Business News - part 40

2012 Record Year For Budget Airline Ryanair

2012 Record Year For Budget Airline Ryanair

BUSINESS

  • Ryanair sees record profit growth of 13%
  • Airline filling 82% of seats; fuel largest expense
  • If Ryanair meets growth forecasts for 2013-2014, it could become Europe’s best-performing airline 

Budget airline Ryanair had record profit of $729 million for the fiscal year ending March 31, marking a 13% increase over the previous year.

Sales for the Ireland-based airline increased 13% to $6.3 billion, reflecting a 6% rise in average ticket prices. Despite the Eurozone debt crisis, the recession and a number of extra charges, the airline has successfully competed against higher-cost rivals.

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Google Newest Addition To Streaming Music Service Providers

Google Newest Addition To Streaming Music Service Providers

BUSINESS

  • Google subscription streaming music service to compete with Spotify, Pandora and Apple
  • Google’s monthly subscription fee in line with Spotify, more expensive than Pandora
  • Streaming service part of Google efforts to “sell an ecosystem”

Search engine giant Google has launched a subscription streaming music service called “Google Play Music All Access” that offers an unlimited number of songs for a monthly fee.

Users of Google’s new streaming service can customize songs from 22 different music genres or create a modifiable stream that will act as a personalized radio station. While the service will first be available in the US, it will eventually hit the international stage.

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Automobile Industry Update: European Union Car Sales Up 1.7%

Automobile Industry Update: European Union Car Sales Up 1.7%

BUSINESS

  • New car sales growth in Europe for April 2013 marks first increase since September 2011; may be sign of recovery
  • Seasonal factors may have skewed sales
  • Sales vary by region, manufacturer

In April 2013, new car sales in the European Union grew 1.7% over the same time last year to total 1.04 million vehicles says the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), possibly indicating the industry might slowly be making a recovery. 

This is the first increase the European automobile industry has seen since September 2011.

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US Airlines Top $6 Billion In Baggage, Reservation Fees

US Airlines Top $6 Billion In Baggage, Reservation Fees

BUSINESS

  • 2012 fees highest on record, up 5% from 2011
  • $3.5 billion charged for checked luggage; $2.6 billion for reservation changes
  • Fees expected to jump again this summer

The ten largest US airlines brought in $6.1 billion in baggage and reservation change fees in 2012, marking the highest amount on record says the Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

The figure is more than a 5% increase from 2011.

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US Retail Unexpectedly Up 0.1% in April

US Retail Unexpectedly Up 0.1% in April

BUSINESS

  • Consumer confidence growing in US
  • Spending influenced by drop in gasoline prices, low interest rates and rise in both stock/property value
  • Consumer spending accounts for 30% of economy; household spending accounts for 70%

Economists had expected the US economy to fall 0.3% in April, but instead it grew 0.1%, after falling 0.5% in March, suggesting consumer confidence is growing, the Commerce Department said.

This marks the second time in three months the American economy has grown.

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Smartphone Shipments Surpass Feature Phones For First Time

Smartphone Shipments Surpass Feature Phones For First Time

BUSINESS

  • Smartphones represent 52% of phone shipments in first quarter 2013
  • Smartphone market up 42% since 2012
  • Samsung industry leader by shipments numbers

Shipments of smartphones hit nearly 52% during the first quarter of 2013 says research firm IDC, marking the first time smartphones have been the most popular type of mobile phone. In total, some 419 million cell phones were shipped in the first quarter of 2013, including more than 216 million smartphones.

Overall shipments increased 4% compared to 2012, but were lower than the 483 million phones shipped in the fourth quarter of 2012. During the fourth quarter, 227.8 million smartphone were shipped, or 5.1% more than in the first quarter of 2013.

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IBM Profits Fall Short of Analysts’ Predictions For First Time In 8 Years

IBM Profits Fall Short of Analysts’ Predictions For First Time In 8 Years

BUSINESS

  • Sales “execution problem” cited as major contributing factor
  • First quarter 2013 marks IBM’s first significant drop in revenue growth, a decline of 5%
  • Analysts speculate IBM’s troubles indicate a general trend toward cloud computing

International Business Machines Corp.’s (IBM’s) earnings failed to meet analyst estimates for the first time since 2005. IBM previously seemed recession proof, regularly superseding Wall Street forecasts, thanks to saving measures (e.g., selling off unprofitable business, buying its own shares) and progression toward offerings yielding higher profits.

Analysts are uncertain of whether or not IBM’s challenges are temporary or indefinite. IBM’s chief financial officer Mark Loughridge stated that some software and mainframe deals had not closed as expected, but cited a sales “execution problem” as the major factor in the quarter’s weak finish. 

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Automaker Daimler Hit By Poor Performance In Europe, China

Automaker Daimler Hit By Poor Performance In Europe, China

BUSINESS

Daimler AG, the world’s third-largest maker of luxury vehicles and the world’s largest truck maker, has revised its forecast for 2013 after first-quarter earnings fell more than expected due to poor performance in Europe and China.

Two months ago, earnings were forecast to meet $10.6 billion, but earnings before interest and taxes fell 56% during first quarter, with net profit at $697 million and sales down 3%.

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Facebook To Build Data Center in Iowa for $1.5 Billion

Facebook To Build Data Center in Iowa for $1.5 Billion

BUSINESS

  • New 1.4 million-square-foot data center said to be "the most technologically advanced data center in the world"
  • Facility to be completed in phases and will cost Facebook $1.5 billion to complete
  • Facebook to seek tax credits for wind energy production used for data center

Social media network giant Facebook has gotten approval from Altoona (Iowa) city council to build a 1.4 million-square-foot data center that officials are calling "the most technologically advanced data center in the world."

The data center will store data and digital information such as Facebook status updates and photos; Facebook operates approximately 180,000 servers at the moment.

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FAA Approves Boeing Dreamliner To Resume Flights

FAA Approves Boeing Dreamliner To Resume Flights

BUSINESS

  • FAA to monitor repairs made to Dreamliners owned by United Airlines
  • Boeing to send teams worldwide to replace battery systems
  • Production flights resume in Australia

The US Federal Aviation Administration has approved Boeing’s plan to replace onboard batteries on its 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

Dreamliners worldwide were grounded Jan. 16 after one battery caught fire and another one melted. The grounding has cost Boeing approximately $600 million.

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