Morning business round-up: Call for Greece scrutiny

  • Published

What made the business news in Asia and Europe this morning? Here's our daily business round-up:

Eurozone finance ministers have demanded much greater oversight of Greece's economy in return for a 130bn-euro (£110bn; $170bn) bailout package.

In a three-hour conference call on Wednesday, the ministers scrutinised Greece's planned budget cuts.

The single currency bloc praised Greece's "substantial progress", but demanded more detail, including a full timeline for implementing the measures.

A decision on the bailout is expected to be finalised on Monday.

Elsewhere in the eurozone, the Spanish economy has shrunk for the first time in two years, increasing fears the country could be heading for a recession.

The country's economy shrank by 0.3% in the three months to December, after stagnating in the previous quarter.

Household spending fell by 1.1% from the previous quarter, while spending by public bodies dropped by 3.6%.

The country has the highest jobless rate in the EU, with almost one in four people out of work.

In Japan, former Olympus chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa and two other former executives have been arrested as part of the continuing investigations into the camera company.

The firm is being probed for an accounting cover-up after it admitted to hiding $1.7bn (£1bn) in losses over two decades.

Mr Kikukawa resigned in October after the scandal broke out.

Olympus has sued 19 former and current executives over the issue.

Societe Generale has reported a sharp drop in profits after writing off 662m euros (£516m; $808m) of its Greek sovereign debt holdings.

France's second largest bank reported net profits of 100m euros for the three months to the end of December, down 88.6% on a year earlier.

The bank's investment banking division, formerly one of its strongest, reported a loss of 482m euros in the quarter.

Chief executive Frederic Oudea described 2011 as "an extremely turbulent year".

French carmaker Renault has reported a 9% increase in annual sales, helped by rising trade outside Europe.

The firm sold more than 2.72 million vehicles in 2011, bringing in revenues of 42.63bn euros ($55.4bn; £35.3bn).

Renault saw particularly strong sales growth in Russia and Brazil.

Net profit fell 39% to 2.1bn euros, although the previous year's figure had been boosted by a windfall when the firm sold its shares in AB Volvo.

Media caption,

Biz Heads

Australian airline Qantas has said it will close some international routes and cut almost 500 jobs after its profits were hit by an industrial dispute and rising fuel costs.

The carrier made a net profit of 42m Australian dollars ($45m; £29m) for the six months to the end of December.

That was down from A$241m during the same period last year.

The firm said strikes last year cost it A$194m, while its fuel costs surged 26% to A$2.2bn during the period.

Losses at India's Kingfisher Airlines widened 75% in the October to December quarter, raising fresh concerns about the future of the troubled carrier.

The airline made a loss of 4.44bn rupees ($90m; £57m) during the period, compared with 2.54bn rupees a year earlier.

It said high fuel costs and a weak rupee had hurt its earnings.

The carrier has been facing cash flow problems that have led to flights being cancelled and staff leaving the firm.

The latest edition of Business Daily looks at the slow pace of privatisation in Greece. Tim Jenkins has been looking at the privatisation process - and talks to the man in charge of selling Greek government assets.

Around the BBC