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Mon, Mar 07, 2005 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Computers
Cisco eyes 15% sales hikes

Cisco Systems Inc, the world's largest maker of computer-networking equipment, may increase sales as much as 15 percent annually in the next few years, Barron's reported, citing an interview with Chief Financial Officer Dennis Powell. If Cisco can maintain that rate of growth in sales, it should be able to achieve comparable growth in earnings per share, the report said, citing Powell. Cisco is expected to earn US$1.02 in its next fiscal year, which ends in July next year, up 12 percent from US$0.90 this fiscal year, the report said. As the company increases sales in its main networking business, and expands in newer areas such as voice-over-Internet-protocol, or VoIP, communications, Cisco is poised to gain favor with value investors, the paper said. Cisco's price-to-earnings ratio declined 89 percent in the past five years, to 18 times its forecast for this year's earnings per share of 95 cents.

■ Restaurants

McDonald's to expand

McDonald's Holdings Co, the Japanese unit of the global burger chain, will double its investment to ¥22 billion (US$211 million) to open and renovate outlets in Japan this year, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said yesterday, quoting company sources. The company, 50 percent owned by US-based McDonald's Corp, now plans to open 75 new premises and renovate 520 existing outlets by December. The planned openings will result in the first net year-on-year increase in the total number of McDonald's outlets in three years. The move reflects the company's renewed drive to expand aggressively following its return to profitability in the year to December last year for the first time in three years, the newspaper said. To carry out the shop network expansion, the company will also hire 600 regular full-time employees, equal to some 16 percent of its current workforce, it said.

■ Japan business

Companies fear takeovers

A majority of Japanese companies are concerned about hostile takeovers, according to a Yomiuri newspaper survey of 106 local companies. Some 35.8 percent of those polled said they were taking defensive measures against possible takeovers and 56.6 percent said they wanted to boost or add ways to counter such threats, according to the survey, which was compiled Saturday. Protective steps included securing the number of shares a company can buy back, boosting the amount of stock a firm can issue and being prepared with legal expertise. The survey also showed 73.6 percent of the companies were worried about hostile takeovers, of which 12.3 percent said they were very concerned, the newspaper reported.

■ Shipbuilding

Daewoo to get Qatar orders

Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co expects to win more orders from Qatar for liquefied natural gas tankers, after the Gulf state expanded production facilities, Yonhap News said, citing Daewoo Chief Executive Jung Sung-leep. Daewoo Shipbuilding won contracts for at least 15 of the 44 LNG tankers that Qatar ordered from South Korean shipbuilders, Yonhap cited the head of the world's second-largest shipbuilder as saying. Daewoo, which plans to accelerate expansion into China and West Africa this year, is spending 200 billion won (US$198 million) to expand its Okpo shipyard to boost capacity to 14 ships a year from 8.5 ships, the report said.

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