The following is excerpted from IRG's weekly stock report:
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- Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (NTT) announced that the Board of Directors approved a year-end cash dividend of 4,500 Japanese yen per share of NTT's Common Stock, payable to shareholders of record as of March 31, 2008.
- Renesas Technology Corp. will nearly double production of high-power amplifiers [HPAs] for mobile phones this year to keep pace with growing demand. The company is planning to produce 38 million units per month in fiscal 2008, 90 percent more than in fiscal 2007. The increase will be achieved with minimum capital spending by altering the product mix and increasing outsourcing of preparatory operations such as burning circuits onto substrate materials. HPAs are semiconductors that amplify power so that handsets can send strong signals.
- Altair Semiconductor, the developer of advanced 4G mobile semiconductors for handheld devices, announced it has been selected to supply the chipsets for wireless devices operating on Willcom’s next generation Personal Handyphone System in Japan. Altair will supply its ALTx150 series ultra-low power and high performance chipsets to Willcom’s authorized ecosystem of mobile handset and handheld device manufacturers. Willcom will deploy its next generation PHS network using orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing access [OFDMA] technology that is architected to achieve higher capacity and lower cost per bit compared to traditional 3 and 3.5G cellular technologies.
- PHS service operator Willcom Inc. aims to attract more Japanese subscribers with its next-generation personal handyphone system and new handsets. Willcom has branded the new PHS service Willcom CORE. Slated for launch next April in Tokyo, it will feature speeds of several tens of megabits per second. The company intends to expand the service by the following fall to all major cities, while also ultimately boosting the transmission speed to 100mbps and beyond. PHS handsets are currently far slower than cell phones, but next-generation PHS will not lose out on speed.
Media, Entertainment and Gaming
- Nintendo Co. (OTCPK:NTDOY), McDonald's Holdings Co. (Japan) and a subsidiary of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. said Monday they will launch a trial run Tuesday of data distributing services using Nintendo DS portable game consoles. Using the wireless communication function of the DS console at designated places including McDonald's outlets, game console users can download special software for viewing data offered by McDonald's Japan and NTT Broadband Platform Inc. such as information on sales campaigns and merchandise, news and transportation transfer information for free of charge.
- Sony (SNE) had signed an agreement with the top U.S. cable companies that led the way for televisions that could receive digital signals without need for a television set-top box. U.S. cable television customers currently use set-top boxes, which are made by companies such as Motorola (MOT) and Cisco Systems (CSCO), which owns Scientific Atlanta. Other consumer electronics companies besides Sony also have been invited to formally join the memorandum of understanding Sony negotiated with Comcast (CMCSA), Time Warner Cable (TWC), Cox Communications, Charter Communications (CHTR), Cablevision Systems (CVC) and Bright House Networks.
- Hitachi Ltd. (HIT) said it aims to slash its annual cost of procuring basic materials and components by 300 billion yen (US$2.9 billion) to help it cope with surging crude oil and commodity prices, as well as achieve its profit ratio commitments for the year to March 2010. Hitachi plans to cut overhead costs by 15 billion yen (US$142.2 billion), while setting aside 5.0 billion yen (US$47.4 billion) in cash and cash equivalent for covering the rise in borrowing costs. Huge assets will be tapped to improve its cash flow by 5.0 billion yen (US$47.4 billion), the company said, but did not specify whether it was selling some of its assets.