Technology investors expect a rash of new issues this year, inspired by last year's runaway success for Google and growing evidence that the Internet has become a major business force. \nIf the market holds out, there would be a lot more new issues to come, said Michael Sandifer of Amerindo, one of the largest and earliest technology funds. "That is always good for getting investor juices going," he said. \nHe cited CommVolt, a software storage specialist, as one possibility from Amerindo's portfolio. \nGoogle shares have more than doubled in price since they were floated at US$85 in August, while the price of other internet successes such as Ebay and Yahoo has also soared. Sandifer admits that current share valuations are "not for the shy and retiring." But he points out that online consumer spending over Christmas in the US rose by almost 30 percent, while other retailers had a lackluster period. \n"They [Internet retailers] are taking shares and there is no reason why they cannot continue to grow. The change is the increasing willingness, particularly by female consumers, to trust the Internet a bit more with the credit card," he said. \nRevenues of the Ebay auction house, for example, rose by more than 50 percent in the third quarter of last year and analysts expect more than US$15 billion of goods to be sold through its site this year. This could grow to more than US$100 billion within five years as Ebay continues its march into China and other developing economies. \nWhile conventional retailers such as Wal-Mart and Marks and Spencer have to invest in buildings, shop assistants and stock, Ebay does not. \n"It is going to continue to be one of the premium growth stories going forward," Sandifer said. That means it could justify its high share price -- its shares stand at close to US$120, giving it a price-earnings ratio of more than 100. \nEbay and Google were exceptions, however. Most technology shares had a disappointing year last year as investors fretted about the high oil price and the level of business spending on IT (although Amerindo's Internet fund outperformed its indices). \nSandifer says there are signs that business spending is starting to pick up, while applications such as voice over Internet protocol, which allows consumers to use their computer as a telephone, are becoming more popular. \nEverything promised during the hype of 2000 has come to pass, Sandifer says, except the financial rewards. Most technology companies are still trading at a fraction of their peak price, if they still exist at all. \n"In retrospect, valuations were too high. We ate our desserts four times and three meals in one sitting," he said.
From the customer’s perspective, car rental is a straightforward business. The only uncertainty is whether the hire company will charge you for the scratch they discover when you hand back the vehicle. Hertz Global Holdings Inc’s bankruptcy protection filing on Friday last week was a reminder that today even the simplest business models are underpinned by a lot more financial complexity than meets the eye. The proximate cause of Hertz’s demise was of course the sudden collapse in bookings caused by COVID-19 travel restrictions. The company’s monthly revenue last month fell 73 percent year-on-year, a shortfall that even the most resilient
Uber Technologies Inc, Lyft Inc and Airbnb Inc have slashed thousands of jobs. Salesforce.com Inc and Visa Inc are letting employees work remotely for months; Twitter Inc and Square Inc are allowing them to do so for good. For the companies’ hometown of San Francisco, the moves are early signs of a dire blow. In a city with a long history of booms, busts and natural calamities, the COVID-19 pandemic has suddenly upended nearly a decade of prosperity. While municipalities across the US are grappling with economic fallout from the virus, San Francisco stands to take a deeper hit given its high
BULK PURCHASE: The French chain and Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm International reached a deal covering 224 stores, which is expected to be finalized by year’s end Carrefour SA yesterday announced it would acquire Wellcome Taiwan Co (惠康百貨) for 97 million euros (US$108.33 million), and bring all the Wellcome supermarkets (頂好超市) and Jasons Market Place stores nationwide under its banner within 12 months of the deal closing. The France-based hypermarket chain reached an agreement with Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm International Holdings (牛奶國際控股), the pan-Asian retailer that launched Wellcome Taiwan in 1987. The transaction involves 199 Wellcome supermarkets, which have average sales areas of 420m2 and 25 high-end Jasons Market Place stores, which have an average sales area of 820m2, as well as a warehouse in Taoyuan, Carrefour Taiwan (家樂福)
‘ONE-STOP SHOP’: A Miaoli official said that the factory in the Jhunan section of the Hsinchu Science Park would create more than 1,000 jobs and boost prosperity A new high-end IC packaging and testing plant planned by contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) in Miaoli County is expected to start operations in the middle of next year, Miaoli County Commissioner Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) said. Hsu wrote on Facebook that TSMC, the world’s largest pure wafer foundry operator, would invest NT$303.2 billion (US$10.1 billion) to build the plant, the largest-ever single investment in Taiwan. However, TSMC declined to disclose the financial terms of the deal, while a company board meeting on May 12 approved a spending plan worth NT$168.2 billion as part of its investment plans. Construction of the