UBS annual profits soar to $4.9 billion

UBS’ net income for the whole of 2018 was still up 25 percent from the previous year. (Reuters)
Updated 22 January 2019
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UBS annual profits soar to $4.9 billion

  • UBS had seen its 2017 results hammered by US tax reforms
  • Net income for the whole of 2018 was still up 25 percent from the previous year

ZURICH: Swiss banking giant UBS saw its net profits leap by almost five times last year to $4.9 billion (€4.3 billion) despite “challenging conditions,” it said Tuesday.

UBS’ 2017 results were hammered by US tax reforms that forced banks that operate in the United States to book substantial one-time losses in the final quarter of that year, but which were expected to be mostly favorable beyond that.

Excluding the impact of changes in US tax laws, UBS net income for 2018 as a whole was still up by 25 percent from the previous year.

“I want to thank all UBS employees for a very successful 2018 in overall challenging conditions,” chief executive Sergio P. Ermotti said in a statement.

He underscored geopolitical tensions, increased protectionism and trade friction, and financial market volatility, all of which weighed on investor sentiment in the second half of the year.

“We’ve seen some normalization in markets early in 2019, we will stay focused on balancing efficiency and investments for growth, in order to keep delivering on our capital return objectives while creating sustainable long-term value for our shareholders,” Ermotti said.

Commenting on the fourth quarter 2018, he added: “The strength of our strategic choices and diversified franchise once again came through ... as we delivered a resilient performance despite historically tough market conditions.”

Net profit in the quarter came to $696 million, below an average analyst forecast compiled by the Swiss agency AWP, of $751 million.

Transactions by clients in the Americas and Asia Pacific region slumped, with the investment bank unit posting a plunge of 84 percent in pre-tax operating profit owing to a difficult market environment.


Samsung delays Galaxy Fold media events in China

Updated 22 April 2019
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Samsung delays Galaxy Fold media events in China

  • Instead of plaudits ahead of the phone’s launch on April 26 in the US, Samsung has instead received brickbats
  • The hashtag #foldgate trended on Twitter because of the smartphone issues

SEOUL: Smartphone maker Samsung postponed media events for its Galaxy Fold planned for this week in Hong Kong and Shanghai, a company official said, days after reviewers of the foldable handset reported defective samples.
The official did not elaborate on reasons or rescheduling.
Instead of plaudits ahead of the phone’s launch on April 26 in the United States, the South Korean conglomerate has been blighted by technology journalists reporting breaks, bulges and blinking screens after using their samples for as little as a day.
Samsung said it received “a few” reports of damage to the displays of samples of the $1,980 handset, raising the specter of the combustible Galaxy Note 7 three years ago which the firm ultimately pulled from shelves at massive cost.
The reviewers’ reports of broken screens went viral online and prompted the creation of hashtag #foldgate on Twitter.
Samsung has hailed the folding design as the future in a field that has seen few surprises since Apple’s iPhone in 2007. Chinese rival Huawei Technologies has also announced a folding handset, the Mate X.
The Samsung official on Monday said it had no change to its previously announced release date in the United States.
It plans to begin South Korean and European sales in May, and Chinese sales from an undisclosed date.