Financial News from AFP

  • Deal to rescue Italy furnace site, 4,000 jobs at risk AFP - 10 hours ago
    Deal to rescue Italy furnace site, 4,000 jobs at risk

    A blast furnace at an Italian steel plant was shut down on Thursday with 4,000 jobs at risk despite a call by Pope Francis for officials "to make every effort in terms of creativity and generosity to rekindle hope". The government said a deal had been signed to save the site, but it came too late to prevent the shutdown at the Lucchini plant in Piombino on the Tuscan coastline, where production began in the early 20th century. The governor of the Tuscany region Enrico Rossi described the closure as "a dramatic moment" but said a plan to transform the furnace had been reached after an emergency meeting with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. The authorities "are determined to rebuild the furnace with advanced technologies to allow steel production at Piombino to resume within two to three years", he said.

  • Zimmer to buy Biomet for $13.35 bn AFP - 11 hours ago
    Zimmer to buy Biomet for $13.35 bn

    Zimmer Holdings will acquire Biomet for $13.35 billion in a deal that will combine two large providers of joint-reconstruction products, the companies announced Thursday. Zimmer, which provides spinal, trauma and dental devices, in addition to knee and hip replacements, will pay $10.35 billion in cash and $3.0 billion in stock for the privately held Biomet.

  • Retailers 'failing victims' a year after Bangladesh disaster AFP - 11 hours ago
    Retailers 'failing victims' a year after Bangladesh disaster

    Western fashion brands faced pressure Thursday to increase help for victims of the world's worst garment factory accident, as mass protests marked the one-year anniversary of the Bangladesh disaster that cost 1,138 lives. Thousands of people, some wearing funeral shrouds, staged demonstrations at the site of the now-infamous Rana Plaza factory complex outside the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, which collapsed last April 24 after a catastrophic structural failure. At least it would give us some consolation," said crying mother Minu Begum, clutching the photo of her missing daughter Sumi Begum, who worked at one of Rana Plaza's five factories. "Brands are failing workers a second time," Ineke Zeldenrust from the Amsterdam-based Clean Clothes Campaign said on Thursday.

  • Proposed US rules leave open Internet fast lanes AFP - 11 hours ago
    Proposed US rules leave open Internet fast lanes

    Internet fast lanes that defy the ideal of "net neutrality" would be allowed under rules proposed by US regulators eager to keep broadband service providers from abusing their power. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday laid out a proposal to make sure Internet service providers don't discriminate when it comes to data coursing through online pipes. The rules wouldn't prevent Internet service providers (ISPs) from letting technology titans such as Netflix or Google pay for faster data speeds but would require competing traffic move at "reasonable" speeds. The "open Internet notice of proposed rule making" sent from FCC chief Tom Wheeler to the full commission was pounced on by critics as a betrayal of the goal of keeping the Internet "neutral" by preventing some online traffic from getting priority over other content.

  • IMF to take decision on Ukraine aid on April 30 AFP - 11 hours ago
    IMF to take decision on Ukraine aid on April 30

    The International Monetary Fund will take a final decision on a huge rescue plan for embattled Ukraine on April 30, a spokesman said Thursday. IMF spokesman Gerry Rice could not say what the precise amount of the IMF program would be. The decision to move ahead comes despite heightening tensions over the country in the wake of Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region. On Thursday Russia ordered new military exercises in regions on Ukraine's eastern border, as Kiev seeks to stifle pro-Moscow secessionists.

  • Spanish PM hails 'rebuilt' economy AFP - 12 hours ago
    Spanish PM hails 'rebuilt' economy

    Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy boasted of a "rebuilt" economy Thursday as fresh data showed the nation's strongest growth rate since a job-wrecking 2008 property crash. The eurozone's fourth-largest economy expanded by 0.4 percent on a quarterly basis in the first three months of 2014, the sharpest increase in six years, the Bank of Spain said in a report, citing initial data. It was the strongest performance since the first quarter of 2008, when Spain was at the tail end of a decade-long property bubble whose collapse wiped out millions of jobs and flooded the nation in debt. "We have rebuilt our economy in record time, we have better foundations and the wind is blowing in our favour," Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said in a speech in Barcelona.

