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Saudi to block BlackBerry

Saudi Arabia’s telecom watchdog said on Tuesday that telecom companies in the kingdom must block an unspecified service for all BlackBerry users as of tomorrow. The Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) has asked “Saudi Telecom Co, Mobily and Zain Saudi Arabia to immediately stop the BlackBerry service for businesses and individuals in the kingdom starting Aug, 6,” it said in a statement. The ban would last until the kingdom’s three mobile phone operators “fulfill the regulatory requirements it has requested,” CITC said without elaborating on the nature of these requirements. The United Arab Emirates threatened on Sunday to ban some BlackBerry services unless its maker, Research in Motion, gives it access to encrypted messages.


S&P, Fitch scapegoats: CEO

The head of the company that owns global ratings giant Standard & Poor’s has hit back at accusations by a new Chinese credit agency that its Western counterparts caused the financial crisis. In an interview with the Financial Times, Harold “Terry” McGraw III, the chairman and chief executive of McGraw-Hill companies, said S&P, Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings were being made scapegoats. “If you’re in a populist mood, you’ve got to find the villain,” McGraw told the newspaper during a trip to Beijing. Dagong Global Credit Rating (大公國際信評) chairman Guan Jianzhong (關建中) told the newspaper last month that the financial crisis erupted because rating agencies “didn’t properly disclose risk” and got too close to the clients they were assessing.


Adidas raises profit target

Sportswear maker Adidas AG has raised its full-year earnings forecast after the soccer World Cup helped drive up second-quarter revenue and profit. Adidas said yesterday that it now expects earnings per share for the full year of between 2.50 euros (US$3.30) and 2.62 euros , compared with a previous forecast of between 2.05 euros and 2.30 euros. The company, based in Herzogenaurach, Germany, confirmed previously released second-quarter figures: an increase in net earnings to 126 million euros from 9 million euros a year earlier, and an 18.7 percent increase in revenues to 2.92 billion euros.


Swatch net profit up 54.5%

Swatch Group AG, the world’s largest watchmaker, reported a 54.5 percent rise in half-year net profit yesterday as sales recovered from a slump during the global downturn. Despite a strong Swiss franc and continued high gold prices, Swatch said it managed to increase net profits to 465 million Swiss francs (US$446 million) from SF301 million in the same quarter last year. Sales of its timepieces, which include brands such as Omega, Breguet and Longines, rose 22.1 percent to SF2.87 billion. The company said it expected a “strong” second half.


Munich Re profit up 3.5%

Reinsurer Munich Re AG said its second-quarter net profit rose 3.5 percent as earnings from investments helped balance out the impact of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Munich Re said yesterday that its net earnings for the quarter climbed to 709 million euros from 685 million euros a year earlier. The company said the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and the subsequent oil spill were the quarter’s most expensive single event. The company said it had a second-quarter profit on investments of 2.62 billion euros, up 19.7 percent.

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