1 Samsung expects record profit (BBC) Samsung Electronics expects to deliver record profits for the last three months of 2017, but the estimate missed analyst expectations. The world’s biggest memory chip maker forecast operating earnings of 15.1 trillion won ($14.1bn) – up 64% from a year earlier.
But while chip prices boosted margins, a stronger won weighed on the figures. The record guidance comes despite a corruption scandal engulfing top leadership at the South Korean firm. The forecast keeps Samsung on track for record annual profits, in a year when prices for computer memory chips kept surging.
But the 2018 outlook is less certain, with Samsung shares having fallen nearly 10% from their all-time high in November, as some investors bet on an end to the chip boom. Meanwhile, the market for smartphones and other mobile devices is facing increasing competition from Chinese rivals.
Samsung Electronics is regarded as the jewel in the crown of the Samsung Group conglomerate, which is made up of 60 interlinked companies and is one of South Korea’s massive family-run businesses known as chaebols.
2 Venezuela inflation goes through roof (San Francisco Chronicle) Venezuela’s opposition-controlled legislature has said that inflation in the economically struggling nation reached a staggering 2,600 percent last year.
The figures underline the problems besetting Venezuela, where food, medicines and other basic goods are in extremely short supply. There have been recent instances of looting reported across the country.
Venezuela sits atop the world’s largest oil reserves, but low production by the state oil monopoly and the global drop in crude prices has thrown the Latin American country into crisis. The government of socialist President Nicolas Maduro has released no official economic figures.
3 Record year for private equity companies (Khaleej Times) The global private equity industry raised a record $453 billion from investors in 2017, leaving it with more than $1 trillion to pour into companies and new business ventures, data from industry tracker Preqin showed.
The figures underscore the extent to which large institutional investors, as well as family offices, are placing a growing portion of their money with leveraged buyout firms, venture capital groups and growth equity funds, which are promising returns that beat the wider stock market.
The money raised in 2017 surpassed the previous landmark of $414 billion set in 2007. Private equity firms are also showing an increasing appetite for taking non-controlling positions in companies, which expands the field of possible investments.