Wed, Dec 31, 2008 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

Nomura drops Olympics

Japan’s top broker Nomura Holdings, which lost more than US$1.5 billion in the six months to September, said yesterday it will not renew its sponsorship of the Japanese Olympic Committee.

Nomura, an official sponsor of the committee since 1999, said the current four-year contract would expire at year’s end today.

“The company has decided not to renew the contract after this year,” a spokesman said.

He declined to disclose the cost of the deal, but the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper put it at ¥300 million (US$3.3 million) over four years.

AIU Insurance, a non-life insurance firm under the umbrella of struggling US insurance giant AIG, has also decided not to renew its sponsorship deal.

Committee secretary general Kenichi Chizuka said Nomura’s decision was “very regrettable” and that he “cannot foresee the outlook” for the organization’s sponsorship next year and beyond, Kyodo News reported.

NPL ratio drops

The nation’s non-performing loan ratio of credit card lending decreased to 1.65 percent last month, down 0.07 percentage points from a month earlier or minus 0.4 percentage points from a year ago, the Financial Supervisory Commission said yesterday.

The number of cards in circulation dropped 1.35 percent to 34.24 million last month while aggregate credit value amounted to NT$102.7 billion (US$3.11 billion), down NT$14.8 billion from October, the FSC figures showed.

It is the 12th straight month the nation posted a bad credit card loan ratio of less than 2 percent, indicating checked spending among card holders.

Penghu lures vouchers

The Penghu County Government plans to give out a total of NT$5 million (US$152,150) in lucky draws as rewards to consumers who spend their NT$3,600 consumer vouchers there.

The top prize will be a car, the county government said.

The local government is still selecting the remaining awards, which may include one-year access to a mansion on a small, uninhabited island.

Capital cuts salaries

Capital Securities Corp (群益證券) joined the pay-cut bandwagon last month to cut costs, hoping to weather the economic downturn.

The securities brokerage firm’s top executives have been taking a 10 percent cut in monthly salaries since last month while lower-end employees will lose an average of 5 percent less pay this month.

By doing so, the firm will save NT$163 million in annual personnel costs, which may help increase the company’s earnings per share this year by NT$0.1, company president Chou Kang-chi (周康記) said on Monday.

Chou added that the firm reported NT$2.234 billion in losses for the first eleven months of this year, or a loss of NT$1.37 per share, after writing off NT$1.472 billion from its collateralized bond obligation losses.

NT dollar strengthens

The New Taiwan dollar yesterday strengthened for a fifth day — the longest winning streak in nine months, as the government said it will spend NT$200 billion (US$6.01 billion) to help key industries weather a global recession.

The currency yesterday gained NT$0.135 to close at NT$32.865 against its US counterpart on turnover of US$900 million.

The influx of foreign currency is “a reflection of government attempts to ensure that credit channels remain open to the more distressed electronics companies and memory chip producers,” said Wai Ho Leong, a regional economist at Barclays Capital in Singapore. The spending plan gives “a psychological boost,” he said.

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