Japanese prime minister Yoshihiko Noda said he will dissolve the Diet on November 16, paving the way for elections next month that polls show his Democratic Party of Japan will lose. Speaking in parliament a day after the DPJ reached a deal with two opposition parties on legislation to fund the rest of this years budget, Noda said he would dissolve the lower house if a deal is reached to cut the number of lawmakers in the chamber. Former premier Shinzo Abe, head of the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party, agreed to the proposal. Based on that, I will dissolve parliament on November 16, Noda said. DPJ acting secretary-general Jun Azumi told reporters the party agreed to a December 16 election date. The prime ministers popularity has plummeted over his management of an economy burdened by stagnant growth, deflation and the worlds largest debt. He faces discontent within the ruling party from some lawmakers who sought to put off an election.
Nokia buys Earthmine for 3-D ability
Nokia Oyj, the struggling Finnish smartphone maker, is acquiring 3-D map-technology maker Earthmine Inc. and revamping its mapping tools under a new brand name to win back customers from rivals such as Apple Inc. The Earthmine purchase will help Nokia expand in mapping, a growing business it considers key to driving smartphone sales and becoming profitable again. The company unveiled Here, the brand for its location services and website, at an event in San Francisco yesterday, and said it has created a mapping app for Apples mobile devices. It will also make its map technology open to developers using Googles Android operating system. Nokia, which started selling its flagship Lumia 920 smartphone this month, is promoting location features to differentiate itself from Apple and devices running Android software. Espoo, Finland-based Nokia bought Chicago-based map provider Navteq for $8.1 billion in 2008 and continues to build its business selling maps to customers such as Amazon.com, Yahoo!, Daimler AGs Mercedes-Benz and Nikon Corp.
Infineon plans spending cut as sales top estimates
Infineon Technologies AG, Europes second-biggest semiconductor maker, plans to reduce spending next year after reporting fourth-quarter sales and operating profit that topped analysts estimates. Operating profit was 116 million euros ($148 million) in the three months ended September 30, beating the 105 million-euro average estimate by analysts compiled by Bloomberg. Sales slipped 1 percent to 982 million euros from the previous three-month period, the Neubiberg, Germany-based company said today. The figure compared with analysts estimate of 974 million euros. Infineon will postpone or cancel some research and development projects as it plans to cut investments by 20% to 400 million euros in the current financial year. The chipmaker is curbing the expansion of production sites as weakening demand for cars and personal computers adds to a drop in the market for industrial semiconductors.
Sony to sell $1.9 billion of convertible bonds
Sony Corp, the Japanese electronics maker reeling from four consecutive annual losses, plans to raise 150 billion yen ($1.9 billion) from convertible bonds to fund an expansion in its first sale of the security in a decade. Sony will sell zero-coupon convertible bonds maturing in five years to fund acquisitions and the expansion of imaging- sensor facilities, the company said in a statement today. The conversion price will be set by Thursday, according to a person familiar with the matter, who declined to be identified because the information is private. The sale, the first convertible bond from Sony since 2003, comes after the share price plunged to near three-decade lows earlier this year as Sony suffers losses at its main television business. Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai is cutting 10,000 jobs and selling assets as he focuses on mobile devices, games and digital imaging to turn around Sony, whose shares dipped to their lowest since 1980 earlier this month.