Financial

MiX Telematics sales up 20% on contract extensions, new deals

South Africa’s MiX Telematics has reported impressive results for the first half of the year, boosted by the extension of existing contracts and new deals in Europe and Australasia.

The telematics vendor, which specializes in driver safety, vehicle tracking and fleet management, said revenues were up 20.3%, year on year, to 564 million rand ($64 million), while operating profits soared 60.8% to 76 million rand.

Exclusive: Google Ventures beefs up fund size to $300 million a year

Reuters

Google will increase the cash it allocates to its venture-capital arm to up to $300 million a year from $200 million, catapulting Google Ventures into the top echelon of corporate venture-capital funds.

Access to that sizeable checkbook means Google Ventures (Mountain View, USA) will be able to invest in more later-stage financing rounds, which tend to be in the tens of millions of dollars or more per investor.

Telus profit lifted by wireless; dividend raised

Reuters

Telus Corp reported a stronger third-quarter profit on Friday, as increased smartphone adoption boosted earnings from its wireless business and spurred the Canadian telecom company to raise its quarterly dividend.

Wireless data revenue jumped 23 percent in the third quarter ended September 30 as the proportion of postpaid subscribers using smartphones rose to 63 percent, from 48 percent a year earlier.

The Vancouver-based company, one of Canada's largest telecom players, raised its quarterly dividend to 64 Canadian cents a share, from 61 Canadian cents.

Egypt's Sawiris considering Telecom Italia investment

Egyptian telecoms tycoon Naguib Sawiris has reportedly offered to spend as much as €5 billion ($6.4 billion) on a stake in Telecom Italia, Italy’s debt-ridden telecoms incumbent, according to a report in Italy’s Il Corriere della Sera newspaper.

Citing sources close to the matter, the Italian daily reports that Franco Bernabe, the Italian operator’s chief executive, has put the offer before the board.

AT&T to boost annual spending 16 percent to $22 billion

Reuters

AT&T Inc will boost capital spending by about 16 percent to $22 billion a year for the next three years to upgrade its wireless and wireline networks, the company said on Wednesday.

Its shares fell more than 3 percent after the news.

Rival Verizon Communications Inc (New York, USA) is ahead in high-speed mobile services, and AT&T (Dallas, USA) also must improve rural phone lines, comprised of outdated copper technology.

Bharti Airtel profits drop 30% as 3G disappoints

Bharti Airtel reported declining profits for the eleventh consecutive quarter as tax and depreciation costs eroded its revenue gains.

The operator flagged up a 17% year-on-year increase in third-quarter revenues, to 202.73 billion rupees ($3.74 billion), boosted by the addition of more than 25 million customers over the past year.

But net income dropped 30%, to 7.21 billion rupees, due to rising costs and the underperformance of its African operations.

Telefonica turns profitable as revenues shrink

After reporting losses a year earlier, Spain’s Telefonica entered profitable territory last quarter, with net income of €1.38 billion ($1.77 billion), while chipping away at its mountain of debt.

The company had reported losses of €429 million in the third quarter of 2011, largely due to expenses incurred as a result of laying off thousands of workers in its domestic market.

It also managed to lower its net debt by €2.3 billion, to €56 billion, and anticipates a further reduction of €3.2 billion, following several divestments and the IPO of Telefonica Deutschland.

Ericsson to cut near 9% of Swedish staff amid downturn

Reuters

Ericsson is to cut 1,550 staff in Sweden as the world's biggest maker of mobile phone networks aims to drive down costs in an industry facing a global slowdown.

Competition has pushed down telecom gear prices while global economic weakness has led to slower spending by operators, pressuring vendors in the industry.

In the third quarter, Ericsson's core profit fell 42 percent due to slower orders and a shift in business mix to less profitable contracts. The company said then it would focus on cost cuts.

Plexus loses Juniper's business, shares tumble

Reuters

Contract electronics manufacturer Plexus Corp said it would no longer make switches and network gear for its largest customer, Juniper Networks Inc, sending its shares down 24 percent after the bell.

Juniper (Sunnyvale, USA) said it was cutting the number of suppliers it uses and an analyst said price may have been an issue.

Plexis (Neenah, USA) did not give a reason for the contract loss but is expected to discuss the development in a conference call scheduled for Wednesday morning at 8 a.m. Eastern.

Ericsson to cut Swedish staff as downturn bites

Reuters

Telecoms gear maker Ericsson said on Wednesday it would cut 1,550 staff in Sweden as it looks to drive down costs, with the majority of layoffs coming in its underperforming networks unit.

In the third quarter, Ericsson's (Stockholm, Sweden) core profit fell 42 percent due to slower orders and a shift in business mix to less profitable contracts and the company said it would focus on cost cuts.

It gave no details of how the job cuts would affect annual costs. The company has nearly 18,000 employees in Sweden.

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