NOKIA DOUBLES FUND
Nokia Corp is more than doubling the size of its direct venture investment fund with an injection of US$150 million, with a view to putting some of the money to use in India and China. “We’ve been investing in companies globally, but we need to get even more feet on the ground in China and India,” said Rick Simonson, Nokia’s chief financial officer. Menlo Park, California-based Nokia Growth Partners was set up in 2004 to manage US$100 million of Nokia’s money. Its investments have included Bitboys, a Finnish developer of graphics chips that was bought by ATI in 2006 for US$44.5 million, and Global Locate, a US maker of GPS chips that was bought by Broadcom Corp for at least US$146 million last year.
TDK MAY BE EYEING EPCOS
Japan’s TDK Corp plans to acquire German electronic-component maker Epcos AG for about ¥150 billion (US$1.4 billion), Japan’s biggest business newspaper reported yesterday. TDK will buy up at least half of Epcos’ shares through a friendly tender offer and turn the German company into a subsidiary as early as this fall, the Nikkei Shimbun reported, without citing sources. In a statement, TDK rebutted the report. A company spokesman declined to comment. TDK’s acquisition of Epcos would allow it to expand its business domain, the Nikkei said. Epcos is focused more on Europe and is stronger in parts for cars and industrial manufacturing.
DEUTSCHE BANK PROFITS FALL
Germany’s biggest bank reported a 64 percent fall in second quarter earnings yesterday on the back of further write-downs totaling 2.3 billion euros (US$3.6 billion). The Frankfurt-based Deutsche Bank AG said that net profit fell to 649 million euros from 1.78 billion euros in the second quarter last year. This comes in the wake of 311 million euros in pretax losses run up by Deutsche’s key investment banking business as a result of the continuing fallout from the financial market crisis triggered by the US subprime mortgage upheaval. “We remain cautious for the remainder of 2008,” Deutsche Bank chief Josef Ackermann said.
Shell profits jump by a third
Anglo-Dutch energy giant Royal Dutch Shell said yesterday that net profit jumped by a third to US$11.556 billion (7.409 billion euros) in the second quarter owing to record high oil prices. Net earnings on a cost-of-supply basis, excluding fluctuations in the value of inventories, rose 5 percent to US$7.9 billion in the three months to the end of June, compared with the same period last year. Shell added in a results statement that production fell by 1.6 percent during the reporting period to 3.126 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, with output hit by ongoing unrest at the group’s facilities in Nigeria.
Yamaha profits slide
Yamaha Motor Co issued a profit warning yesterday after weak demand, rising raw material costs and a stronger yen slashed its first-half net profits by almost half. Yamaha has enjoyed record high sales in recent years but the global economic slowdown is now curbing demand for its motorcycles and other products. Net earnings slid 47.9 percent to ¥25.85 billion (US$239 million) in the six months to June from a year earlier, the company said. Operating profit dropped 35.3 percent to ¥46.70 billion as revenue declined 6.6 percent to ¥869.06 billion.