Monday, November 28, 2011

Air Arabia reports solid performance for 3Q

Air Arabia, the first and largest low-cost carrier (LCC) in the Middle East and North Africa, announced today its financial results for the three months ending September 30, 2011, demonstrating sustainable profitability during the third quarter of this year.

Air Arabia’s net profit for the three months ending September 30, 2011, which was in line with analyst forecasts, stood at AED 100 million, a decline of 26 per cent compared to AED 136 million in the corresponding period in 2010. In the third quarter of this year, Air Arabia posted a turnover of AED 691 million, an increase of 22 per cent compared to AED 568 million in the same period of 2010.

The airline served 1,199,973 passengers in the third quarter of 2011, an increase of five per cent compared to 1,147,066 passengers in the same period last year. In the three months ending September 30, 2011, Air Arabia’s average seat load factor – or passengers carried as a percentage of available seats – stood at an impressive 81 per cent.

“Air Arabia is pleased to announce such solid financial performance despite continued challenging market conditions,” said Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al Thani, Chairman of Air Arabia. “Air Arabia’s sustained quarterly profits, high seat load factor and rising passenger traffic reflect the appeal of our services and demonstrates the strength of Air Arabia’s business model.

“The challenging markets conditions we have seen in the second quarter of this year continued in the third quarter, with a further escalation in the political turmoil in several countries and an upward trend in the average fuel bill. Despite these challenging market conditions, Air Arabia’s solid profits and steady growth reflect the airline’s commercial and operational strength.

“After crossing the 20-million passenger mark in the third quarter of 2011, we would like to thank all our customers for choosing to fly with Air Arabia. We look forward to serving many more passengers in the months and years to come.”

In the third quarter of 2011, Air Arabia took delivery of two new A320 aircraft from Airbus. The latest Airbus A320 arrived on schedule from the Airbus facility in Toulouse, France, marking the delivery of a total of six out of 44 A320 aircraft ordered in 2007.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Luxury jeweller Chow Tai Fook in mega Hong Kong listing

Its shops are a familiar presence on the streets of many Chinese cities, catering to the region's love of bling - be it spinach-coloured jade pendants, buttery gold wedding bracelets or dazzling diamond rings - but the name is unlikely to register far outside its home market.

The company's global anonymity looks set to disappear as the world's biggest jeweller prepares for what could be one of the world's biggest stock market flotations this year.

It is reportedly seeking to raise up to $3.5bn (£2.2bn; 2.5bn euro) via a Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO), which will likely take place early next month.

It is hoping that investors worldwide will be enticed by the opportunity to tap the growing appetite for luxury goods among China's newly rich.

"It is a very big brand in Hong Kong and it has really built up its network in China over the past few years and is increasingly popular there," said Ben Kwong, chief operating officer at securities firm KGI Asia.

Jewellery sales have been growing at 40% a year in China since 2008 and are a key part of the luxury goods market in China, which is expected to be worth $100bn (£64bn; 74bn euro) by 2020, according to brokerage group CLSA.

Chinese tastes
Chow Tai Fook also caters specifically to Chinese tastes, both with its line of products and customer service.

There is less of the silver and white gold jewellery popular in Europe and the US, but plenty of the high-karat yellow gold used to make traditional Chinese wedding jewellery and vivid green jade pendants that many Chinese believe offer health benefits to the wearer.

Diamonds are also a big part of their business.

Last year, the company purchased the world's most expensive rough diamond for a record-breaking $35.3m (£23.2m; 26m euro).

A Chow Tai Fook store in Hong Kong's Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district was busy one recent weekday afternoon.

Customers, mainly from mainland China, tried on diamond rings and gold bracelets.

Staff were attentive, offering jasmine tea in paper cups and presenting name cards to each prospective customer.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Corporate business secrets getting leaked on social media websites

NEW DELHI: Corporate espionage has been made easy by social networking websites as a well-devised strategy can result in the leak of valuable business secrets by employees and ex-employees, according to a study by Cyberoam, the security vertical of IT company Elitecore Technology.

"You just need to get into the social network of the company, worse still, you just need to be an Internet search expert to get information that required ages to find," Cyberoam Senior Vice-President for Product Management Abhilash Sonwane told PTI.

He added that by tracking the social networking activities of employees and ex-employees, an intangible set of information about the company -- such as core values, hierarchy, communication patterns, industry environment and employee morale -- can be derived without having to physically enter the organisation.

"Besides the intangibles, the tangible information such as intellectual property, financial information or even trade secrets can be available by monitoring the organisation's social presence," Sonwane said.

Cyberoam conducted a study early this year and selected a random set of 20 small and medium companies and tried to find out what could be derived from their social media and networking presence.

The 20 organisations included eight from the USA, four from India, two from Germany, seven from the UK and a couple from Singapore and Australia.

These firms belonged to the IT, manufacturing, pharma and PR, banking and financial institutions, consultancies and even media and entertainment industry, Sonwane said.

"We could find out information like the employees were not getting their salaries on time, there were cash flow issues in the organisation, salary checks were bouncing. As a result, the employees were looking for new jobs," he said.

Cyberoam extracted and collaged information from linkedin status updates, interactions on Facebook and by following the Twitter accounts of employees.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dell expects disk drive shortage to hurt revenue

Dell is likely to be hampered for a couple quarters by an industry-wide shortage of computer storage drives resulting from the recent flooding in Thailand, the computer maker said Tuesday.

Dell predicted full-year revenue near the low end of the guidance it issued in August, which called for revenue growth of 1 percent to 5 percent over 2010 and was in turn a reduction from a previous forecast.

