Accounting changes due
Top companies will have to put their bookkeeping work out to tender every five years to increase choice and ensure audit quality, the Competition Commission said yesterday. The watchdog agency set out the changes it plans to introduce in an accounting market dominated by the so-called “Big Four” players: Deloitte, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young. The top 350 listed companies could defer putting out their accounting work to tender by a further two years in exceptional circumstances, it added. There will be a transitional period of five years before the measure comes into full effect.
Philips sees profits rise
Royal Philips Electronics NV says its net profit in the second quarter soared to 317 million euros (US$416 million) from 102 million euros in the same period last year partly thanks to stronger sales of consumer products like shavers in emerging economies. Lower restructuring and acquisition costs also helped lift quarterly profits. Sales for the quarter totaled 5.65 billion euros, up from 5.57 billion euros in the second quarter of last year.
UBS set to settle US lawsuit
Swiss banking giant UBS AG says it has reached “an agreement in principle” to settle a US lawsuit over billions of US dollars in mortgage bonds. The US Federal Housing Finance Agency, which was created in July 2008, sued UBS and 17 other banks in 2011 over about US$200 billion in mortgage securities sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two US agencies that provide funding for housing. The Zurich-based bank also said yesterday that its net profit jumped 62 percent in the second quarter of the year to 690 million Swiss francs (US$734 million), up from SF425 million in the same period a year earlier.
Amplats returns to profit
Anglo American Platinum Ltd, the largest producer of platinum, returned to profit in the first half of the year through last month, with earnings of 1.15 billion rand (US$117 million), or 4.67 rand a share, from a loss of 450 million rand, or 1.77 rand a share in the year-earlier period, the Johannesburg-based company said yesterday. Amplats, as the company is known, is planning to cut 6,000 jobs as part of an effort to improve profit by idling three shafts and reducing annual output by 350,000 ounces of metal.
SAP set for change at top
SAP AG is to end its dual CEO structure next year as the firm battles intensifying competition amid a shift to Internet-based applications. Co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe is to join the supervisory board after a shareholders’ vote in May next year, leaving Bill McDermott at the helm, Walldorf, Germany-based SAP said on Sunday. Snabe and McDermott took over in February 2010 from Leo Apotheker, who was removed after failing to boost revenue.
Toyota wants smooth ride
Toyota Motor Corp is opening a training facility for mechanics complete with a test course simulating cobblestones and bumpy roads as part of its efforts to avoid a repeat of its recall fiasco. A ceremony with Toyota president Akio Toyoda and government officials was held at the ￥9 billion (US$90 million) Tajimi Service Center yesterday. The center will initially train about 2,600 mechanics, and eventually 4,800 mechanics, a year, the company said.