Credit Suisse ruled liable
Credit Suisse Group AG was ruled by a judge to be liable for all damages that could be awarded to noteholders suing the bank over fraud at National Century Financial Enterprises Inc, a figure investors’ lawyers put at more than US$2 billion. US District Judge James Graham on Friday said that because New York law governs apportionment of fault in the case, Credit Suisse will be liable for 100 percent of former chief executive officer Lance Poulsen’s share of damages. Noteholders claim that the bank — the placement agent — knew or should have known of a US$2.9 billion fraud that led to National Century’s collapse in 2002.
Smartphone sales boom
Global smartphone sales soared last year, taking a huge slice of a mobile phone market that was otherwise flat, survey data showed on Friday. A report by researcher IDC showed a 44 percent jump in smartphone sales for the year, with 712 million units sold. That accounted for 45.5 percent of all mobile phone shipments. The global market for all mobile phones grew just 1.2 percent to 1.7 billion units, IDC said. It added that Samsung Electronics Co extended its dominance in both smartphones and overall mobile phones. The South Korean giant captured 29 percent of the smartphone market — compared with Apple Inc’s 21.8 percent — and 23 percent of the overall market, ahead of Nokia Oyj’s 17.9 percent. A big surge also came from Chinese manufacturers Huawei (華為) and ZTE (中興), which broke into the top ranks of smartphone vendors thanks to growth in emerging markets, IDC said. Huawei grabbed 4.9 percent of the smartphone market, making it the third-largest, and ZTE was in fifth place with 4.3 percent share.
Fitch cuts Cypriot bonds
Fitch Ratings Ltd on Friday cut the Cypriot government’s bond rating by two notches to “B” with a negative outlook, saying that the cost of bailing out national banks is likely to be higher than previously thought. While Fitch believes that the eurozone country will agree a bailout deal with the EU and IMF, it said uncertainty over bank recapitalization and the depth and duration of its recession increased uncertainty. Fitch said it now estimates the cost of bailing out all of Cyprus’ banks at 10 billion euros (US$13.5 billion), which would mean the country needs a bailout package of roughly 17 billion euros. This would push up Cyprus’ debt to 140 percent of GDP this year, Fitch said. This is significantly higher than Fitch’s previous estimate of peak debt of 120 percent of GDP.
Lufthansa plans layoffs
Deutsche Lufthansa AG’s plane maintenance division, the world’s largest, plans to eliminate about 650 jobs by 2015 as part of a program to generate 1.5 billion euros (US$2.02 billion) in savings. Employees at the Lufthansa Technik unit will be offered buyout packages and early retirements as part of the cutback, the Hamburg-based division said in a statement. Lufthansa began the reorganization effort almost a year ago to improve margins. The strategy included cutting 3,500 administrative jobs and 1,000 positions in catering unit, as well as bundling EU routes that are not based at its main Frankfurt and Munich hubs into the Germanwings low-cost brand.