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• On October 7 Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. said that it made $15.5 billion in operating profit in Third Quarter 2018, a 20 percent increase year on year and the highest quarterly profit in Samsung’s history. The company did not provide the breakdown of the results, but analysts attribute the record profit to strong sales in memory chips and higher earnings in Samsung’s display and consumer electronics business which provide screens for a new range of Apple iPhones. Samsung rose 0.6 percent on the day.
• On November 19 Carlos Ghosn, the chairman of automakers Nissan Motor Company Ltd., Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, and Groupe Renault was arrested over claims of serious misconduct. Ghosn was accused of misusing Nissan property and under-reporting his personal salary by about $45 million. Ghosn led turnarounds at Renault and Nissan and oversaw the alliance with Mitsubishi that created the world’s fourth-largest automobile group. The shares of Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Renault dropped by 5.5 percent, 6.9 percent, and 8.4 percent, respectively.
• On December 17 Japanese industrial giant Hitachi Ltd. announced a $6.4 billion deal to buy 80 percent of Swiss-Swedish industrial giant ABB Ltd.’s power grids to build up overseas presence in a market poised for rapid growth. ABB will keep the remaining stake and plans to return as much as $7.8 billion to investors through a buyback or other measures. ABB’s division makes transformers, long distance electricity-transmission systems, and energy storage units. The sale will leave the Swiss- Swedish engineering giant more concentrated on robotics and automation. Hitatchi’s shares fell 2.6 percent while ABB rose 0.5 percent on the news.
• On December 19 the mobile phone unit of Japanese tech giant Softbank had a disappointing debut on the Tokyo stock market. The firm raised as much as ¥2.6 trillion ($23 billion) by selling shares in Japan’s biggest ever stock float and the world’s second largest (after Alibaba raised $25 billion in New York in 2014). The initial public offering (IPO) was oversubscribed but not by as much as hoped. The shares tanked 14.5 percent on the first day of trading.