In today’s top stories, International Distributions Services has blamed striking workers for Royal Mail’s £1bn loss. Elsewhere, Japanese PM Fumio Kishida met with semiconductor industry leaders to discuss his commitment to making the country a hub for chip manufacturing, while BT Group is to cut as many as 55,000 jobs by the end of 2030; this comes on the heels of rival Vodaphone’s recent layoff announcement. Google has approved plans for advertisers to automate online adverts using generative AI, and shares in Sony gained 7% on news that the electronics giant is considering a partial spinoff and IPO for its financial arm.
Chipmakers boost Japan capacity
Micron Technology [MU] is to invest $3.6bn into advanced memory chip production in Japan, supported by the Japanese government. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met with semiconductor industry leaders Thursday to discuss his commitment to making the country a hub for chip manufacturing. Samsung [005930.KS] is among other chipmakers considering expanding its production in Japan, as the US and its allies seek to limit China’s advanced chip access.
Royal Mail posts £1bn loss
An extended dispute with trade union members has led to a £1bn loss for Royal Mail, according to its parent company, International Distributions Services plc [IDS.L]. Besides the industrial action, a lacklustre online retail market and payouts to redundant employees contributed towards the loss, on £12bn revenue for the year to the end of March. Keith Williams, chair of IDS, said on a call with reporters that Royal Mail “does have a future” within the company.
BT to cut up to 55,000 jobs
BT Group [BT-A.L] is to cut as many as 55,000 jobs by the end of 2030, out of a current workforce of 130,000. Increased demand for data has driven costs up without impacting revenue, and CEO Philip Jansen has pledged to find annual savings of £3bn by 2025, relative to 2020, despite fourth quarter income of £2.05bn beating analyst expectations, according to a survey by Bloomberg. Rival Vodafone [VOD.L] announced 11,000 cuts on Tuesday.
Google signs off AI ad support
Google has approved plans for advertisers to automate online adverts using generative AI, according to internal documents seen by CNBC. Groups within the company are also planning to allow its PaLM 2 large language model to suggest content for Youtube video creators. Meanwhile, the head of Alexa has told CNBC that Amazon [AMZN] “is at the forefront of AI”, adding that the service has an advantage over ChatGPT in that it is an “instantly available, personal AI”, accessible by vocal command.
Sony jumps 7% on spinoff plans
Shares in Sony [6758.T] gained 7% in Tokyo, their steepest climb in six months, on news that the electronics giant is considering a partial spinoff and IPO for its financial arm within the next two to three years. The plan would see the company retaining a stake of 20% in Sony Financial Group with the proceeds financing an investment drive in gaming and electronics.