  • European stocks close after upbeat earnings AFP - 13 hours ago
    European stocks close after upbeat earnings

    European stock markets closed on an upbeat note on Thursday as traders reacted to a string of earnings updates, data pointing to further easing of eurozone economic strains, and fresh takeover speculation. Stock indices got a boost from well-received profits news from Apple and Facebook on Wednesday following the close of trading on Wall Street, analysts said, and New York markets were up on Thursday. Concern over the crisis in Ukraine however capped the optimism on financial and oil markets, and the euro eased slightly against the dollar over the escalating tensions. Germany's DAX 30 closed slightly up 0.05 percent at 9.548.68 points, with data revealing that German business confidence rebounded this month, after a slight fall in March in Europe's biggest economy when companies worried about the Crimea crisis.

  • Recall costs slam brakes on GM profit AFP - 13 hours ago
    Recall costs slam brakes on GM profit

    The Detroit, Michigan-based company also took a $300 million charge for restructuring costs, mostly in Europe, and incurred costs related to the exchange rate it uses for Venezuela's currency. And excluding the recall-related expenses, GM's operating income in North America improved compared with the 2013 first quarter. "The performance of our core operations was very strong this quarter, reflecting the positive response of customers to the new vehicles we are bringing to market," said GM chief executive Mary Barra. The company also made progress in paring losses in its Europe segment, when stripping out restructuring costs.

  • Spain shows fastest growth in six years: central bank AFP - 13 hours ago
    Spain shows fastest growth in six years: central bank

    Spain's economy appears to be growing at the fastest clip since a 2008 property crash tipped the nation into a job-wrecking, double-dip recession, the central bank said Thursday. The eurozone's fourth-largest economy expanded by 0.4 percent on a quarterly basis in the first three months of this year, the sharpest increase in six years, the Bank of Spain said in a report, citing initial data. It was the strongest performance since the first quarter of 2008, when Spain was at the tail end of a decade-long property bubble whose collapse wiped out millions of jobs and flooded the nation in debt. "We have rebuilt our economy in record time, we have better foundations and the wind is blowing in our favour," Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy boasted in a speech in Barcelona.

  • French retailer faces legal action in wake of Bangladesh disaster AFP - 15 hours ago
    French retailer faces legal action in wake of Bangladesh disaster

    Three organisations said Thursday they had filed a judicial complaint against French supermarket giant Auchan in the first such case in Europe in the wake of the deadly Bangladesh factory disaster a year ago. Auchan says it had never placed any orders at the Rana Plaza garment factory which collapsed on April 24 last year after a catastrophic structural failure, leaving 1,000 people dead. Sherpa, a non profit organisation for the "victims of economic crimes", Peuples Solidaires (People's Solidarity), and the Ethique sur l'etiquette (Ethics on Labels) collective, claim a number of witnesses -- including some in Bangladesh -- are available to provide evidence, and have called for the prosecutor to carry out a preliminary investigation as soon as possible. The collapse of the eight-storey Rana Plaza killed 1,138 workers and left more than 2,000 injured.

  • Chinese clampdown on extravagant feasts hits Pernod Ricard sales AFP - 15 hours ago
    Chinese clampdown on extravagant feasts hits Pernod Ricard sales

    Pernod Ricard, the world's second-biggest wine and spirits producer, said on Thursday that sales dipped 7.0 percent in the third quarter, hit by China's clampdown on extravagant feasts at official events. Revenues for the three months ending March reached 1.6 billion euros, according to a statement from the company, which owns brands including Absolut vodka, Ballantine's whisky and Ricard pastis. "Sales were impacted primarily by China where the decline was exacerbated by destocking in the third quarter as anticipated," the company said. The group's chief executive Pierre Pringuet told AFP that demand in China is expected to stay muted this year.

  • Bitcoin exchange MtGox to start liquidation process AFP - 15 hours ago
    Bitcoin exchange MtGox to start liquidation process

    Failed Bitcoin exchange MtGox, whose spectacular collapse hammered the digital currency's reputation, is to be liquidated after a Japanese court on Thursday ordered the start of bankruptcy proceedings, said a lawyer appointed to carry out the process. The global virtual currency community was shaken by the shuttering of MtGox, which froze withdrawals in early February because of what the firm said was a bug in the software underpinning Bitcoin that allowed hackers to pilfer them. The ruling by the Tokyo District Court on Thursday all but spells the end for a company that at one time processed around 80 percent of global transactions in the virtual currency. "(I) will implement the bankruptcy proceedings, in which the assets of the bankrupt entity will be managed and converted into cash," said a statement attributed to bankruptcy trustee Nobuaki Kobayashi posted on the exchange's website.

