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Fri, Feb 20, 2009 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■TIRES

Bridgestone predicts losses

Tiremaker Bridgestone, wounded by the global auto industry slump, said yesterday that it expected a second year of slumping earnings this year. The firm anticipated a 71 percent drop in net profit in the 12 months through December to ¥3 billion (US$32 million), with a fall into the red seen for the first half of the year. Revenue was expected to tumble 22 percent to ¥2.53 trillion this year. Bridgestone did not break down quarterly numbers. The company posted a 92 percent plunge in net profit to ¥10.4 billion for last year. Tokyo-based Bridgestone also said it expects no quick recovery

■BANKING

BNP Paribas’ profit drops

BNP Paribas yesterday reported a profit of 3 billion euros (US$3.78 billion) for last year, less than half its record 7.8 billion euros a year earlier. The results — which come amid uncertainty over BNP’s bid to take over the Belgian assets of Fortis bank — were in line with expectations. In a statement, BNP said it lost 1.366 billion euros in the three months to Dec. 31, plus another 2 billion euros as its financing and investment arm was buffeted by the collapse of US merchant bank Lehman Brothers in September. Revenues throughout last year totaled 27.376 billion euros.

■FOOD

Nestle profits rise 70%

Swiss giant Nestle said yesterday that net profits surged 69.4 percent to 18 billion Swiss francs (US$15 billion) last year and that it would be among the industry’s fastest growing companies this year. Sales reached SF109.9 billion, up 2.2 percent compared to the previous year, as the strength of the Swiss franc against most other local currencies dented the results reported in francs. The group warned the global economic downturn “could further impact consumer demand.”

■ECHNOLOGY

HP profits drop 13%

Hewlett-Packard (HP), the world’s largest technology company, reported a 13 percent drop in quarterly net profit on Wednesday and lowered its outlook for the full fiscal year. HP said net profit declined to US$1.9 billion in the first quarter of its financial year from US$2.1 billion a year earlier. It said revenue for the quarter ending last month was up 1 percent at US$28.8 billion. HP said it expects revenue to fall by 2 percent to 5 percent in fiscal 2009.

■SEMICONDUCTORS

AMD, ATIC form link

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), the world’s second-largest computer chip maker, said on Wednesday that its stockholders had approved a manufacturing joint venture with investment from Abu Dhabi. AMD said the green light from shareholders paves the way for the creation of the venture, to be known as The Foundry Company, between AMD and the Advanced Technology Investment Co (ATIC) of Abu Dhabi.

AMD has said the move would result in one company that designs semiconductors and another that builds them.

■INSURANCE

Swiss Re posts biggest loss

The world’s biggest reinsurer Swiss Re yesterday posted its biggest annual loss of SF864 million for last year, saying earnings were hit by investment losses. The loss was slightly smaller than the SF1 billion it had forecast earlier this month. “This result is clearly disappointing,” said Stefan Lippe, the group’s chief executive.

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