Dell Inc. cited the uncertain economy, as well as the disk drive shortage. The Thai flood waters, which started spreading in August, are now receding, but they closed many of Thailand's tech-related factories, including a bevy that produce a critical component of personal computers: hard disk drives.

During a conference call with analysts to discuss the company's third-quarter results and outlook, Dell's executive leading manufacturing, procurement and the supply chain, as well as PC engineering, design and development, said the "complexity" of the situation makes it hard to determine the scope and length of hard drive shortages. Jeff Clarke said this means the industry must keep an eye on how it's allocating its resources "at least" throughout the first quarter of next year.

"Our goal is to mitigate any impact to our customers in Dell, and our teams will be working throughout the quarter to do just that," he said.

The shortages come as the personal computer industry already is dealing with decreased demand. Sales have slowed, particularly in the U.S. and Europe, because debt and unemployment fears and the growing popularity of tablet computers have led many consumers delay replacing PCs. In addition, the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan hurt supplies of memory chips.

Hewlett-Packard Co. plans to report Monday on how it fared during the most recent quarter and this should offer more insight into the performance of computer makers overall.

Dell's forecast, lowered in August from a previous estimate of 5 percent to 9 percent growth, translates to $62.1 billion to $64.6 billion. Analysts expect $62.6 billion in revenue.

Also Tuesday, Dell said that its third-quarter net income rose 9 percent though revenue remained flat from last year as the computer maker continued pruning less profitable parts of its business.

For the quarter that ended Oct. 28, Dell earned $893 million, or 49 cents per share. This compares with $822 million, or 42 cents per share, in the same quarter in 2010.

Excluding one-time items, the Round Rock, Texas-based company said Tuesday that it earned 54 cents per share. This is 8 cents higher than what analysts polled by FactSet expected.

Revenue was flat at $15.4 billion — lower than the $16.2 billion analysts expected.

Dell's revenue from large corporations rose 4 percent to $4.5 billion, while its revenue from consumers fell 6 percent to $2.8 billion. Revenue from the public sector fell 2 percent to $4.4 billion, and revenue from small- and medium-sized businesses inched up 1 percent to $3.7 billion.

Brian Gladden, Dell's chief financial officer, said several parts of the company, including its consumer and public sector businesses, felt "challenging demand dynamics" during the quarter.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Euro NCAP crash test: 5 stars for the BMW 1 Series

Now in its second generation, the BMW 1 Series is once again the undisputed benchmark for driving dynamics in the compact vehicle segment. Just a few weeks after its market launch it has now been officially certified as a perfect role model in the area of safety.

On the current Euro NCAP crash test, the new BMW 1 Series achieved the top score of 5 stars. After analysis of all the data collected in the course of extensive testing procedures, the testers officially confirmed that the new BMW compact model provides outstanding occupant protection over a range of different collision types.

In addition, the car’s pedestrian protection and its numerous standard safety fittings also attracted a positive rating. Among other things, the new BMW 1 Series can be fitted with the extended emergency call including automatic position finding and accident severity identification – the BMW Assist Advanced eCall. BMW received the special Euro NCAP Advanced Award for this BMW ConnectedDrive service a year ago.

The current Euro NCAP crash test determined the risk of injury as a result of a frontal impact and side impact collision as well as on the so-called side-impact pole crash. In all scenarios the new BMW 1 Series provided both driver and passengers with extensive protection from injury, regardless of their height or seating position. The test verdict on child safety was also positive.

The BMW 1 Series was said to offer excellent protection on both the front impact and the side impact tests. In conjunction with seat systems for children aged three and one and a half, the test dummies with mounted sensors registered a stable position and reduced head movement at the moment of impact.

The effective seat occupant protection in the new BMW 1 Series is the result of an integrated safety concept which includes not just an extremely torsionally stiff passenger cell but also large-format deformation zones and precisely defined bearing structures to absorb and dissipate the forces which take effect when an accident occurs. The new BMW 1 Series is fitted as standard with front airbags, side airbags integrated in the backrests, head airbags for the front and back seats, three-point automatic seatbelts on all seats, belt force limiters and belt tensioners at the front and ISOFIX children’s seat attachments at the rear. It also features the driving stability system DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) and a Run Flat Indicator.

The Euro NCAP crash test attaches particular importance to pedestrian protection, and this has been optimised in the new BMW 1 Series by such elements as selectively modelled body elements with yielding structures on the front of the vehicle. The testers awarded maximum points to the design of the front bumpers in particular, as well as for those elements of the front section which are relevant to the risk of head injury to children in the event of a collision.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

World's most expensive ring

If you’re an aging bachelor and billionaire looking to wed someone half your age, you may want to look into expensive engagement rings. One such individual’s proposal to an ex-model involved a $1.5 million engagement ring. That may seem way out there, but it’s not even close to the most expensive ring in the world.

The Chopard Blue Diamond Ring is the ring that makes any other diamond ring look bad. Set with an enormous, oval-shaped blue diamond, the expensive ring also has diamond shoulders and an 18k white gold band paved with diamonds.

Blue diamond is among the most expensive diamonds in the world. It is found among boron deposits, from whence it derives its shade. This particular gem weighs in at nine carats.

The world’s most expensive ring is valued at $16.26 million, enough to put a dent in the wallets of even the wealthiest individuals.

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All of us need to reward ourselves over a time for the stress toll taken both physically and mentally by us. One of the best ways to chill out is to take a vacation and here are some amazing worldwide vacation rentals you can consider booking for your vacations