Samsung Electronics is crucial to South Korea’s economic health. It is the flagship subsidiary of the giant Samsung group, by far the largest of the family-controlled conglomerates known as chaebols that dominate business in the world’s 12th-largest economy.Its overall turnover is equivalent to a fifth of the country’s gross domestic product.James Kang, senior analyst at Euromonitor International Korea, said Samsung’s rollout of its latest premium handset devices – the Galaxy Note 20 and the Galaxy Z Fold 2 – in August, coupled with strong sales of mid-range phones, led the firm’s third-quarter performance.A Washington ban on foreign companies providing Huawei with US-origin technology, that came into effect on September 15 – cutting off essential supplies of semiconductors and software needed for making smartphones and 5G equipment – also provided a boost. Samsung Electronics flagged a leap of nearly 60 percent in third-quarter operating profits Thursday, as its mobile and chip business were boosted by United States sanctions against its Chinese rival Huawei.The South Korean tech giant said in an earnings estimate that it expected operating profit to reach 12.3 trillion won (US$10.6 billion) for July to September, up from 7.8 trillion won in the same period last year.The prediction would represent the firm’s biggest operating profit of any quarter for two years and was also ahead of analyst forecasts. Kang Min-soo, an analyst at Counterpoint Research, said US sanctions against Huawei were becoming “a big factor” affecting the global smartphone market.”For Samsung, it will be a good opportunity to increase market share in Europe, where it has been competing with Huawei in various price bands,” he added.The firm’s memory business also benefited from the feud after Huawei rushed to stock up on Samsung-made semiconductors before the US restrictions kicked in.”Huawei has stocked about six months’ worth of extra inventory before the US ban took effect on September 15,” MS Hwang, an analyst at Samsung Securities, told Bloomberg News.”Huawei’s purchases are offsetting weakness in server-use demand and are devouring market inventory, which should affect prices down the road.”‘News lows’But looking forward, analysts said falling chip prices could put a damper on Samsung’s performance in the final quarter of the year.Samsung is the world’s biggest manufacturer of memory chips and led the DRAM market with 43.5-percent share in the April-to-June period, according to market researcher TrendForce.Server DRAM chips enjoyed a boost as the pandemic prompted working from home and online classes – but were now experiencing “significant oversupply”, it said in a report.”Therefore, contract prices of server DRAM products continue to descend to new lows,” it went on, forecasting a 13- to 18-percent drop in the fourth quarter.Adding to Samsung’s challenges, vice-chairman and de facto leader Lee Jae-yong is being retried over a sprawling corruption scandal that could see him return to prison. He is not being held in custody during the proceedings, but a guilty verdict could deprive the firm of its top decision-maker.Despite the optimistic forecast, Samsung Electronics shares were down 0.5 percent in morning trade Thursday.Samsung withholds net profit and sector-by-sector business performance data until it releases its final earnings report, expected later this month. Topics :
Assets under management (AUM) of Austrian pension funds fell by 9.8% in the first quarter of 2020 to € 21.9bn, compared to €24.3bn in the last quarter of last year, mainly due to equity losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report by the Financial Market Authority (FMA).At the end of 2019, total assets managed by company pension schemes amounted to 6.1% of Austria’s GDP.AUM declined by 5.5% quarter-on-quarter in Q1 to €1.9bn for company pensions, and fell by 10.1% for multi-employer pension providers, or überbetriebliche Pensionskassen, to €19.9bn.“The result is bad, but the measures taken by central banks have had an impact, even though now [the situation] is very volatile,” Gerald Moritz, managing director of Moritz Consulting, told IPE. Gerald Moritz, managing director of Moritz ConsultingOn average, the performance for pension funds over the past three years was -0.4%, in the past five years 0.4%, and for the past 10 years it was on average 2.9%.Returns on investments fell by 10% in the first three months of 2020, while over the past 10 years an annual performance of 2.9% was achieved on average, according to the FMA report.Pension funds hold the largest portion of their asset portfolios in bonds (44.03%). Equities make up 29.8% of their asset mix, with 5.42% in real estate. Pension funds manage 96.36% of their assets indirectly through investment funds.The allocation to equity fell by 4.37% in the first quarter of 2020, while bonds saw a minor increase of 0.72%, and real estate assets of 0.73%.“I think the question is the duration of the bond portfolio, so far longer duration has brought positive results but there is also fear of inflation scenarios, and the equity market has partially improved,” Moritz added.The number of participants entitled to pension benefits rose by 0.6% to 874,000 quarter-on-quarter in Q1, with 112,000 people, or 11.4%, already receiving pension benefits from company pension schemes.Five multi-employer pension providers and three single company pension schemes manage the total amount of assets for the country. The number of pension funds has decreased in the last two decades, from a total of 21 in 2005 to eight in the first quarter of 2020.To read the digital edition of IPE’s latest magazine click here. According to the Österreichische Kontrollbank, a credit institute that records quarterly pension funds’ performance, company pension funds saw a returns decrease of 5.9% in Q1, while the performance for multi-employer pension providers fell by 10.4%.Company pension funds’ equity exposure was lower than that of the multi-employer pension providers, but more importantly, company pension funds’ real estate exposure was higher than that of multi-employer pension providers.This is an “essential reason” why Q1 performance figures were substantially better for cpmany pension funds, Moritz said.
German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by GovernmentGerman ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
Patrick Stuebing, who was adopted as an infant and met his sister in his 20s, has launched several appeals since being imprisoned for incest in 2008 and his lengthy legal battle has prompted widespread public debate.Sexual relations between siblings or between parents and their children are forbidden under section 173 of the German criminal code and offenders can face years in prison.But on Wednesday, the German Ethics Council recommended the section be repealed, arguing that the risk of disability in children is not enough to warrant the law and de-criminalising incest would not remove the huge social taboo around it.The chairman of the council, Christiane Woopen, was among the 14 members voting in favour of repealing section 173, while nine people voted for the ban to continue and two abstained.A statement released on Wednesday said: “Incest between siblings appears to be very rare in Western societies according to the available data but those affected describe how difficult their situation is in light of the threat of punishment.http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/german-ethics-council-calls-for-incest-between-siblings-to-be-legalised-by-government-9753506.html The Independent 25 September 2014Germany’s national ethics council has called for an end to the criminalisation of incest between siblings after examining the case of a man who had four children with his sister.