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Wed, Jun 02, 2004 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Semiconductors

Sales rose 37% in April

Global semiconductor sales rose 37 percent in April from a year earlier to the highest level since July 2000, helped by higher demand for chips used in mobile phones and personal computers, the Semiconductor Industry Association said. Sales were US$16.94 billion in the month, the industry group said in a statement released on Business Wire. Worldwide chip sales rose 4.1 percent from US$16.28 billion in March, San Jose, California-based SIA said. "The fundamentals are in place for strong growth through the remainder of the year, and it is likely that growth for 2004 will significantly surpass last fall's forecast of 19 percent growth," SIA president George Scalise said in the statement.

■ Television

TVB cuts jobs

Television Broadcast Ltd, Hong Kong's dominant TV network, said yesterday it had slashed between 25 and 30 jobs as part of a restructuring. The latest job cuts occurred in the art, construction, production and security departments, said Winnie Ho, a TVB spokeswoman. TVB cut 30 jobs in February. TVB employs more than 3,000 staff and is trying to merge different departments, she said. "We are constantly reviewing our operations," Ho said, adding that the company may hire production staff later this year. She dismissed as a "rumor" a local newspaper report Tuesday that said the broadcaster plans to slash another 100 jobs after the Olympics in Athens, Greece in August. The report cited an unidentified TVB employee.

■ Airlines

Ryanair profits fall

Budget airline Ryanair posted a 5 percent drop in net profits yesterday, blaming increased price competition and the weakness of the British pound for the fall. Net profit before goodwill and exceptional items fell to 226.6 euros (US$280 million) for the year ended March 31. The airline has been slashing ticket prices to meet the competition and said it carried more than 23 million passengers over the year, up 47 percent from the previous year. "This year was characterized by adverse market conditions including sterling weakness, the war in Iraq, the threat of terrorist attacks, significantly higher oil prices, and intense price competition all over Europe from chronically loss making flag and new entrant carriers," said Ryanair's chief executive Michael O'Leary.

■ Airlines

Hong Kong agrees charges

Cathay Pacific Airways, Dragonair and nine other airlines have been given permission to levy surcharges on passengers traveling on flights into and out of Hong Kong to cover surging fuel prices, a government spokeswoman said yesterday. Civil Aviation Department spokeswoman Sandra Lai said the government has permitted Cathay to charge passengers US$5 each way for flights within Asia and US$14 for flights to other destinations. Dragonair and three Chinese airlines -- China Eastern, China Southern and Air China -- can collect US$5.40 per flight from each passenger, regardless of its length. The six other airlines that won approval Monday were Australian Airlines, Qantas Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Emirates Airlines, Air India and Gulf Air. Their surcharges will range from US$4 to US$10.70.

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