Privatization bid blocked
Hong Kong’s Court of Appeal yesterday blocked telecom giant PCCW’s (電訊盈科) US$2.1 billion privatization bid after the region’s securities watchdog accused it of vote-rigging. In a unanimous ruling, a three-judge panel said they had overturned a lower court’s decision to green light the privatization move by PCCW chairman Richard Li (李澤楷) and his business partners including China Netcom Ltd (中國網通).
Nestle sales down 2.1%
Swiss food giant Nestle yesterday said first quarter sales fell 2.1 percent to SF$25.2 billion (US$21.6 billion), hit by negative currency exchange rates. The group said the strength of the Swiss franc in relation to other currency led to a negative impact of 5.2 percent in sales. Nevertheless, Nestle confirmed its full year target of around 5 percent in organic growth.
AMD reports losses
US chip maker Advanced Micro Devices Inc (AMD) on Tuesday reported a quarterly loss as it grapples with a dip in computer sales and warned it may be too early to say the technology market has hit bottom. “I don’t know how anybody can say that we hit bottom given the continued uncertainty that we have in the macroeconomic climate,” AMD chief executive Dirk Meyer said during a conference call. “As a result of that, I would say that we are being cautious on our outlook.” AMD, the No. 2 microprocessor company, reported a first-quarter loss of US$416 million, or US$0.66 per share, compared with a loss of US$364 million, or US$0.60 per share, in the year-ago quarter.
Electrolux posts losses
Swedish appliance maker Electrolux AB yesterday posted a 346 million kronor (US$40 million) net loss in the first quarter, mainly because of one-time costs in marketing as well as plant shutdowns in Russia and China. The Stockholm-based group, which last year was forced to lay off 3,000 staff because of falling demand amid the financial crisis, also said demand for appliances will continue to drop this year in its main markets in North America, Europe and Latin America. The quarterly net loss compared with a 106 million kronor shortfall in the January-to-March period last year.
Toyota slashes bonuses
Japan’s Toyota Motor will slash summer bonuses for its 8,900 managers by an average 60 percent from a year earlier due to a slump in the global auto industry, a company spokeswoman said yesterday. Toyota has separately agreed with its labor union to cut annual summer bonuses for its 63,000 members by between 10 percent and 20 percent to an average ¥1.86 million (US$18,900) for this fiscal year, which started on April 1. Toyota’s executive board members will receive no bonuses for the current fiscal year, the spokeswoman said.
Carrefour goes low-cost
French retailer Carrefour SA said yesterday it is launching a new low-cost range of products to attract cost-conscious consumers amid the recession and win market share on its home turf. Gilles Petit, head of the French division, said the Carrefour Discount range is designed to compete with deep-discount stores and that “Carrefour wants to improve its image on price.” Petit said Carrefour will launch the discount range in 1,200 Carrefour supermarkets and hypermarkets in France at the end of next month with an initial 200 products.