The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Day: December 5, 2007

Legrand Buys Chinese Manufacturer

Electrical manufacturer Legrand, based in France, is buying TCL Wuxi, a Chinese manufacturer specialized in modular and high-current circuit-breakers.
&nbsp ;
The move reinforces Legrand's presence in China. Legrand is already active in the energy-distribution segment in China.
&nbsp ;
TCL Wuxi, which reports sales of close to & euro; 20 million (US$29.3 million at current rates of exchange) has a sales force of 200. &nbsp ;
&nbsp ;
TCL Wuxi is Legrand's fifth acquisition since January 2007, following HPM, number two for wiring devices in Australia; UStec, a US company specializing in residential structured cabling; Kontaktor, number one for high-current circuit-breakers in Russia; and, most recently, Macse, Mexico's number one producer of metal cable management ...

Survey: CEOs Have Slightly Improved Outlook for Next Six Months

Despite a relatively uncertain economic cycle, the leaders of America's top companies showed a slight uptick in their expectations for the economy over the next six months, according to Business Roundtable's fourth quarter 2007 CEO Economic Outlook Survey.
&nbsp ;
The CEO Economic Outlook Index, which indicates how CEOs believe the economy will perform in the six months ahead, improved moderately, rising more than two points from last quarter's 77.4 to 79.5.
&nbsp ;
This quarter's survey suggests that CEOs, as a whole, still see the economy as steady and that the vast majority expect their sales, capital spending and employment levels to either increase or remain steady in the first half of 2008," said Harold McGraw III, chairman of Business Roundtable and president and CEO ...

Cutting Jobs – A Painful Exercise, So Do It Right

Layoffs and other cost-cutting measures in building materials have begun in earnest, with several distributors and retailers announcing workforce reductions" in the past week.
&nbsp ;
The Home Depot, Atlanta, GA, will cut upwards of 950 jobs, many from its three call-center operations that work with customers to install doors and other products. An HD spokesman told Reuters that the closings were not solely due to a down housing market. The retailer wants to give customers a local contact for installation help rather than send them to a call center. Still, HD is hurting, posting a 27% drop in profit in the past quarter.
&nbsp ;
UK-based Wolseley said it would cut its workforce in North America by at least 1,300 more this year, mostly in its Stock Building Supply subsidiary. ...

Survey: CFOs Pessimistic Over U.S. Economy

In stark contrast to recent findings in a survey of CEOs by the Business Roundtable, optimism among chief financial officers about the U.S. economy plunged to a record low this quarter, driven by growing concern about weak consumer demand, high fuel costs, rising labor costs and credit markets. This pessimism will slow growth in earnings, capital spending, and hiring.
&nbsp ;
These are some of the conclusions of the year-end 2007 Duke University/CFO Magazine Global Business Outlook survey, which asked CFOs from a broad range of global public and private companies about their expectations for the economy.
&nbsp ;
Summary of Findings:

  • Optimism reached its lowest point since the optimism index was launched six years ago. Pessimists ...