Rusal refuses to sell stake
United Co Rusal rejected OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel’s offer to buy a US$12.8 billion stake it holds in the Russian nickel mining company, saying it wouldn’t be in the best interests of its shareholders. The board “approved the committee’s recommendation to reject the proposal to sell the company’s 20 percent stake,” Rusal said in a statement. Billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who owns 47 percent of Rusal, has rejected three offers since October to sell out of Norilsk, the world’s largest nickel producer, even as Rusal investors Mikhail Prokhorov and Viktor Vekselberg push for a sale.
Bright Food promotes bid
China’s Bright Food Group (光明食品) has said a tie-up with France’s Yoplait would bring expansion opportunities in the massive Chinese market, as it promotes a bid for a stake in the French company. Switzerland’s Nestle and General Mills of the US are also among those interested in buying a 50 percent stake in Yoplait, which is owned by private equity firm PAI Partners, a person familiar with the situation said last month. Last year, the Chinese company failed in a bid for the sugar and biofuels unit of Australia’s CSR. It also reportedly abruptly ended acquisition discussions with US nutritional product retailer GNC and Britain’s United Biscuits.
Goldman CEO may testify
Goldman Sachs Group Inc chief executive Lloyd Blankfein has agreed to testify for the prosecution at Galleon Group LLC co-founder Raj Rajaratnam’s insider-trading trial set to begin next week, according to a person briefed on the matter. Blankfein, 56, may end up not testifying because prosecutors often line up potential witnesses before a trial who are not called to testify, the person said. Rajaratnam is accused of earning US$45 million in illicit profits from information leaked by corporate insiders, hedge fund traders and others. He denies wrongdoing and said his trades were based on Galleon research.
WPP posts strong results
A rebound in the US advertising market allowed WPP, the world’s largest ad group, to follow its peers and post strong full-year results yesterday and a solid outlook for this year. WPP, whose ad agencies include JWT and Ogilvy & Mather, posted fourth-quarter organic revenue growth of 8.5 percent and said the solid performance had continued into January, with revenue up more than 8 percent. The strong finish to the year helped WPP to post a full-year figure of 5.3 percent, with both the fourth quarter and full-year figures ahead of forecasts. This year, it expects the key industry metric of like-for-like growth of 5 percent and operating margins to rise 0.5 margin points to 13.7 percent.
Bombardier, ICBC seal deal
Canada’s Bombardier, the third-largest aircraft maker in the world behind Airbus and Boeing, says it has secured an US$8 billion financing deal from a Chinese leasing firm. Under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by the two firms, ICBC Leasing will provide customers of Bombardier with advance payment financing, delivery financing and leasing solutions for some commercial and business jets. “This MOU provides mutual benefits to Bombardier and ICBC Leasing, since it addresses both parties’ objectives of providing optimized aircraft solutions to operators in China and elsewhere,” Bombardier Aerospace president Guy Hachey said in a statement on Thursday.
END TO SPECULATION: The hotel’s management contract has been extended, despite reports that it wanted to end its alliance with Hyatt Hotels over a deal with Riant Capital Singapore-based Hong Leong Hotel Development Ltd (豐隆大飯店股份) yesterday said it has extended a management contract to ensure the continued presence of the Grand Hyatt brand in Taipei, ending rumors that the two sides were parting ways. “We are pleased Hyatt is able to come to terms on the extension of the management contract of Grand Hyatt Taipei,” said Kwek Leng Beng (郭令明), executive chairman of City Developments Ltd (城市發展) and Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Ltd (千禧國敦酒店). Hong Leong Hotel Development is a subsidiary of Millennium, and both fall under the Hong Leong Group (豐隆集團). The Grand Hyatt Taipei (台北君悅大飯店), owned and built by
’WHITE BOX’: The open platform would give local firms access to Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop 5G telecom equipment and tap into the global market The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday introduced a new 5G “open lab” in collaboration with US-based information technology and networking giant Cisco Systems Inc to address the rapidly growing “white box” 5G networking equipment market. The open lab will be a platform where Taiwanese manufacturers can access Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop their own 5G telecom equipment, such as small-cell base stations, network switches, modems and Internet of things (IoT) devices, a ministry statement said. The open platform would allow Taiwanese manufacturers to tap into the lucrative 5G telecom equipment market, which was previously monopolized by Nokia Oyj, Ericsson AB
Nintendo Co is raising its target for Switch production to about 25 million units this fiscal year, people familiar with the matter said, as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic keeps lifting demand and component shortages ease. The Kyoto, Japan-based company, which in April hiked orders to 22 million units by March next year, is asking partners to tack on another few million units, said the people, who did not want to be identified discussing internal goals. Assembly partners plan to work at maximum capacity through December. The new production target suggests that Nintendo is likely to outperform its Switch sales forecast of 19 million
‘BIG LOSS’: This year might see the last generation of Huawei’s Kirin chips, as their production would stop next month because they are made using US technology Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co (華為) is running out of processor chips to make smartphones due to US sanctions and would be forced to stop production of its own most advanced chips, a company executive has said, in a sign of growing damage to Huawei’s business from US pressure. Huawei, one of the biggest producers of smartphones and network equipment, is at the center of US-Chinese tension over technology and security. Washington last year cut off Huawei’s access to US components and technology, and those penalties were tightened in May, when the White House barred vendors worldwide from using US