South Korea megacorp chief gets 4-year term
A Seoul court has sentenced the chairman of South Korean conglomerate SK Group to four years in prison for embezzling millions of dollars of company money for personal investments. Seoul Central District Court said Thursday that Chey Tae-won was guilty of embezzling 46.5 billion won ($42.7 million) from two SK Group affiliate companies, which he invested in stock futures and options. Chey had denied the charge. SK Group is South Korea’s third-largest chaebol, or family-controlled conglomerate, with telecoms and energy businesses. The ruling comes after President-elect Park Geun-hye vowed to toughen punishment of crimes by chaebol bosses. Chey received a suspended prison term in 2008 for accounting fraud but was later pardoned by President Lee Myung-bak.
Fall in discretionary spending in India: CS
Indians are cutting down on discretionary purchases such as apparel, electronics and automobiles as consumer optimism in the country is on a decline, according to an emerging markets consumer survey report by Credit Suisse. High inflation and slower growth continues to worry Indian consumers with more people expecting lower salary increases, said the survey, which interviewed 2,602 respondents across 10 cities and rural areas in India. This is in sharp contrast to other fast-growing economies like Indonesia, where the increase in minimum wages is likely to keep consumer sentiment robust, and in China, where sentiment remains strong on the back of purchases by consumers from lower income groups, the report released on Wednesday said. “There are signs of down trading in discretionary items in India. Fewer people are buying smartphones and more now want to buy an entry-level car,” said Arnab Mitra, research analyst with Credit Suisse.
UPS earnings trail Wall Street estimates
United Parcel Service Inc reported fourth-quarter earnings below analysts' estimates and set a weaker-than-expected profit forecast for 2013, sending its shares lower. UPS, the world’s largest package-delivery company, said on Thursday that it expected earnings to rise 6% to 12% in 2013, to $4.80 to $5.06 per share, below the average Wall Street forecast of $5.11. The company posted a fourth-quarter net loss of $1.75 billion, or $1.83 per share, after a $3 billion noncash charge for pension accounting. In the year-earlier period, it earned $725 million, or 74 cents per share. Factoring out one-time and noncash items, the profit came to $1.32 per share, below the analysts' average estimate of $1.38, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Revenue rose