  • Argentine congress OKs payoff to Repsol for YPF seizure AFP - 15 hours ago
    Argentine congress OKs payoff to Repsol for YPF seizure

    Argentina's lower house of Congress approved a deal Thursday to compensate Spanish oil giant Repsol with $5 billion in bonds for the 2012 seizure of its subsidiary YPF. The Senate cleared the agreement on March 27. It now goes to the desk of President Cristina Kirchner for enactment. The deal seeks to repair the financial hit taken by Repsol when Kirchner ordered the nationalization of Repsol's 51-percent stake in YPF in April 2012.

  • Spain's CaixaBank reports profits halved AFP - 16 hours ago
    Spain's CaixaBank reports profits halved

    Spanish lender CaixaBank posted Thursday a first-quarter net profit of 152 million euros ($210 million), a 54.6-percent drop from the figure at same time last year when it was boosted by one-off gains from acquisitions. Spain's third biggest bank by capitalisation said its ratio of bad loans as a portion of total loans fell to 11.36 percent from 11.66 percent in the same year-ago period. It was the first time that its bad loan ratio has fallen since 2008, when Spain's decade-long property boom collapsed, causing millions of people to lose their jobs. "What we have noticed, especially during the final quarter, points to an improvement in net interest income, a gradual reduction in doubtful debts and the stabilisation of damaged assets," CaixaBank vice president Joan Maria Nin told a news conference.

  • Barclays says expects small fall in quarterly profit AFP - 16 hours ago
    Barclays says expects small fall in quarterly profit

    Barclays, struggling to restore its damaged image, said on Thursday it expected to announce a small drop in quarterly pre-tax profits when it formally updates the market next month. In a statement being delivered by the lender at its annual general meeting, Barclays said that its investment banking business had one more suffered during the first three months of 2014. Barclays first-quarter update comes two months after the bank said it would axe thousands of jobs and raise bonuses for its bankers despite its investment arm falling into a heavy loss in 2013. "We have seen the benefits of being a diversified bank in the first quarter with the businesses outside the Investment Bank delivering a resilient performance, compared to the same period last year," Barclays chief executive Antony Jenkins said in Thursday's statement.

  • American Airlines profitable in 1st quarter since deal AFP - 16 hours ago
    American Airlines profitable in 1st quarter since deal

    American Airlines Thursday reported a profit in its first full quarter since acquiring US Airways, benefitting from lower fuel costs and a gain from the sale of some airport slots. American, the biggest US airline by revenue, said first-quarter net income was $480 million, compared with a loss of $297 million from the combined year-ago results of American and US Airways. American and US Airways closed their merger in December 2013. The airline also notched $137 million in special credits due mainly to the sale of airport slots at Reagan National Airport in Washington that was mandated by antitrust regulators for approval of the US Airways deal.

  • Caterpillar reports higher profits, warns of China, Ukraine risks AFP - 17 hours ago
    Caterpillar reports higher profits, warns of China, Ukraine risks

    Industrial giant Caterpillar reported higher earnings and boosted its 2014 profit forecast on Thursday, but warned China's economic transition and the Ukraine crisis could threaten the global economy. Caterpillar's first-quarter earnings rose 4.8 percent from a year ago to $922 million, thanks to improved performance in the energy, transportation and construction sectors that offset continued weakness in mining. Caterpillar also raised its 2014 profit forecast by 25 cents per share to $5.55 due to a better outlook for construction that more than offset a negative update to the company's mining-sector outlook. Caterpillar's chief executive Doug Oberhelman said he was "pleased" with the performance given the tough mining environment and still-cautious global economy.

