SINGAPORE: Singapore Exchange Ltd (SGX) has posted a 4.1% year-on-year decline in net profit to S$27.27mil in its second quarter ended Dec 31, 2004, mainly because of lower sales at its securities and derivatives trading businesses. Operating revenue for the quarter slipped 15.7% to S$65.94mil. “The market environment had been difficult in the first half of FY 2005, as reflected by the lower turnover in both the securities and derivatives markets,” SGX said. – AFX-Asia
WASHINGTON: AT&T Corp, the No. 4 US telephone company, reported that fourth-quarter earnings increased due to cost-savings through job cuts and a tax benefit from the write-down of assets.
For the three months to December 2004, AT&T earned US$625mil, up from US$340mil in the same period a year earlier. But revenues fell 10.2% to US$7.3bil. The latest results included an after-tax depreciation benefit of US$337mil stemming from the company’s US$11.4bil write-down of its assets in the third quarter. – Reuters
BOMBAY: Reliance Industries Ltd, India's largest petrochemicals producer, reported yesterday a better-than-expected 52% rise in quarterly profit on strong refining margins and firm prices. It made a net profit of 20.9 billion rupees (US$477mil) in its third quarter ended Dec 31, 2004, compared with 13.74 billion rupees a year earlier. Revenue rose 42% year-on-year to 180.99 billion rupees. – Reuters
PARIS: Euro Disney, the financially stressed operator of a theme complex east of Paris, has launched a capital raising of 253 million euros, the final stage in its financial restructuring.
Preferential subscription rights are being offered to existing shareholders at 0.09 euro per share, according to a statement from the company yesterday. The subscription period is to start on Jan 31 and run till Feb 8.
Walt Disney Co, the group's US parent, has pledged to buy 1.11 billion new shares, and Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, another core shareholder, is down for 217.3 million. – AFP
BEIJING: China Construction Bank, one of the country's four state-owned commercial banks, said yesterday it would try to launch an initial stock offering this year.
In a statement, chairman Zhang Enzhao said that this year was “key” for the bank's planned initial public offering.
Chang Zhenming, the bank's president, also said the lender would finalise terms for a partnership with foreign strategic investors as soon as possible, and prepare for the stock offer.
China Construction Bank and the Bank of China have been tapped by the central government to spearhead an ambitious reform of China's banking sector. – AFX-Asia
HONG KONG: US fast-food giant McDonald's is planning further expansion in China, the fastest-growing market outside the United States.
The group has already committed to having 1,000 stores throughout China by the time of the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008.
“China is the fastest-growing market outside the United States. China has about 1.3 billion people. Our intention is to grow indefinitely,” said Marvin Whaley, the company's president for North Asia and the South Pacific region, at a media briefing here yesterday. – AFP