Falling prices hit BHP
Anglo-Australian mining giant BHP Billiton yesterday reported a 29.5 percent slump in net profit to US$10.88 billion in the year to June, due to slowing global growth and commodity price volatility. The world’s biggest miner said lower prices for its key resources, including a 17 percent dive in iron ore, wiped US$8.9 billion from underlying earnings of US$28.4 billion. BHP said it had managed to cut costs by US$2.7 billion in the year ended June 30, but that was more than offset by the significant fall in commodity prices.
Property firms outline deal
German real-estate giant Deutsche Wohnen yesterday outlined a 1.75 billion euro (US$2.3 billion) takeover offer for rival company GSW. The two companies will have a combined real-estate portfolio of 8.5 billion euros. Under the terms of the deal, Deutsche Wohnen will offer 51 of its own shares for 20 shares in GSW. Upon completion, GSW shareholders will hold a 43 percent stake in the combined entity.
JPMorgan under scrutiny
US authorities are probing whether banking giant JPMorgan Chase manipulated US energy markets, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. The newspaper, citing unnamed sources, said the US Department of Justice recently decided to take a closer look at the bank’s energy practices as it was wrapping up a US$410 million settlement linked to allegations it had manipulated power prices in California and the midwest. The Journal said it was unclear whether the investigation is civil or criminal and noted that its sources said the probe was still in its early stages.
Hyundai set for strikes
Hyundai Motor Co’s labor union said 46,000 workers are to stage four hours of strike action over two days this week. Union spokesman Kwon Oh-il said yesterday that working-level talks with Hyundai management had seen little progress. The union demanded increased wage and benefit deals during three months of annual negotiations, but the talks collapsed and the union voted to strike. Another round of talks with management is scheduled for tomorrow. South Korea’s largest automaker estimates it will lose about 2,100 vehicles worth 43.5 billion won (US$39 million) from the union’s four-hour strike and refusal to work overtime.
Apple to launch new iPhones
Apple Inc has asked its Taiwan-based supplier to begin shipping two new versions of the iPhone next month, including a lower-cost model, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. The Journal, citing unnamed sources, said Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), the parent company of Foxconn Technology Group (富士康科技集團) in China, was readying both a standard iPhone with new upgrades and a less expensive model with fewer features.
Glencore profits suffer
Commodities trader Glencore Xstrata PLC reported a 39 percent drop in half-year profits as it booked a US$7.6 billion write-down of assets following the merger of Glencore and Xstrata this year. The company, which supplies raw materials around the world and operates mines, plants and warehouses, said its net income slid to US$2.04 billion from US$3.36 billion a year earlier.