  • GM profit plunges after recall costs AFP - 17 hours ago
    GM profit plunges after recall costs

    GM posted net profit of $125 million, dragged down by a $1.3 billion charge for recalling seven million vehicles worldwide. "The performance of our core operations was very strong this quarter, reflecting the positive response of customers to the new vehicles we are bringing to market," said GM chief executive Mary Barra in a statement. GM faces a slew of investigations and lawsuits over its delayed recall of vehicles for an ignition switch problem that has been linked to 13 deaths and other injuries. Shares in GM were up 2.9 percent to $35.40 in pre-market trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

  • AstraZeneca says seeking deals, but silent on Pfizer AFP - 17 hours ago
    AstraZeneca says seeking deals, but silent on Pfizer

    AstraZeneca, the British drugs giant, would not be drawn on Thursday over reports it faces a mega takeover bid from US rival Pfizer, alongside news that its profits had halved. But AstraZenenca chief executive Pascal Soriot said the company was on the look out for deals amid a shake-up of the pharmaceutical sector. Despite profits tumbling in the first quarter, hit by generic competition following the loss of exclusivity for key drugs, AstraZeneca's share price surged on Thursday on signs that it had turned a corner amid a restructuring programme. "We are looking for potential partnerships and collaborations, alliances that would enable us to market those products," Soriot said in a conference call with reporters after stating that AstraZeneca has "a firm policy of not commenting on speculations".

  • Spain shows fastest growth in six years, central bank says AFP - 17 hours ago
    Spain shows fastest growth in six years, central bank says

    Spain's economy grew at the fastest rate in six years in the first quarter of 2014 as it pulled out of a long, job-destroying downturn, the central bank said in a preliminary estimate Thursday. The eurozone's fourth-largest economy expanded by 0.4 percent on a quarterly basis, the Bank of Spain said in a monthly report, citing initial data. It was the sharpest quarterly growth rate since the first quarter of 2008 when a decade-long property bubble imploded, tipping the nation into a double-dip recession that wiped out millions of jobs and flooded the nation in debt. "In the first quarter of 2014, the Spanish economy continued on a path of gradual recovery in the context of increasing normalisation on the financial markets and a gradual consolidation of the labour market," the central bank said.

  • Turkey holds rates steady despite government pressure AFP - 17 hours ago
    Turkey holds rates steady despite government pressure

    Turkey's central bank refused to bow to government pressure and kept its key interest rates unchanged on Thursday. The announcement came after the bank's monetary policy committee meeting, which agreed that the tight monetary policy would be maintained until an improvement in the inflation outlook was secured. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said early this month after his Islamic-rooted party scored a sweeping victory in March 30 local polls that the bank should cut interest rates in order to stimulate the economy. Erdogan, a strong candidate for the presidency in August, has made a turnaround in Turkey's economic fortunes a keystone of his 11-year rule, pushing the central bank, which is officially independent, for lower rates to boost credit for consumers and businesses.

  • Emotional, violent protests a year after Bangladesh disaster AFP - 17 hours ago
    Emotional, violent protests a year after Bangladesh disaster

    Thousands of Bangladeshis held emotional and violent protests on the one-year anniversary of the world's worst garment factory disaster, as Western retailers faced pressure to hike aid for victims of the accident that cost 1,138 lives. Angry victims, some wearing funeral shrouds, staged demonstrations at the site of the now-infamous Rana Plaza factory complex, which collapsed last April 24 after a catastrophic structural failure. At least it would give us some consolation," said crying mother Minu Begum, clutching a photo of her missing daughter Sumi Begum, who worked at one of Rana Plaza's five factories. Violent protests broke out in the capital where police fired tear gas at some 2,000 brick-throwing demonstrators demanding higher wages and compensation outside a small garment factory hub, police said.

  • Turkey's central bank says holds key interest rate, defying PM AFP - 18 hours ago
    Turkey's central bank says holds key interest rate, defying PM

    Turkey's central bank kept its key interest rates steady on Thursday, defying pressure from the prime minister for a rate cut. The announcement came after the bank held its monetary policy committee meeting, which agreed that the tight monetary policy would be maintained until an improvement in the inflation outlook was secured. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said early this month after his Islamic-rooted party scored a sweeping victory in the March 30 local polls despite corruption allegations and Internet bans that the bank should cut interest rates in order to stimulate the economy. Erdogan, a strong candidate for the presidency in August, has made a turnaround in Turkey's economic fortunes a keystone of his 11-year rule, pushing the central bank, which is officially independent, for lower rates to boost credit for consumers and businesses.

