i MiEV gets production boost
Mitsubishi Motors Corp will increase production of its planned electric vehicle after orders for its first 2,000 cars were quickly filled, a spokesman said yesterday. The automaker aims to roll out the “i MiEV” zero-emissions car for leasing in Japan by July. The first year’s planned production of 2,000 units has already sold out with Japanese corporate leasers, including utility Tokyo Electric Power Co and convenience store chain Lawson, said company spokesman Kai Inada. Due to the strong interest, Mitsubishi Motors is raising its output of the model for next year from 4,000 to 5,000 units, he said.
Recovery signs for economy
China’s economy is showing signs of recovering, the nation’s statistics chief said as government data indicated manufacturing activity expanded last month for the first time in six months. The official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for China’s manufacturing sector rose to 52.4 last month, up from 49 in February, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said in data released late on Thursday. A reading above 50 means the manufacturing sector is expanding, while a reading below 50 indicates an overall decline. It was the first time the official PMI had moved into positive territory since it hit 51.2 in September.
Eurozone index rises
Business activity in the 16 countries sharing the euro contracted less sharply last month, though remaining at depressed levels, survey results on Tuesday showed. The eurozone’s purchasing managers’ index, compiled by data and research group Markit, rose to 38.3 points from 36.2 points in February, up on an early estimate for the month. However while the points rise was the largest since October 2003, the base is low and the March rate of business contraction was the same as that seen in January. The outcome marked the tenth month in a row that the index had come in below the key 50-point threshold that indicates contracting activity in the private sector.
RIM reports strong earnings
Canada’s Research In Motion Ltd (RIM), maker of the popular BlackBerry handheld devices, reported strong quarterly earnings on Thursday despite the slowing economy. RIM reported net profit in the fourth quarter of its fiscal year of US$518.3 million, or US$0.90 per share, up 25 percent compared with the same period last year. For the full year, RIM reported a net profit of US$1.89 billion, or US$3.30 a share, up 46 percent over the same period last year. The company said full-year revenue was US$11.07 billion, up 84 percent. Fourth quarter revenue was US$3.46 billion, also 84 percent higher than the corresponding quarter last year. RIM said it shipped 7.8 million devices in the fourth quarter and 26 million devices during this fiscal year.
UAE scraps Samsung order
South Korean construction firm Samsung C and T said yesterday that a real estate developer in the United Arab Emirates has scrapped a US$1.08 billion order. Samsung said Nakheel canceled the deal to build apartments, shopping malls and other commercial structures by October 2013. “The cancelation came via unilateral notification by the contractor,” the firm, a unit of South Korea’s biggest business group, said in a statement. It declined to give details. The move is the second time in recent weeks that South Korean firms have seen a big Middle Eastern order canceled.