Company news in brief

09 April 2018 | Business

Coincheck bought out by Monex

Japanese online broker Monex Group said Friday it would buy virtual currency exchange Coincheck, which was hit by a massive hack that saw thieves steal hundreds of millions of dollars in virtual currency.

The decision came after Coincheck refunded more than US$440 million to its 260 000 customers who lost their holdings of NEM, a leading cryptocurrency, following the hack.

Monex said in a statement it will acquire all of the 1.78 million shares of Coincheck for 3.6 billion yen (US$34 million).

Japan's Financial Services Agency last month ordered five cryptocurrency exchanges, including Coincheck, to make improvements to their business operations, while slapping two exchanges with suspension orders.

Japan is a major centre for virtual currencies and as many as 10,000 businesses in Japan are thought to accept bitcoin. – Nampa/AFP

Samsung Electronics flags record profit

Samsung Electronics flagged Friday a first-quarter operating profit of 15.6 trillion won (US$14.7 billion), a record for any three-month period, as it benefited from soaring demand for its memory chips for mobile devices.

Sales for January to March are expected to reach 60 trillion won, the world's largest maker of smartphones and memory chips said in an earnings forecast.

This marks the fourth straight quarter in which the South Korean tech firm has beaten its record operating profit.

First-quarter operating profit was up nearly 60% from the same period a year ago, while sales jumped by 19%.

The South Korean company has seen profits soar over the past year thanks to solid demand for memory chips for mobile devices, which has helped offset shrinking profits from its own mobile production. – Nampa/AFP

Monsanto misses profit estimates

Monsanto Co on Thursday reported weaker-than-expected earnings for a second straight quarter, saying its corn business dropped as US farmers planted fewer acres this spring, while low crop prices continued to drag the sector.

The world's biggest seed company, in the process of being acquired by Germany's Bayer AG, missed analysts' quarterly profit estimates. Weakness in the corn business also was due to timing, as a cold spring in the United States delayed seed shipments, said Bernstein senior analyst Jonas Oxgaard.

Sales in the corn seeds and traits business dropped 6.2% to US$2.72 billion during the second quarter ended Feb. 28. Soybean business sales rose 6% to US$912 million, Monsanto said.

The results come the day after China slapped an aggressive 25% retaliatory tariff against US soybeans.

Monsanto said it was "optimistic" the Bayer deal would close, and added that the companies have seen "solid progress." – Nampa/Reuters

Roche seals takeover of Flatiron

Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche on Friday said it has completed its acquisition of US oncology data leader Flatiron Health, a tech upstart that has runs a huge platform of cancer patient records.

Under the deal, biotech leader Roche will buy Flatiron for US$1.9 billion, according to a statement from the Swiss group, which already owns 12.6% of the US company.

Based in New York and with an office in San Francisco, Flatiron says it runs a huge platform with over two million patient records available for research by specialists, with over 2 500 oncology practitioners who use its data.

The platform is designed to allow cancer experts to come up with more personalised treatments for their patients.

The group's founders, Nat Turner and Zach Weinberg, created Flatiron after Google bought their previous company. – Nampa/AFP

BlackRock to exclude Walmart over guns

BlackRock will block Walmart and other large retailers that sell guns from some investment vehicles in response to rising demand from socially minded clients, the giant asset manager announced Thursday.

BlackRock said a number of new funds will screen for major gun retailers as well as gun manufacturers. The company also plans to review several existing equity and bond exchange trade funds.

The aim is "offering our clients more choice of products that exclude firearms manufacturers and/or retailers," BlackRock said Thursday.

The announcement is the latest in the wake of public clamour for action on guns following a February 14 school shooting in Florida that left 17 people dead.

BlackRock said the new policies were in keeping with a pledge last month to meet the needs of clients who do not want to invest in firearms. – Nampa/AFP

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