Ford vehicles on the assembly line at the Dearborn Assembly Plant in 1954.
Ford vehicles on the assembly line at the Dearborn Assembly Plant in 1954.

Ford beats earnings expectations but warns on North America

DEARBORN — Ford Motor’s fourth-quarter earnings beat Wall Street expectations and the company reiterated a forecast that 2016 pretax profit would be equal to or higher than last year. But it cautioned again that profit margins in its North American business in 2016 may not equal the 10.2% achieved in 2015.

Excluding one-time items, Ford earned 58c per share in the fourth quarter, versus Wall Street expectations of 51c, according to Thomson Reuters IBES.

Ford disappointed investors earlier this month with a 2016 profit outlook that called for pretax profits excluding special items to be "equal to or greater than" the $10.8bn reported for 2015. Analysts had expected pretax profit of $11bn for 2016, on average.

Ford said earlier this month it will pay a special dividend of $1bn.


Honda profit falls on exploding airbag costs

TOKYO — Honda on Friday reported a fall in nine-month operating profit due to "quality-related costs", seen as linked to an exploding airbag crisis at parts supplier Takata, but said net profit rose.

Net profit in the nine months to end-December rose 2.4% to ¥437.9bn ($3.62bn) as sales jumped 11.3% to ¥10.94-trillion. Operating profit fell 3% to ¥567.2bn, "due to an increase in sales costs, including quality-related ones", Honda said, trimming its full-year sales forecast to ¥14.55-trillion from the previous ¥14.6-trillion.


Toyota to buy rest of Daihatsu

TOKYO — Toyota Motor said on Friday it would buy out the rest of minivehicle maker Daihatsu Motor, a move that will help it leverage the lower-cost brand better.

The world’s largest car maker owns 51.2% of Daihatsu, which had the weakest sales performance in the Toyota group last year, lagging behind the Toyota and Lexus brands and truck maker Hino Motors Ltd.

Toyota had flagged the move earlier this week.


Sony swings to $1.95bn profit as PlayStation sales soar

TOKYO — Sony on Friday posted a nine-month net profit of $1.95bn as strong sales of its PlayStation games console and image sensors found in mobile gadgets help it move past years of losses.

Japan’s consumer electronics sector has faced fierce competition from lower-cost rivals from South Korea and Taiwan.

In a sign things are on the upswing, Sony said on Friday its net profit came in at ¥236.1bn ($1.95 billion) for the April-December period, reversing a ¥19.2bn loss a year earlier. Operating profit more than doubled to ¥387.1bn, while sales edged up 0.1% to ¥6.28-trillion.

In November Sony said sales of its PlayStation 4 video game consoles topped 30-million units worldwide.

On Tuesday, the company said it was moving its PlayStation business to Silicon Valley and consolidating its game console offerings under one roof.


James Murdoch rejoins Sky as chairman

LONDON — Sky said James Murdoch, son of founder Rupert Murdoch, would take over as chairman, returning to the European pay-TV group as it reported a better than expected 12% rise in profit, helped by a record number of new customers.

The company posted operating profit of £747m on revenue up 5% to £5.7bn for the six months to end-December.

It said on Friday 337,000 new customers joined Sky in the second quarter, its highest UK and Ireland customer growth for 10 years.


Apple recalls wall plug adapters

SAN FRANCISCO — Apple on Thursday announced a recall of 12 years’ worth of wall plug adapters it sold outside the US, warning of the risk of electric shock.

The recall was sparked by the danger of the two-prong AC wall plug adapters breaking and shocking people who touch them, the California-based technology giant said in an online post.

Apple said it was aware of 12 incidents worldwide involving the adapters.

The units targeted in the recall were designed for use in Argentina, Brazil, much of Europe, New Zealand and South Korea. They were sold with Mac computers, Apple mobile gadgets and in an Apple World Travel Adapter Kit between 2003 and 2015.

Apple did not specify the number of adapters at issue, but it could be high given the 12-year span and the popularity of the company’s devices.

The recall did not affect Apple power adapters tailored for Canada, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Britain or the US.


Suspects held in China fraud probe at CITIC Bank

BEIJING — Chinese police have detained suspects as part of a fraud investigation over bill financing business at Citic Bank, Xinhua news agency said on Friday.

The bank confirmed on Thursday that it had discovered fraud involving 969-million yuan ($147.39m) in funds illicitly drawn from its bill financing business.

Citic Bank’s spokeswoman declined to immediately.