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Ericsson profits drop as North America demand slumps STOCKHOLM: Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson said Tuesday its net profit plunged by over a third in the fourth quarter, dragged down by falling demand in its key market North America.Profits slumped 35 percent to 4.17 billion crowns (447 million euros, $503 million) in the last three months of 2014 as currency hedge losses further eroded earnings.Net profit for the full year was down 4 percent to 11.57 billion kronor.The group said demand slowed particularly towards the end of the year in North America, where telecommunications operators invested at a "slower pace".Other regions like the Middle East, Europe and Asia however showed "strong sales growth", helping to offset the poor showing in North America.In the fourth quarter, sales rose by one percent to 67.99 billion kronor, although annual sales slid 2 percent from 2013 adjusted for comparable units and currency.Stocks in the telecoms group fell 2.14 percent at open before recovering ...

Novartis flags faster sales and profit growth for 2015 ZURICH: Swiss drugmaker Novartis forecast sales and profits to grow at a faster pace this year as recent drug successes and its portfolio overhaul help it weather the impact of generic competition.Excluding currency moves, the Basel-based firm on Tuesday said it expected mid-single digit sales growth and core operating income to increase at a high-single digit rate in 2015.Still, a surge in the Swiss franc following a shock move by the Swiss central bank to ...

Greek uncertainty weighs on low-rated euro zone bonds LONDON: Low-rated euro zone bond yields edged higher on Tuesday as investors waited anxiously to see whether Greece's new anti-bailout government would clash with their European Union partners.Europe is willing to give Athens more time to pay its debt, euro zone finance ministers agreed on Monday, but will not yield to demands for debt forgiveness demanded by the new Syriza-led coalition.German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Tuesday Greeks were not suffering because of decisions ...

Sony delays earnings after 'The Interview' cyberattack TOKYO: Sony said Tuesday it has won permission to delay the release of its quarterly earnings report, after a cyberattack damaged the computer network at its Hollywood film unit.The Japanese firm said last week that it was asking for the delay because subsidiary Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) would not have time to put together its financial statements after the attack, linked to its controversial North Korea satire "The Interview," which has been widely blamed on ...

Aer Lingus board recommends $1.5bn offer from BA-owner IAG DUBLIN: The board of Irish airline Aer Lingus has recommended a raised 1.36-billion-euro ($1.5 billion) takeover offer from the owner of British Airways, which must now soothe Irish government concerns to win approval.The new offer from International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG), its third in six weeks, is worth 2.55 euros per share, up from 2.40 euros, and includes a cash offer of 2.50 euros per share and a dividend of 0.05 euros.Aer Lingus said its ...

UBS says to charge large companies for deposits in Switzerland ZURICH: UBS said on Tuesday it had introduced a deposit charge for certain large account balances in Switzerland, following policy moves by the Swiss National Bank (SNB) which have sent the value of the safe-haven Swiss franc soaring."These extraordinary market conditions, coupled with increased regulatory requirements in relation to banks' liquidity obligations, have resulted in UBS introducing an individual deposit charge for large account balances held by corporate and institutional clients as well as by ...

Philips 'setback' as 2014 profits slashed by two-thirds THE HAGUE: Dutch electronics giant Philips on Tuesday announced profits slashed by almost two-thirds after a "challenging" 2014, blamed on ever-slowing markets in China and Russia and unfavourable exchange rates.Annual net profit tumbled from 1.17 billion euros in 2013 to 411 million euros ($462 million), the company said in a statement, after issuing a profit warning on January 13.Sales in 2014 dropped 2.7 percent to 21.39 billion euros, said Philips, which has diversified into high-margin ...


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ICT 2014

Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-1.664 bln
Exports $1.966 bln
Imports $3.630 bln
WeeklyJanuary 25, 2015
Reserves $15.019 bln