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Thu, Jul 23, 2009 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take



Slim ‘watch phone’ unveiled

South Korea’s Samsung Electronics yesterday unveiled what it claims is the world’s slimmest “watch phone.” The handset is 11.98mm thick, compared with the 13.9mm of a model by rival LG Electronics, Samsung said in a statement. The firm plans to sell the new phone, priced at around US$639, first in France this month and then other European markets. LG Electronics said its version will go on sale no later than next month.


Workers ransack office

Workers at a Michelin tire plant in eastern France briefly locked up four managers and ransacked offices in a labor dispute amid tensions over layoffs, a company official said yesterday. About 50 workers at Michelin’s plant in Montceau-les-Mines locked up four managers, including the director, on Tuesday night. Unions say the dispute stemmed from a worker being punished for refusing to use machinery he wasn’t trained on. The managers were released early yesterday and negotiations began at the plant yesterday morning.


TomTom profits drop

TomTom NV, the Dutch maker of navigation devices for cars, reported yesterday a 61 percent fall in net profit for the second quarter, better than analysts had feared. Net profit was 20 million euros (US$28.4 million), down from 52 million euros in the same period a year earlier. Sales fell 19 percent to 368 million euros. Both figures were significantly better than in the first quarter of this year, when the Amsterdam-based company posted a 39 million euro loss on sales of 213 million euros. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had forecast profit of 13 million euros.


Starbucks beats forecast

Shuttering stores, laying off workers and cutting other costs helped Starbucks Corp beat Wall Street’s profit expectations for its fiscal third quarter on Tuesday, but the recession continued to drain sales away from the gourmet coffee chain. The Seattle-based coffee chain earned US$151.5 million, or US$0.20 per share, compared with a loss of US$6.7 million, or US$0.01 per share a year earlier. Revenue fell 7 percent to US$2.40 billion. CEO Howard Schultz said on a conference call with investors that the quarter’s results showed “positive momentum,” but “a lot of hard work lies ahead.”


AT&T to use Plastic Logic

Following in the footsteps of Amazon.com Inc’s Kindle, another e-book reader is set to get a wireless connection from a cellular carrier, letting it access books anywhere there’s a signal. AT&T Inc planned to announce yesterday that it will support an e-book reading device early next year from Plastic Logic Ltd, a Mountain View, California-based startup based on British display technology. It marks the second significant announcement of the week for Plastic Logic, which said on Monday that Barnes & Noble Inc will supply digital versions of books for its device.


AMD narrows losses

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) Inc narrowed its loss in the second quarter, though not by as much as Wall Street had hoped. Its sales slumped 13 percent. AMD’s shares plunged 12 percent in extended trading on Tuesday on signs the chip company isn’t being buoyed like rival Intel Corp by the beginnings of a turnaround in the personal computer market. AMD lost US$330 million, in the latest period.

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