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Toyota's Announces 2008 Sales, New Prez; Constellation Unloads London Unit to Goldman; China Urban Unemployment Rises; Kingdom Holding Posts Massive 4Q Loss; WB Cuts 800 Jobs; JNJ Profit Up 14%; Rohm and Haas Sheds 900 Jobs; Google Shelves Print Ads Program
- Toyota Motor Corp. (ADR:TM) yesterday (Tuesday) named Akio Toyoda, the grandson of the company's founder, as the new company president. The announcement car the same day Toyota announced 2008 sales figures, down 5% in Japan and down 4% worldwide.
- Constellation Energy Group Inc. (CEG) said it agreed to sell the majority of its London commodities unit to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), a move to boost the power company's liquidity, Reuters reported. A dollar amount of the deal was not released. Constellation is also trying to sell its Houston-based gas trading operation.
- For the first time in 6 years, China's urban unemployment rate rose, climbing from 4% to 4.2% in the three months ended Dec. 31. "Growth has fallen off a cliff in China in recent months. It does already feel like a recession for a lot of people," Paul Cavey, chief China economist at Macquarie Securities Ltd. in Hong Kong, told Bloomberg.
- Kingdom Holding Co., the investment company owned by Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, reported a massive $8.26 billion fourth-quarter loss. "The loss is phenomenal. This is the biggest corporate story for Saudi Arabia in many years," John Sfakianakis, chief economist at Saudi British Bank, told Bloomberg.
- Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. said yesterday (Tuesday) that it plans to cut 800 jobs, or 10%, of its global workforce, as the company struggles with the current recession. "We are very sad to announce that based on the global economic situation and current business forecasts, the studio will have to make staff reductions in the coming weeks in order to control costs," Barry Meyer, chairman and chief executive, and Alan Horn, president of the studio said in a statement.
- Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) yesterday (Tuesday) reported a 14% increase in fourth-quarter profit. The company earned $2.71 billion, or 97 cents per share, up from $2.37 billion, or 82 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. However, revenue fell 4.9% to $15.18 billion from $15.96 billion — the first drop since 2004. Excluding charges and gains, J&J earned 94 cents a share.
- Rohm and Haas Co. (ROH) yesterday (Tuesday) said it would cut 900 jobs, or 5.5% of its workforce. The company plans to adjust production schedules in certain manufacturing facilities, reducing sales and marketing positions and freezing discretionary spending and employee salaries, Reuters reported.
- Google Inc. (GOOG) said yesterday (Tuesday) that it would end its Print Ads program on February 28, Reuters reported. The program was intended to create a new revenue stream for newspapers, but was not having the desired impact and fell by the wayside as Google retrenched amid the current global downturn.