Motorola Inc issued better-than-expected third-quarter results and an upbeat forecast, rushing out its earnings report early to counter a Moody's downgrade of its debt and concern about its future. \nThe company announced Monday a US$116 million profit and cited a boom in orders for new cellphones as evidence its stuttering recovery remains on track despite a pending leadership change and Wall Street's skepticism. \nSales -- a figure watched closely as a barometer of its health -- rose 5 percent instead of falling as many industry experts had predicted. \nEven its money-losing semiconductor business, which the company said last week it intends to spin off, picked up more orders in a modest recovery that could stir up more interest among prospective buyers. \nNet earnings for the three months ended Sept. 27 amounted to US$0.05 a share, compared with a gain of US$111 million, or US$0.05 a share, for the same period last year. Excluding US$16 million in special charges, earnings were US$132 million or US$0.06 per share -- US$0.03 higher than the consensus estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call. \nRevenues climbed to US$6.83 billion from US$6.53 billion, thanks partly to an 8 percent jump at its No. 1 business unit, mobile phones, which totaled US$2.9 billion. \nThe Schaumburg, Illinois-based company increased its guidance for fourth-quarter sales to between US$7.5 billion and US$7.8 billion, up from US$7.4 billion. \n"We are now seeing early results from the decisive actions taken in a very difficult telecom and semiconductor global environment over the last three years," said president and chief operating officer Mike Zafirovski. \nMotorola had scheduled its earnings report to be released yesterday after the close of trading. It decided instead to issue them before the stock market opened Monday as a result of the downgrade of its debt late Friday by Moody's to one step above junk status. \nMoody's said it made the downgrade in light of "the weakened outlook for most of Motorola's business segments" and expected changes after the resignation of chairman and CEO Christopher Galvin, who is staying on until a successor is named. \nBut company officials strongly disagreed with that characterization, and Zafirovski, who is a candidate to replace Galvin, said the third quarter "signals some positive momentum in key aspects of our business." \nMost notably, orders rose 25 percent from a year earlier -- including 44 percent for its cellphone business, to US$3.7 billion. While declining market share in China caused a drop in operating earnings for the phone unit -- to US$165 million from US$225 million -- the company cited strengthened demand in North America and elsewhere. \nZafirovski acknowledged to analysts that the company has been slow to come to market with some of its camera phones. Competitors have gotten a significant head start with that item, one of the hottest new consumer electronics products. \n"We wish we'd have had more camera phones earlier in the year," he said on an afternoon conference call. "But they will be 50 percent of our portfolio in Q4." \nCompany executives also maintained that Motorola is in strong position to repay its debt that matures in 2005 despite concerns voiced by Moody's and others. Galvin called it one of the strongest quarters in its 75-year history, emphasizing a strengthened financial situation. \n"Not since 1983, 20 years ago, has Motorola had such a strong balance sheet," he said. "This is not by chance. We generated US$1.1 billion of positive operating cash flow this quarter."
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests. Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory. Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,903) or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively. Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how
JUST QUESTIONS: Expelled reporter Ai Kezhu said that every member of Southeast Television had complied with the law and had not appeared on any talk shows Two Chinese reporters yesterday left Taiwan after the government revoked their accreditation and ordered them to leave amid a probe into allegations that several Chinese media outlets have set up studios and produced political talk shows in Taiwan. The two reporters — Ai Kezhu (艾珂竹) and Lu Qiang (盧薔) — worked for Fujian Province-based Southeast Television and arrived in Taiwan in December last year. The Mainland Affairs Council has launched an investigation after local media reported that Chinese broadcasters — including China Central Television, Southeast Television and FJTV — had set up studios in Taipei and produced political talk shows. Council Deputy Minister
PROBE LAUNCHED: An officer who served as a supervisor in the drill died in an apparent suicide after the accident, which was caused by unexpected waves Two marines who were on Friday injured in a military exercise in the waters off Kaohsiung passed away yesterday, Navy Command said. The marines — surnamed Tsai (蔡), 26, and a sergeant surnamed Chen (陳), 36 — were in a seven-member Marine Corps team that encountered rough seas during a simulated response to enemy forces landing on Taiwan. Their rubber craft overturned in waters off Taoziyuan (桃子園) beach in Zuoying District (左營), injuring four of the marines. They were rushed to hospital, where three of them — Tsai, Chen and a 34-year-old sergeant — were taken to an intensive care unit
‘SIGNAL TO ALLIES’: The US Navy’s exercises are not in response to those carried out by China, the commander of the strike group led by the USS ‘Ronald Reagan’ said Two US aircraft carriers were yesterday conducting exercises in the disputed South China Sea, the US Navy said as China also carried out military drills that have been criticized by the US Department of Defense and neighboring states. China and the US have accused each other of stoking tension in the waterway at a time of strained relations over everything from COVID-19 to trade to Hong Kong. The USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan were carrying out operations and exercises in the South China Sea “to support a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the navy said in a statement. It did not say exactly