Economy grows 6.23%
Indonesia said yesterday that Southeast Asia’s biggest economy grew 6.23 percent last year, supported by strong private consumption and investment. The Central Statistics Agency added that in the three months to the end of December growth came in at 6.11 percent year on year. The full year figure fell short of government forecasts of 6.5 percent growth and the central bank’s estimate of 6.3 percent.
Price freeze announced
Argentina announced a two-month price freeze on supermarket products on Monday in an effort to stop spiraling inflation. The price freeze applies to every product in all of the nation’s largest supermarkets. The commerce ministry wants consumers to keep receipts and complain to a hotline about any price hikes they see before April 1.
BP Q4 profits shrink
Fourth-quarter profits from shrinking British oil company BP PLC beat analysts’ expectations yesterday thanks in part to a record performance from its refining division, as a trial over its 2010 US Gulf oil spill looms later this month. BP, the last of the big four western world oil companies to report, said fourth quarter net profit fell to US$3.984 billion from US$4.986 billion a year earlier, mainly as a result of asset sales to pay for its spill liabilities. The company has sold US$37.8 billion worth of assets since the Macondo spill and taken a total charge against profits of US$42.2 billion — most of which has already been paid out.
Mitsubishi profit jumps
Mitsubishi Motors said yesterday its net profit for the nine months to December jumped 27.3 percent from a year earlier to ￥17.3 billion (US$187 million), largely thanks to cost-cutting efforts. The Japanese automaker said sales edged down 0.8 percent to ￥1.28 trillion, while operating profit rose 6.2 percent to ￥40.9 billion. For the fiscal year to March 2013, Mitsubishi left its net profit forecast unchanged at ￥13 billion, but cut its sales forecast to ￥1.81 trillion from a previous target of ￥1.83 trillion.
Samsung boosts US fund
Samsung announced on Monday it was pumping more money into research and venture capital funding efforts that will be led by a new hub for the South Korean giant in Silicon Valley. The electronics giant said it was launching a US$100 million “catalyst fund” that will augment its US$1 billion Samsung Ventures America Fund and “fuel innovative technologies and business models through all stages of business.” The company also said it will be launching its new Samsung Strategy and Innovation Center in Menlo Park, California, with additional offices in South Korea and Israel.
Sumitomo buys UK firm
Japanese trading giant Sumitomo said yesterday it has bought Britain-based water supply and distribution firm Sutton & East Surrey Water (SESW), for a reported US$455 million. Sumitomo and its European subsidiary bought 100 percent of East Surrey Holdings, which owns SESW, the Japanese firm said in a statement. Sumitomo did not make public the purchase price, which the leading Nikkei business daily estimated to be ￥42 billion (US$455 million). The British firm, established in 1862, supplies drinking water to about 655,000 residential and business customers, the statement said.