Solar: China escapes steep tariffs
The Obama administration has imposed import duties of as much as 4.73 percent on solar-energy equipment from China, backing a complaint from U.S. solar makers that said their mainland rivals were receiving improper government subsidies. Shares of the Chinese solar companies rallied on the news, as Wall Street had been expecting steeper tariffs. Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst Anthony Kim called the move a “symbolic” gesture, noting that Chinese solar modules are 10 percent cheaper than similar products made elsewhere. Still, the duties may persuade some Chinese companies to shift some production to the U.S.
Nissan: Datsun will ride again
Nissan Motor plans to revive its Datsun brand, which it phased out in 1981, to boost sales in developing markets. In 2014 the Japanese automaker will introduce two Datsun models in Russia, India, and Indonesia and expects the marque to account for as much as half its sales there by 2017. Nissan, which gets half its revenue from Japan and the U.S., needs to rev up sales in emerging markets to reach its goal of boosting its share of the global market to 8 percent within five years, up from 5.8 percent in its last fiscal year.
Apple: After 17 years, a dividend
Apple will pay its first dividend and buy back $10 billion in stock, heeding investors who urged it to return part of the $97.6 billion in cash it has amassed. Shareholders will receive a quarterly dividend of $2.65 a share starting in the period beginning July 1, the company announced on March 19. The buybacks will begin in the fiscal year starting Sept. 30 and happen over three years. The move, which will cost $45 billion, may broaden Apple’s shareholder base by attracting funds managers who only hold dividend-paying stocks.
Kraft: A new name for a new chapter
Kraft Foods has chosen a new name for the global snacks business it’s spinning off later this year: Mondelez International. Pronounced “Mohn-dah-LEEZ,” the name combines a derivation of the Latin word for “world” and an expression meant to evoke the word “delicious,” according to a statement. The Northfield (Ill.) company bucked the trend of hiring outside consultants to conjure up a moniker. Instead, it chose “Mondelez” from among 1,700 suggestions made by more than 1,000 employees.
Disney: A Martian massacre
Walt Disney says the box-office bomb John Carter will post a loss of about $200 million, possibly the biggest ever for a single film. The flop will cause the film division to report a fiscal second-quarter operating loss of $80 million to $120 million, Disney says. John Carter, about a Civil War veteran transported to Mars, cost an estimated $250 million to produce, according to Box Office Mojo. (Marketing is on top of that.) Since opening on March 9, the movie has brought $184 million in worldwide ticket sales, but that revenue is shared with theaters.