E.ON to buy US subsidiary
E.ON, the biggest German power company, announced early yesterday the sale of its US subsidiary for about US$7.6 billion to US energy supplier PPL to boost its cash reserves. The group said in a statement it considered the price “very attractive,” adding that the transaction was conditional on approval by the US competition authorities. E.ON US includes two electricity and gas suppliers in Kentucky, Louisville Gas and Electric Co and Kentucky Utilities Co, which employ a total of more than 3,000 people and supply more than 1.2 million clients.
BASF profit nearly triples
German chemical company BASF SE yesterday said it remained profitable for a second straight quarter, nearly tripling its net profit in the first three months of the year. The company, whose interests include plastics, chemicals, oil and gas and agriculture, reported a net profit of 1.03 billion euros (US$1.4 billion) for the January-March period, compared with 375 million euros a year earlier. Revenue rose 26.5 percent to 15.4 billion euros compared with 12.2 billion euros a year ago.
Unilever Q1 profit up 33%
Unilever NV yesterday reported a 33 percent rise in first-quarter net profit, crediting good sales volume growth despite lower selling prices and stronger margins because of cost-cutting. The maker of Lipton tea, Dove soap and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream said net profit reached 973 million euros, versus 731 million euros in the same period a year ago. Sales rose 6.7 percent to 10.1 billion euros. CEO Paul Polman said in a statement that margins were helped by lower commodity costs and lower overhead costs.
ArcelorMittal in the black
ArcelorMittal SA, the world’s largest steelmaker, said yesterday it swung to a profit of US$679 million in the first quarter compared with a loss a year earlier and predicted the recovery would pick up throughout the year. The Luxembourg-based company’s first-quarter sales were US$18.6 billion, up from US$15.1 billion a year earlier, and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were US$1.89 billion. It forecast EBITDA of between US$2.8 billion and US$3.2 billion in the second quarter.
Siemens net profit up 48%
German conglomerate Siemens AG yesterday reported that net profit for the second quarter increased 48 percent and said it was raising its outlook for the year. The firm that makes everything from trams to turbines said net profit rose to 1.49 billion euros in the January-March period compared with 1.01 billion euros a year earlier, led by its health care, industry and energy sectors. Revenues, however, slipped 4 percent to 18.2 billion euros from 18.9 billion euros a year earlier, a dip Siemens blamed on single digit declines in its energy and industry sectors.
Bayer Q1 profit surged 63%
German chemical and pharmaceutical company Bayer AG yesterday said that first-quarter net profit rose 63 percent as sales increased more than 5 percent. The company expects 15 percent growth in its earnings per share this year. The firm, famous for its Bayer aspirin, reported a net profit of 693 million euros in the January-March period, compared with 425 million euros a year earlier. Revenue increased 5.3 percent to 8.3 billion euros in the quarter, compared with 7.8 billion euros last year.
Malaysian authorities have advised women to wear makeup, not to nag their husbands and speak with a cartoon character’s soothing voice during the virus lockdown, sparking a flood of mockery online. Like many countries, Malaysia has ordered all citizens to stay at home to stem the spread of COVID-19, which, as of yesterday, had killed at least 39,070 people globally. In a series of online posters with the hashtag #WomenPreventCOVID19, the Malaysian Ministry of Women and Family Development issued advice on how to avoid domestic conflicts during the partial lockdown, which began on March 18. One of the campaign posters depicted
Taiwan will negotiate with the WHO about its participation without Beijing’s help and intervention as more countries, including Australia and Japan, are partnering with Taiwan to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a telephonic roundtable with reporters on Monday also supported Taiwan’s role in the WHO, saying the US Department of State would do its best to assist Taiwan’s “appropriate role” in the world’s highest health policy setting body, Voice of America reported. In a Japan Business Press report published on Sunday, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Kong Xuanyou (孔鉉佑) said
KEEP AWAY: People should wear a mask in places where they cannot follow social distancing rules, the CECC said, adding that it would publish detailed guidelines today The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced 16 new cases of COVID-19, including two domestic cases, as it urged people to practice social distancing in public spaces by keeping a distance of at least 1m when outdoors and 1.5m indoors. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that seven of the new cases tested positive upon their arrival at the airport, four were under home quarantine, one was under home isolation and two were under self-health management, while the two domestic cases sought treatment on their own. The domestic cases are a man in his
HELPING HAND: Taiwan is ready to help other nations and will not sit idly by while the global fight against the coronavirus continues, President Tsai Ing-wen said Taiwan, as a responsible member of the international community, is to offer humanitarian assistance to nations hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic by sending them masks and medicine, as well as sharing with them an electronic system that the government has been using to track down people that need to be quarantined, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday. With the nation’s daily production having reached 13 million masks and soon to reach 15 million, the government is to donate 10 million masks to medical personnel in nations most severely affected by the coronavirus, Tsai said at the Presidential Office in Taipei. The