  • European stocks rebound on upbeat earnings AFP - 18 hours ago
    European stocks rebound on upbeat earnings

    European stock markets rebounded on Thursday as traders reacted to a string of earnings updates, data pointing to further easing of eurozone economic strains, and fresh takeover speculation. Indices won a boost in particular from well-received profits news from Apple and Facebook on Wednesday following the close of trading on Wall Street, analysts said. The euro gained against the dollar, aided by upbeat German business confidence. Frankfurt's DAX 30 climbed 0.76 percent to 9,616.75 points, with data revealing that German business confidence rebounded this month, after a slight fall in March in Europe's biggest economy when companies worried about the Crimea crisis.

  • Putin blocks Russia relaxing budget policy for Crimea -report AFP - 19 hours ago
    Putin blocks Russia relaxing budget policy for Crimea -report

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the government not to relax its budget policy in order to finance the newly-annexed territory of Crimea amid fears of a new economic crisis in the country, a report said Thursday. Russia's government is split between senior figures arguing for a more relaxed policy to release funds for Crimea and fiscal hawks arguing strongly for prudence at a time of slumping growth and the risk of recession. The Vedomosti business daily, citing a government source, said that a closed door meeting chaired by Putin on Wednesday had decided against changing Russia's fiscal rule which limits the budget deficit at 1 percent of GDP and links annual spending to the medium-term oil price. It said that the money for huge infrastructure projects in Crimea, which Russia annexed last month from Ukraine in a swoop not recognised by the international community, could now come from the rainy-day National Wellbeing Fund.

  • Pharma giant Novartis sees net profit jump 24% AFP - 20 hours ago
    Pharma giant Novartis sees net profit jump 24%

    Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Novartis on Thursday posted a 24-percent jump in first-quarter net profit, driven largely by the sale of a blood transfusion diagnostics unit. The company, which earlier this week announced an extreme make-over of its structure, said it had raked in a net profit of $2.96 billion (2.14 billion euros) during the first three months of the year. Not counting acquisitions or other exceptional events such as the $900 million it booked during the quarter on the sale of its blood transfusion diagnostics unit to the Spanish firm Grifols, Novartis said its net profit remained flat year-on-year at $3.12 billion. That was slightly higher than the £3.05 billion expected by analysts, according to a poll by Dow Jones Newswires.

  • Mexico's Slim gains Europe foothold with Austrian Telekom deal AFP - 20 hours ago
    Mexico's Slim gains Europe foothold with Austrian Telekom deal

    Mexican telecoms billionaire Carlos Slim looked on Thursday to have at last secured a firm European foothold with a deal giving him effective control of Telekom Austria, six months after failing to acquire the Dutch KPN. Under the terms of a shareholder accord struck after a marathon meeting late on Wednesday, Slim's America Movil (AMX) will combine its 26.8-percent stake in Telekom Austria with the 28.4 percent owned by the Austrian state. Pending regulatory approval, this will clear the way for AMX to make a public offer for all outstanding shares of Telekom Austria at 7.15 euros per share, AMX and Telekom Austria said in a joint statement. AMX will then obtain "operational responsibilities" in Telekom Austria, which has some 20 million mobile customers spread across Austria, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, Liechtenstein and Slovenia.

  • Unilever says Q1 sales down, blames exchange rates AFP - 21 hours ago
    Unilever says Q1 sales down, blames exchange rates

    Dutch food and cosmetics giant Unilever on Thursday posted a first-quarter drop in sales down 6.3 percent which it blamed on unfavourable currency exchange rates. Despite lower sales, Unilever said underlying growth was strong, even in emerging markets where the group has been focusing its business in recent years. "Emerging markets are currently passing through a period of slower demand and volatility, but our strategy remains unchanged," Unilever chief executive Paul Polman said in the statement. Unilever however did not publish profits for the first quarter.

  • AstraZeneca drugs group says profits halved, blames generics AFP - 22 hours ago
    AstraZeneca drugs group says profits halved, blames generics

    AstraZeneca, the British pharmaceutical giant, announced on Thursday a halving of net profits in the first quarter, hit by generic competition following the loss of exclusivity for key drugs. Profit after tax slumped to $504 million (365 million euros) in the three months to the end of March compared with $1.011 billion during the first quarter of 2013, AstraZeneca said in an earnings statement. The company, which is looking to push ahead with new treatments for cancer and respiratory disease, made no comment regarding weekend reports that US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer is considering a $100 billion takeover of AstraZeneca. AstraZeneca added that the impact of losses from major patent expiries, including for anti-cholesterol drug Crestor, totalled almost $150 million in the first quarter.

