Daimler to pay US$1.5bn
Daimler AG and subsidiary Mercedes-Benz USA have agreed to pay US$1.5 billion to the US government and California state regulators to resolve emissions cheating allegations, officials said on Monday. The US Department of Justice, Environmental Protection Agency and the California Attorney General’s Office said that Daimler contravened environmental laws by using so-called “defeat device software” to circumvent emissions testing and sold about 250,000 vehicles in the US with diesel engines that did not comply with US state and federal laws.
H&M returns to growth
Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M) reported a return to profit that far surpassed analysts’ expectations, a bullish sign for purveyors of fast fashion. The Swedish clothing retailer estimated that pretax earnings reached about 2 billion kronor (US$228.6 million) in the third quarter, based on preliminary results. The earnings were eight times the average analyst estimate and almost double the highest forecast, which H&M attributed to revenue exceeding its expectations, well-received collections and more sales at full price.
Ocado revenue rises 52%
Ocado Group PLC yesterday reported a 52 percent increase in third-quarter revenue, benefiting from COVID-wary consumers ordering grocery deliveries rather than shopping in supermarkets. The UK company said that strong sales in its retail arm, which started selling food from Marks & Spencer Group PLC this month, would help to boost full-year earnings to at least ￡40 million (US$51.6 million). Ocado Retail, the online grocery arm jointly owned with Marks & Spencer, is benefiting from the surge in demand as a result of the pandemic, it said.
Citi to resume job cuts
Citigroup Inc is to resume job cuts from this week, joining rivals in ending an earlier pledge to pause staff reductions during the COVID-19 pandemic. The cuts are to affect less than 1 percent of the global workforce, the bank said in a statement on Monday. With recent hiring, the overall headcount would likely not show any drop, Citigroup said, adding that it has hired more than 26,000 people this year, more than one-third of which were in the US. The lender had about 204,000 employees at the end of the second quarter.
Joblessness edges upward
The unemployment rate rose for the first time since the COVID-19 lockdown began in March, but data published yesterday showed that the increase in joblessness is so far not surging. The unemployment rate increased to 4.1 percent in the three months to July from the 3.9 percent it had clung to since early this year. Experimental figures showed that payroll numbers last month fell by a monthly 36,000 jobs, which was more than the 20,000 lost in July, but only a fraction of April and May’s layoffs.
New home sales soar 16%
Home sales last month surged to an 11-month high, buoyed by demand from locals who are betting that prices are to rebound as soon as next year. The number of new units sold last month rose 16 percent to 1,256 homes from 1,080 in July, data released yesterday by the Urban Redevelopment Authority showed. That is the most since September last year and up from a near six-year low in April, during the height of the COVID-19 lockdown.
Intel Corp has talked with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) and Samsung Electronics Co about the Asian companies making some of its best chips, but the Silicon Valley pioneer is still holding out hope for last-minute improvements in its own production capabilities. After successive delays in its chip fabrication processes, Santa Clara, California-based Intel has yet to make a decision less than two weeks ahead of a scheduled announcement of its plans, people familiar with the deliberations said. Any components that Intel might source from Taiwan would not come to market until 2023 at the earliest and would be based on
MediaTek Inc (聯發科) yesterday announced it would give incentive bonuses totaling NT$1.7 billion (US$59.7 million) to its employees and those at the firm’s major subsidiaries, after the smartphone chip supplier’s revenue hit US$10 billion last year. This is the biggest incentive bonus the Hsinchu-based handset chip designer has ever distributed in its 23-year history. About 17,000 full-time employees of MediaTek and five of its subsidiaries, including Richtek Technology Corp (立錡科技) and Airoha Technology Corp (絡達科技), would receive a “red envelope” of NT$100,000 each, the company said. “Surpassing US$10 billion is just the beginning. We will continue to [grow] on this basis,” MediaTek
TO SPUR REVENUE: The contract chipmaker expects its profit to grow 15 percent this year, outpacing the foundry industry’s projected advance of about 10 percent Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday raised its projected capital spending for this year by 62 percent, a new high, in an attempt to satisfy customer demand for advanced technologies in the production of central processing units, high-performance-computing (HPC) devices and 5G applications. After investing US$17.24 billion last year, TSMC this year plans to spend US$25 billion to US$28 billion on manufacturing equipment and new facilities, including a fab in the US. About 80 percent of the budget would be allocated for developing advanced technologies including 3, 5 and 7-nanometer technologies, the company said. The larger-than-expected capital spending prompted speculation
RIPPLE EFFECTS: Diminished supply, which has for the past few months affected auto firms worldwide, might prove to be a short-term issue due to COVID-19, an expert said A widening global shortage of semiconductors for auto parts is forcing major auto companies to halt or slow vehicle production just as they were recovering from COVID-19 pandemic-related factory shutdowns. Officials at Volkswagen AG, Ford Motor Co, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, Toyota Motor Corp and Nissan Motor Co all say they have been hit by the shortage and been forced to delay production of some models in order to keep other factories running. “This is absolutely an industry issue,” Toyota spokesman Scott Vazin said in an e-mail on Friday. “We are evaluating the supply constraint of semiconductors and developing countermeasures to minimize