World Business Quick Take

Agencies

Wed, Apr 17, 2013 - Page 15

EMPLOYMENT

Furloughs down slightly

The number of companies adopting cost-cutting furloughs and the number of employees asked to take leave without pay dropped slightly in the first two weeks of this month, according to government figures released yesterday. As of Monday, 1,447 workers from 35 companies had reached agreements with their employers to take furloughs, 10 fewer workers and three fewer companies than two weeks earlier, the Council of Labor Affairs’ latest figures showed.

ELECTRONICS

Hon Hai increasing staff

Hon Hai Group (鴻海集團) has been increasing its assembly-line workforce in central China, the company and media said yesterday. The group has been hiring workers at its Zhengzhou plant and is to continue to do so to “meet operational demands,” spokesman Simon Hsing (邢治平) said. The Wall Street Journal said the resumption of hiring in Zhengzhou indicated that Apple Inc is gearing up for the production of a new device.

SHIPPING

Evergreen plans new routes

Evergreen Marine Corp (長榮海運) said on Monday it is to cooperate with China Ocean Shipping Group Co and ZIM Integrated Shipping Services Ltd to run East Asian and South American routes from next month. A total of 10 container vessels are to operate on the weekly route. Each is set to be upgraded to a capacity of 8,500 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU), up from an original 3,000 TEU.

INTERNET

Court rules against Google

A court in Japan has told Google it must de-link words in its autocomplete function to prevent the search engine suggesting criminal acts when users type one man’s name. The Monday ruling by the Tokyo District Court was the first time a court in Japan has ordered the search giant to alter this aspect of its algorithm, said Hiroyuki Tomita, a lawyer representing the plaintiff. The court also ordered the US-based company to pay ¥300,000 (US$3,100) for the mental anguish experienced by the man, whose identity has been withheld.

MINING

Rio Tinto ups iron forecast

Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto Group yesterday forecast global iron ore production of 265 million tonnes this year after posting record output in the first quarter. The mining titan said its global iron ore production from operations in Australia and Canada increased to 61 million tonnes in the three months to last month, up 4 percent on the same period last year. The miner also reported a 26 percent first-quarter hike in mined copper production and a 6 percent increase in aluminum output.

FINANCE

Trader pleads guilty to fraud

A securities trader has pleaded guilty for his role in a scheme involving the unauthorized purchase of about US$1 billion of Apple Inc shares that wound up costing his employer US$5 million. Federal prosecutors said 40-year-old David Miller pleaded guilty on Monday in Hartford, Connecticut, to conspiracy and fraud offenses. Miller’s attorney said he regrets what he did and will spend his life trying to make amends.

BANKING

Citigroup income up 30%

US banking giant Citigroup Inc on Monday reported a handsome 30 percent jump in year-on-year net income to US$3.8 billion on revenues of US$20.5 billion in the first quarter of the year, up from US$2.9 billion on US$19.4 billion the previous year, but chief financial officer John Gerspach said consumers remain hesitant to spend and forecasts for 2.5 percent GDP growth in the US this year were not consistent with a “vibrant, healthy” economy.

FOOD AND DRINK

Danone posts higher sales

French food and drink company Groupe Danone SA said its sales rose 4.3 percent in the first quarter of the year, driven by growth in new markets that offset struggles in Europe. The company said yesterday it brought in 5.3 billion euros (US$6.9 billion) in revenue in the first quarter. Sales are booming in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, where revenue grew 13.2 percent.

LUXURY GOODS

LVMH sales grow 6%

French luxury giant LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA said its first-quarter sales grew 6 percent, thanks to growth in its upscale retailing division. The company behind leather goods from Louis Vuitton and Hennessy cognac said on Monday that its revenues were 6.9 billion euros (US$9 billion) in the first quarter. That was just above the consensus of analysts, but could mean that the company’s growth is finally beginning to slow.

TELECOMS

Vodafone to lay off Germans

Vodafone Group PLC is cutting 500 jobs in Germany, the company said on Monday, as the group adjusts to harsher competition and lower fees in Europe’s largest economy. The firm aims to shift some operations to Romania and India, as well as considerably reduce starting salaries.