Bayer's Q2 profits surge
German pharmaceutical and chemical company Bayer AG yesterday reported a 46 percent increase in net profits in the second quarter, driven by a one-off gain. Net profit in the three months to June 30 was 660 million euros (US$912 million), up from 452 million euros during the same period last year. Analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires, however, had predicted an increase to 687 million euros. Profit was boosted by a 231 million-euro book gain from the sale of the Wolff Walsrode group, a producer of cellulose-based chemicals, to Dow Chemical Co.
■ PATENT RIGHTS
Microsoft wins MP3 appeal
A US judge on Monday overturned a jury verdict ordering Microsoft to pay Alcatel-Lucent US$1.5 billion for infringing on the French firm's patents. US Senior District Court Judge Rudi Brewster issued a written ruling "in favor of Microsoft and against Lucent ... terminating the case," court documents show. The trial that ended in US District Court in the city of San Diego in February centered on MP3 audio technology used in the Windows Media Player software. Alcatel-Lucent argued in court that technology used to encode and decode digital audio files in Media Player infringed on two of its patents. Microsoft said that it had paid Munich-based licensing firm Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft US$16 million to legally use the disputed MP3 technology.
Fiat, Chery to form JV
The Italian industrial conglomerate Fiat and Chery Automobiles of China said yesterday they had signed a preliminary agreement to create a joint vehicle manufacturing firm. The company, located in Wuhu in Anhui Province, would produce and distribute Fiat and Alfa Romeo models as well as Chery group vehicles. Production, expected to total 175,000 vehicles a year, is projected to begin in 2009.
Aussie exports hit record
Australian wine exports reached A$3 billion (US$2.58 billion) for the first time in the 12 months to July, official data released yesterday showed. The Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation figures also showed that the volume of wine exported exceeded 800 million liters for the first time over the same period. Corporation chairman John Moore said the Australian wine industry's focus on premium wines was a major factor behind the 8 percent growth in exports. The corporation said moves to sell higher quality wines in North America had proved successful, but Britain remained Australia's largest export market for wine.
Wipro buying Infocrossing
Indian outsourcing company Wipro Ltd is purchasing NASDAQ-listed Infocrossing Inc in a deal that values the acquisition target at about US$600 million. Wipro has offered to pay US$18.70 per share for the New Jersey-based company that provides select outsourcing services to mid-sized companies in the US, Wipro chief financial officer Suresh Senapaty said on Monday. The acquisition, the biggest-ever by an Indian services company, will help Wipro enhance its offerings to customers, especially those involving off-shoring of technology infrastructure services by Western companies to low-cost destinations like India, he said. The board of Infocrossing has approved and recommended the deal to its shareholders.