Global business

BHP Billiton’s net profit for the year to June fell by 30 percent, to $10.9 billion. The mining company is to invest heavily in potash, an ingredient used in fertilizer and for which there is a burgeoning demand worldwide. This should offset some of its decline in prices for iron ore and copper, as the Chinese-led commodities boom cools.

Glencore Xstrata reported its first earnings since merging as a new company in May, and announced a $7.7 billion write-down of its mining assets.

Vestas, a Danish maker of wind turbines, replaced its chief executive, after its quarterly earnings revealed steeper losses. Once a leader in the industry, Vestas’ wind-power business has been buffeted by competition from China; it also gets less from European subsidies for green energy. Anders Runevad, who used to work at Ericsson, a Swedish telecom firm, is the new boss.

Carlsberg and Heineken saw profits slip in their latest set of earnings, partly because the cooler-than-usual European spring watered down the demand for beer. Carlsberg said the closure of outdoor beer kiosks in Russia in an effort to curb public drunkenness also hurt it. Both companies pointed to Asia as a bright spot.

Meg Whitman’s turnaround plan for Hewlett-Packard hit a bump in the road when she said she no longer expects to see a return to revenue growth next year after almost all its divisions recorded a drop in quarterly sales. HP’s big push into computer servers has so far not offset the decline of its PC business.

A judge refused Carl Icahn’s request to speed up his lawsuit to stop the proposed buyout of Dell, the latest setback to the activist investor’s alternative takeover proposal for the computermaker. A postponed shareholders’ vote is now to take place on Sept. 12. Dell, meanwhile, reported a 72 percent drop in quarterly net profit, after heavily discounting sales of its PCs and servers.

Al Jazeera began broadcasting on its new news channel in the United States, building on the network of Al Gore’s Current TV, which it bought in January. With bureaus in 12 American cities, the Qatari company promises to provide an alternative on cable to CNN, Fox and MSNBC.

A judge approved Eastman Kodak’s plan to restructure and leave bankruptcy protection, which it filed for in January last year. The company has shed its photography business (and $4.1 billion in debt) to focus on commercial printing technologies. Kodak designed the world’s first working digital camera in 1975, only to discard the project and stick to film.

Political economy

India was plunged into financial turmoil. Markets swooned in response to the government’s imposition of capital controls on domestic investors to stop cash flowing out of the country in order to halt the decline of the rupee. Investors fret that India’s large current-account deficit makes it particularly exposed to capital flight out of emerging markets prompted by the Federal Reserve’s plan to taper quantitative easing.

Japan’s nuclear agency said a leak of radioactive water from a storage tank at its Fukushima Daiichi plant had been raised from level one to level three on a seven-point warning scale. The shares of the plant’s owner, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), dived.

The trial of a former Communist high-flyer, Bo Xilai, began in Jinan, eastern China. Bo, formerly the Communist Party chief of Chongqing and a member of China’s ruling Politburo, fell suddenly from grace in March 2012 after his wife was implicated in the murder of a British businessman and his police chief fled to an American consulate.

Mexico sharply cut its 2013 growth forecast to 1.8 percent from 3.1 percent, after the economy unexpectedly shrank by 0.7 percent in the second quarter compared with the January-to-March period. It is its first quarterly decline in four years. Mexico has been hit by sluggish exports, like many other emerging markets.

Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, broke a political taboo by saying that Greece would require another bailout. The IMF thinks it will need $14.7 billion, but Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is seeking re-election in September, has dismissed such talk. The European Union’s Olli Rehn proposed an extension in loan periods.