  • Shares in French giant Alstom leap on rumoured GE bid AFP - 22 hours ago
    Shares in French giant Alstom leap on rumoured GE bid

    Shares in French engineering group Alstom, which builds power-generating equipment and high-speed trains, shot up nearly 14.0 percent in early trading on Thursday on rumours that US General Electric may make a takeover bid. Alstom, issued a statement to say that it had no knowledge of any such offer from General Electric (GE). Alstom shares, which surged initially by about 17.0 percent, shortly after were showing a gain of 13.87 percent to 27.72 euros on the Paris stock which was showing an overall advance of 0.54 percent. The group, a top name in French industry, said that it was constantly reviewing its strategic option in different sectors of its activities and would provide information on this when it published annual results on May 7.

  • Lincoln, Cadillac chase Audi in China luxury market AFP - Thu, Apr 24, 2014 5:31 AM AEST
    Lincoln, Cadillac chase Audi in China luxury market

    Classic American luxury brands Lincoln and Cadillac are taking on Germany's long-dominant Audi in China, but face a market leader fortified by enviable brand awareness built over years as officialdom's favourite car. Black Audis -- with their four interlocking ring symbols, signifying the long-ago merger of four German auto companies -- are ubiquitous at state events, such as the annual meeting of China's legislature in central Beijing. Audi, which last year celebrated its 25th anniversary in China, has benefited from its early entry into the market and the prestige its badge holds among high-profile passengers, selling just short of 500,000 vehicles in 2013. German manufacturers -- Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Volkswagen -- dominate the premium segment, with 80 percent market share, the consultancy McKinsey said in a report last year.

  • Rana Plaza one year on: brands and buyers make few changes AFP - Thu, Apr 24, 2014 3:41 AM AEST
    Rana Plaza one year on: brands and buyers make few changes

    One year on from the tragedy at Rana Plaza, Bangladesh's worst ever industrial disaster in which more than 1,000 factory workers died, has anything really changed in the fast-fashion brands on Western high streets? On Paris's Boulevard Haussmann, shoppers said the wave of international outrage caused when the nine-story Rana Plaza collapsed on April 24 last year, killing 1,138 people and injuring more than 2,000, had hardly changed shopping habits.

  • Venezuela's Maduro promises importers overdue hard currency AFP - Thu, Apr 24, 2014 3:05 AM AEST
    Venezuela's Maduro promises importers overdue hard currency

    Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro promised to pay back billions of dollars in government debt to disgruntled importers, after widespread shortages of basic goods helped fuel months of deadly anti-government protests. "We are going to immediately pay back 30 percent of (the total hard currency owed to importers) as a way to move forward on these commitments," Maduro told a gathering of business leaders. Venezuela -- which sits atop the world's largest proven crude oil reserves -- has Latin America's highest inflation rate -- 57 percent. Maduro's heavily state-led government inherited from late leader Hugo Chavez a decade-old system of hard currency controls.

  • Apple splitting stock as iPhone sales soar AFP - Thu, Apr 24, 2014 2:19 AM AEST
    Apple splitting stock as iPhone sales soar

    Apple on Wednesday courted investors with stock split plans as hot iPhone sales pushed up profits while underscoring pressure for the company to unveil "the next big thing." Apple shares jumped more than seven percent to $566.15 in after-market trade following the release of January-March earnings figures showing profit of $10.2 billion on $45.6 billion in revenue. The earnings report came with Apple chief Tim Cook hinting that new products are on the way from the maker of iPhones, iPads, iPods, and Macintosh computers. "We're very proud of our quarterly results, especially our strong iPhone sales and record revenue from services," Cook said in a press release.

  • General Electric in talks to buy Alstom AFP - Thu, Apr 24, 2014 1:52 AM AEST
    General Electric in talks to buy Alstom

    US industrial giant General Electric is in discussions to take over France's Alstom in a deal which could cost more than $13 billion, Bloomberg reported. General Electric declined to comment on what a spokesman referred to as "rumors and speculation," but the report said an agreement could be announced next week. Alstom, like GE, builds trains and power generation equipment, but its specialty is the high-speed TGV trains and rail-signalling technology that the US company lacks. The American firm is flush with cash, while Alstom, hit by the European slowdown, has been selling assets and cutting staff to reduce debt.