Motorola Inc issued better-than-expected third-quarter results and an upbeat forecast, rushing out its earnings report early to counter a Moody's downgrade of its debt and concern about its future. \nThe company announced Monday a US$116 million profit and cited a boom in orders for new cellphones as evidence its stuttering recovery remains on track despite a pending leadership change and Wall Street's skepticism. \nSales -- a figure watched closely as a barometer of its health -- rose 5 percent instead of falling as many industry experts had predicted. \nEven its money-losing semiconductor business, which the company said last week it intends to spin off, picked up more orders in a modest recovery that could stir up more interest among prospective buyers. \nNet earnings for the three months ended Sept. 27 amounted to US$0.05 a share, compared with a gain of US$111 million, or US$0.05 a share, for the same period last year. Excluding US$16 million in special charges, earnings were US$132 million or US$0.06 per share -- US$0.03 higher than the consensus estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call. \nRevenues climbed to US$6.83 billion from US$6.53 billion, thanks partly to an 8 percent jump at its No. 1 business unit, mobile phones, which totaled US$2.9 billion. \nThe Schaumburg, Illinois-based company increased its guidance for fourth-quarter sales to between US$7.5 billion and US$7.8 billion, up from US$7.4 billion. \n"We are now seeing early results from the decisive actions taken in a very difficult telecom and semiconductor global environment over the last three years," said president and chief operating officer Mike Zafirovski. \nMotorola had scheduled its earnings report to be released yesterday after the close of trading. It decided instead to issue them before the stock market opened Monday as a result of the downgrade of its debt late Friday by Moody's to one step above junk status. \nMoody's said it made the downgrade in light of "the weakened outlook for most of Motorola's business segments" and expected changes after the resignation of chairman and CEO Christopher Galvin, who is staying on until a successor is named. \nBut company officials strongly disagreed with that characterization, and Zafirovski, who is a candidate to replace Galvin, said the third quarter "signals some positive momentum in key aspects of our business." \nMost notably, orders rose 25 percent from a year earlier -- including 44 percent for its cellphone business, to US$3.7 billion. While declining market share in China caused a drop in operating earnings for the phone unit -- to US$165 million from US$225 million -- the company cited strengthened demand in North America and elsewhere. \nZafirovski acknowledged to analysts that the company has been slow to come to market with some of its camera phones. Competitors have gotten a significant head start with that item, one of the hottest new consumer electronics products. \n"We wish we'd have had more camera phones earlier in the year," he said on an afternoon conference call. "But they will be 50 percent of our portfolio in Q4." \nCompany executives also maintained that Motorola is in strong position to repay its debt that matures in 2005 despite concerns voiced by Moody's and others. Galvin called it one of the strongest quarters in its 75-year history, emphasizing a strengthened financial situation. \n"Not since 1983, 20 years ago, has Motorola had such a strong balance sheet," he said. "This is not by chance. We generated US$1.1 billion of positive operating cash flow this quarter."
NINE NEW CASES: The CECC said two locally transmitted cases of COVID-19, and seven imported ones – five women and two men – brought the nation’s total to 348 People who refuse to wear a mask on public transportation after being asked to do so would face a NT$3,000 to NT$15,000 fine, effective immediately, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday after announcing nine additional COVID-19 cases. In a move to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications on Tuesday announced that people must wear masks on trains and intercity buses, while Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, on Tuesday said that people should wear them when they cannot maintain a social distance of 1.5m indoors. Chen yesterday
The US National Security Council yesterday thanked Taiwan for its support amid the COVID-19 pandemic following President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) announcement that Taiwan would donate 10 million masks to hard-hit countries. The donation includes 2 million masks to the US on top of the weekly 100,000 announced previously; 7 million to Europe; and 1 million to diplomatic allies, on top of 1 million Taiwan procured for allies from their neighboring countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday. After European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressed appreciation for the donations, the US body yesterday wrote its thanks on Twitter. “We
TARGETED TEXTS: The center’s head said that visitor numbers at scenic spots were greater than expected and people did not do a very good job of social distancing The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday sent two warning text messages to urge people to practice social distancing, especially by avoiding crowded scenic areas. The two messages were sent at 11:55am on the third day of the four-day Tomb Sweeping Day weekend, reminding people about social distancing and hand hygiene to help prevent COVID-19 infection. “When visiting crowded scenic spots during the Tomb Sweeping Day weekend, please keep a social distance of at least 1.5m indoors and 1m outdoors, wear a mask and wash your hands frequently. Please wear a mask and seek immediate medical attention if you are feeling ill
STIMULUS FUNDS: Companies that report weak sales can apply for the financial aid, while subsidies for a one-time injection of working capital would also be available The Ministry of Economic Affairs yesterday said that it would subsidize up to 40 percent of workers’ salaries for businesses that have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Funded by a NT$39.6 billion (US$1.31 billion) budget — part of a newly expanded NT$1.05 trillion economic stimulus package approved by the Executive Yuan on Thursday — the ministry plans to assist companies with employee wages to help prevent job cuts. Companies facing an annual drop in sales of at least 50 percent for two consecutive months can apply for the financial aid, which would cover up to 40 percent of their employees’