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World Business Quick Take



Cathay returns to profit

Cathay Pacific Airlines Ltd said yesterday it returned to profitability in the first half, rebounding from its biggest-loss ever last year thanks to gains on its jet fuel contracts. Hong Kong’s flagship carrier earned HK$812 million (US$104.8 million) for the six months ended June 30, compared with a loss of HK$663 million in the same period last year. Last year, the company lost a whopping HK$8.6 billion — its first annual red ink since the height of the Asian financial crisis in 1998. “There are cautious signs that the fall in demand has bottomed but there is, as yet, no indication when a sustained pick-up will begin,” Cathay chairman Christopher Pratt said in a statement.


Nikon expects record loss

Nikon Corp, the world’s second-biggest maker of single-lens reflex cameras, forecast a record annual loss, citing a “tough” business environment that’s leading customers to scale back orders for chip equipment. The net loss could reach ¥28 billion (US$295 million) in the year ending March 2010, compared with a May projection of ¥17 billion, Tokyo-based Nikon said yesterday. The deficit would be the largest for the company, based on financial records stretching back to 1992. Nikon, headed by president Michio Kariya, said it was sticking to its reorganization plans announced in May, when the company said it would cut 1,000 jobs to weather the global slump.


Honda to boost car output

Honda Motor Co will increase global vehicle production as emerging markets pace a recovery in auto demand. Honda will build about 90,000 vehicles more than initially planned in response to higher-than-forecast sales from China, Thailand, India, Indonesia and Brazil, chief financial officer Yoichi Hojo said in an interview yesterday. The carmaker is raising output in Asia where it predicts sales will reach 840,000 vehicles this fiscal year, 8 percent more than earlier estimates.


PepsiCo buys two bottlers

PepsiCo Inc said on Tuesday it was buying its two top bottlers for US$7.8 billion in a bid to save money and get new products to market more quickly. The deals were sealed months after PepsiCo’s first offers were rejected and 10 years after PepsiCo first spun off its largest bottler, Pepsi Bottling Group. PepsiCo Inc will pay US$36.50 per share for the shares it does not own of Somers, New York-based Pepsi Bottling Group and US$28.50 per share for the shares it does not own of Minneapolis-based Pepsi-Americas. Both offers are half stock and half cash. PepsiCo believes that owning the bottlers will help it save about US$300 million a year by 2012, up from original estimates of US$200 million.


Jackson products coming

Michael Jackson products could start appearing on store shelves if a judge signs off on a merchandising deal. Proposed contracts filed in a Los Angeles probate court offer just a taste of how the King of Pop may end up vying for fans’ money. Trading cards, calendars, stuffed animals that play Jackson’s music are among just some of the tangible items being considered. Other potential offerings include phone screen savers, X-box Live themes and digital tattoos for characters in games such as Second Life.” Jackson’s estate has reached an agreement with merchandising firm Bravado to market Jackson-related goods. The contract requires a judge’s approval.

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