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Ethanol producer's net income halved

GREEN Plains Renewable Energy, the US-based ethanol producer in which Irish group NTR holds a 31pc stake, reported a more than halving of its net income, to $7.7m (€5.2m), for the first quarter of the year.

Revenue climbed to $812.2m from $426.5m following the impact of acquisitions. Shares in the company were down 1.2pc in US trading yesterday.

Panasonic planning to cut 17,000 jobs

PANASONIC, Japan's top consumer electronics maker, is planning to cut 17,000 jobs in an effort to reduce costs. Panasonic expects to have a workforce of 350,000 people after wide-ranging reforms ending in March 2013. The reforms also involve wide-ranging restructuring of the firm's global businesses.

Santander looking to Brazil for growth

SPANISH banking group Santander said net income fell 4.8pc to €2.1bn in the first three months of this year. Bad loans were 3.61pc of total lending, up from 3.3pc a year ago. Santander earns about 20pc of its profits from its UK businesses. It earns 25pc of its profit in Brazil, however, where the economy is growing strongly and profits rose there by 22.5pc.

Microsoft expects jump in profits

Microsoft is expected to report an 18pc jump in quarterly profit, as its reliable Windows and Office franchises keep growing. But that may not be enough to rouse its shares from a decade-long slumber or ease fears that its dominance of personal computing is waning.

Shares sale to value Facebook at $70bn

A group of Facebook shareholders is seeking to offload $1bn worth of shares on the secondary market, a sale that would value the company at more than $70bn. It would represent one of the largest transactions of Facebook shares to date and points to a growing wariness among early-stage investors and employees who fear Facebook's growth cannot keep pace with its market valuation.

Irish Independent