlines Group (IAG) announced yesterday. “A comprehensive plan to save Iberia after record losses and return it to profitability was announced today by International Airlines Group,” an official statement said. IAG announced a “reduction of 4,500 jobs to safeguard around 15,500 posts across the airline.”