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World Business Quick Take



Citigroup sells more stock

Citigroup Inc, under pressure to bolster capital depleted by mounting losses, sold another US$4.5 billion in stock, the company said on Wednesday. The move aims to help bolster its capital as it fights to stay above the worst US finance crisis in decades. The amount was 50 percent more than it had planned and represents about 3 percent of the bank?? shares outstanding as of March 31, Bloomberg financial news service reported. The bank has already raised more than US$37 billion during the past five months, more than any other financial services company. Last week, Citigroup announced plans to cut 9,000 jobs in the wake of a first-quarter net loss of US$5.11 billion. The cuts come atop the 4,200 job reductions announced in January.


Casio expects profits to soar

Casio Computer Co, the maker of G Shock watches, said profit may rise 89 percent this fiscal year as the devices business turns profitable and sales of digital cameras and electronic dictionaries rise. Net income is likely to climb to 瞼23 billion (US$221 million) in the 12 months started April 1, the company said in a statement to the Tokyo Stock Exchange yesterday. Operating profit may increase 25 percent to 瞼47 billion in the period, as sales gain 1.1 percent to 瞼630 billion, the Tokyo-based company said. Profit at the devices division may total 瞼500 million this fiscal year, compared with a 瞼3.26 billion loss a year earlier, the company said. Sales may drop 25 percent to 瞼72 billion.


Chavez raising basic wage

President Hugo Chavez is raising Venezuela?? minimum wage by 30 percent as inflation continues to soar in the oil-producing nation. The socialist leader has signed a degree that will fix the monthly minimum wage at US$372 starting yesterday. Chavez said the move would give Venezuela the highest minimum wage in Latin America. All public employees??wages will also increase by 30 percent. If food stamps are taken into account, Chavez says the minimum wage will actually reach US$558.


Starbucks posts profit fall

US coffeehouse giant Starbucks reported second-quarter profits of US$109 million, or US$0.15 a share, a drop of 28 percent from the US$151 million in the year-earlier period. Revenue rose 12 percent to US$2.53 billion from US$2.3 billion in the second quarter of last year. In a statement Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz said the profit drop resulted from costs related to the company?? turnaround, calling this year a transitional year and predicting that growth would return in the long term. Starbucks said the weak economy had caused a mid-single-digit drop in same store sales compared to last year. But the rising costs of dairy products and changes in store organization were the main causes of the lower-than-expected revenues.


BA mulling alliance

British Airways said on Wednesday it was examining closer cooperation with US carriers American Airlines and Continental Airlines but gave no additional information. ??ritish Airways is exploring opportunities for cooperation with American Airlines and Continental Airlines,??BA said in a very brief statement to the London Stock Exchange. ??urther details will be announced when appropriate.??The announcement followed recent media speculation that Continental was seeking a three-way alliance with American Airlines and British Airways.

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