Vodafone Q1 profits jump
Britain’s Vodafone, the world’s biggest mobile phone company by revenue, reported a nearly 10 percent rise in quarterly revenue yesterday, which it attributed partly to favorable exchange rates. It said its revenue was up £10.7 billion (US$17.7 billion), up 9.3 percent in April to June, the first quarter of its trading year, compared with the previous quarter. It also cited a boost to revenue from “merger and acquisition activity, primarily attributable to the additional stake in Vodacom,” a South African operator that it took control of last November.
Credit data leak probed
The Japanese arm of global insurer Alico said yesterday that credit card data of some 110,000 customers could have been leaked, and that fraudulent purchases may have been made in more than 1,000 cases. The American Life Insurance Co, affiliated with troubled US giant American International Group said it was first alerted last week by credit card companies about the suspected cases among its policyholders. “We have been investigating the issue. We are yet to determine how the data could have been leaked,” a spokesman said.
Star TV job cuts planned
News Corp is planning a sweeping shakeup of its Star Asian television operations, including a sharp cut in jobs in Hong Kong and the rest of the region, the Financial Times said yesterday. James Murdoch, head of News Corp’s Asian and European operations, will head the shakeup as the group aims to cut costs and consolidate overlapping operations, the newspaper said, citing unnamed sources. Star’s Indian operation, which generates the most profits for the group in Asia and reports to Hong Kong, will become independent and start reporting directly to Murdoch.
Merck’s Q2 profits plunge
German drug and chemical maker Merck KGaA said yesterday that its second quarter net profit fell 48 percent as higher research costs and one-time effects from the acquisition of Serono weighed on the bottom line. The company reported a net profit of 108 million euros (US$153 million) in the April-June period compared with 207 million euros a year earlier. Sales for the quarter were nearly unchanged at 1.9 billion euros. Merck also makes liquid crystals and this division saw sales fall to 189 million euros, down 21 percent from the year ago quarter.
Biggest IPO launched
China State Construction Engineering Corp (中國建築工程) said it has raised 50.16 billion yuan (US$7.3 billion) in the world’s biggest IPO this year. The nation’s largest home builder was selling 12 billion yuan-denominated A shares at the top end of an indicated range of 3.96 yuan to 4.18 yuan, a statement filed with the Shanghai Stock Exchange late on Thursday said. The IPO surpasses Brazil VisaNet’s recent US$4.27 billion listing to become the world’s biggest IPO so far this year.
Nufarm shares soar
Shares in Australian agricultural chemicals company Nufarm Ltd rocketed yesterday after it revealed it had talked takeover terms with Chinese chemical trader Sinochem Corp (中國化工). Nufarm said the approach from Sinochem had been “on a confidential, preliminary and incomplete basis” and that there was no certainty a takeover offer would be put before shareholders.