Toshiba to raise US$5bn
Japanese electronics giant Toshiba Corp plans to raise approximately ¥500 billion (US$5 billion) in a bid to reverse its worsening financial situation, the Nikkei Shimbun and Kyodo News reported yesterday. Toshiba is considering procuring ¥300 billion in capital through a public stock offering, they said, quoting industry sources. The company will also ask banks and other financial institutions to buy ¥200 billion in subordinated bonds by September, the sources were quoted as saying. The new capital will be used to improve its semiconductor and nuclear power operations as the company is expected to incur huge losses amid the global economic slump, they said.
VC investments dip 61%
US venture capital (VC) investments sank 61 percent in the first quarter, dropping to the lowest level in 12 years as financiers became even warier about sinking funds into startups during a deepening recession. In yet-another indicator that a pullback that began last summer is not abating, VC investments totaled US$3 billion during the first three months of this year, said a report released yesterday by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) and Thomson Reuters. In the year-ago quarter, investments totaled US$7.74 billion.
China SWF eyes Europe
China’s US$200 billion sovereign wealth fund plans to include Europe in its targets for investment this year, after a year in which it avoided the continent because of perceived trade protectionism. “Europe has started to welcome investments” without attaching conditions, China Investment Corp’s (CIC, 中國投資公司) chairman Lou Jiwei (樓繼偉) said yesterday at the Boao Forum in Hainan Province. “During the world financial crisis, sovereign wealth funds have become more appealing” and less frightening, he said. Beijing-based CIC’s investments have included stakes in Blackstone Group LP and Morgan Stanley.
Vietnam to cut tariffs
Vietnam will reduce some tariffs on goods and services to push up demand in the face of an economic slowdown, according to a decision signed by the prime minister. Value-added tax (VAT) on garment and textile products, cement and motorbikes will be reduced by 50 percent between May 1 and Dec. 31, said the ruling signed on Thursday. Registration fees for cars with fewer than 10 seats will also be reduced by half, while garment and footwear enterprises will benefit from a 30 percent cut in corporate income tax for the fourth quarter of last year, it said.
Two US banks shuttered
Banks in Missouri and Nevada were seized by US regulators on Friday, bringing this year’s tally to 25 and equaling the number of banks shuttered in all of last year, as a recession drives up unemployment and home foreclosures. American Sterling Bank of Sugar Creek, Missouri, was shut by the Office of Thrift Supervision and Great Basin Bank of Nevada in Elko was closed by the Nevada Financial Institutions Division. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC) was named receiver of the banks with combined assets of US$451.9 million and deposits of US$393.3 million, the FDIC said in e-mailed statements. Regulators closed 25 banks last year, the most since 1993.