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Merck reports cuts after stronger quarter

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. --- Merck & Co. plans to cut as many as 13,000 more jobs under a new round of restructuring as the drugmaker prepares for generic competition for its top-selling drug and slower revenue growth in the U.S. and Europe.

The announcement came Friday as Merck reported a higher second-quarter profit than a year ago. Merck's stock fell more than 2 percent.

The new cuts would bring to 30,000 the positions eliminated since Merck's November 2009 megadeal to buy Schering-Plough Corp., on top of about 5,000 positions the companies cut before the deal closed.

Most of the new job cuts will come from headquarters and other administrative functions. The company also will close some offices and manufacturing sites, CEO Kenneth Frazier told analysts in a conference call. The cuts are to be made by 2015 and won't start in earnest until next year.

High oil, gas prices lift Chevron profits

NEW YORK --- Chevron Corp. said Friday that profit jumped 43 percent in the second quarter as higher oil and gasoline prices made up for a decline in oil production.

The report continued the trend of soaring profits among the major oil companies.

The San Ramon, Calif., company reported earnings of $7.7 billion, or $3.85 per share, for the three months ended June 30. That compares with $5.4 billion, or $2.70 per share, in the quarter last year. Revenue increased 31 percent to $66.7 billion.

Analysts had expected earnings of $3.51 per share, according to FactSet.

Chevron's quarterly profit was the largest since it set a company record of $7.9 billion in the third quarter of 2008.

AT&T will slow heavy users of smartphones

NEW YORK --- AT&T Inc. said Friday that it's going to start limiting speeds for the 5 percent of its customers with "unlimited" data smartphone plans who use the service the most.

The measure will take effect Oct. 1, AT&T said, and is intended to alleviate congestion. T-Mobile USA already throttles users who go over certain limits for data consumption.

AT&T stopped signing up new customers for "unlimited" plans last year. Instead, it now lets heavy users pay extra when they go over a certain data allotment. Verizon Wireless also recently stopped signing up new customers for unlimited service.

AT&T says it will warn users when they are approaching joining the top 5 percent, and anyone subject to the speed limits will experience them until the next billing cycle starts.

The Dallas-based phone company says what puts someone in the top 5 percent is usually streaming video or playing some online games.

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