Fitch affirms credit rating
Fitch Ratings affirmed Italy’s “A-” credit rating on Friday, pointing to progress on cutting its public spending deficit, but kept the outlook negative citing the risk of possible political and policy instability following upcoming elections. “The current rating is based on the assumption that a stable new government will be formed shortly after the forthcoming elections and the government’s policies will be consistent with recent structural reforms, and further measures to enhance the economy’s competitiveness and growth potential will be adopted,” Fitch said in a statement. Fitch’s affirmation of the country’s rating comes after a tumultuous week in the country’s politics. In affirming the “A-” rating, Fitch said the country is in line to generate a surplus of 3 percent this year before debt payments.
Samsung not employing kids
Samsung Electronics Co, the world’s largest maker of televisions and mobile phones, said supplier HTNS Shenzhen Co (深圳市赫那羅國際) has not employed underage workers, dismissing claims raised by a labor-rights group. “We have confirmed that there are no underage workers employed” at HTNS Shenzhen, the Suwon, South Korea-based company said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. Manufacturers including Samsung and Apple Inc have faced scrutiny for the way component suppliers in China treat workers. HTNS, a maker of mobile-phone covers in Huizhou City, has employed at least three girls under the legal working age of 16, according to a report by China Labor Watch. Samsung’s investigation included a meeting on Friday with the “alleged underage employee” at the supplier and a representative from the labor group, the company said in yesterday’s statement.
Output rebounds from Sandy
Factories rebounded last month from Hurricane Sandy, boosting production of cars, equipment and appliances. However, after factoring out the impact from the storm, the broader trend in manufacturing remained weak. The US Federal Reserve said on Friday that factory output increased 1.1 percent last month from October. That offset a 1 percent decline in the previous, which was blamed on the storm. Auto production jumped 4.5 percent last month, the first increase since July. Production of primary metals, wood products, electrical equipment and appliances all showed gains. Total industrial output at factories, mines and utilities rose also rose 1.1 percent last month, after a 0.7 percent decline in October.
Firm reaches financing deal
Alcatel-Lucent SA reached a 1.6 billion euro (US$2.1 billion) financing deal, gaining time to overhaul the French phone-equipment maker and try to sell as much as 1.5 billion euros of assets. The senior secured credit facilities, underwritten by Credit Suisse Group AG and Goldman Sachs Group Inc, will be denominated in US dollars and euros, with maturities of three-and-a-half to six years, the Paris-based company said yesterday. The funding will allow Alcatel to “aggressively” consider all options to boost profitability, improve its strategy and shore up the company’s finances, Chief Executive Officer Ben Verwaayen said in a statement.