Alipay spin-off kept quiet
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴) spun off its Alipay online payment business to a different company without the knowledge or consent of its board or shareholders, Yahoo Inc said. Yahoo and Softbank Corp, owners of stakes in Alibaba Group, did not learn until March 31 of the transfer, which happened in August last year, Yahoo said in a statement on Thursday. Alibaba shifted ownership of Alipay to a company mostly owned by Alibaba chief executive Jack Ma (馬雲) to comply with Chinese restrictions on foreign ownership of payment services, Yahoo said.
China halts diesel shipments
China has halted diesel shipments and restricted exports of refined oil products in a bid to ensure domestic supply and to stabilize fuel costs amid surging inflation in the country. The National Development and Reform Commission said in a statement that exports of refined oil products would be “strictly controlled” and those of diesel temporarily stopped, except to Hong Kong and Macau. The country’s top economic planning agency also urged oil producers to “maintain full capacity operation” to increase output, in the statement dated on Thursday.
Seoul fund to invest in Asia
South Korea’s state pension fund — the world’s fourth-largest fund — said yesterday it would set up a fund of up to US$828 million for investment only in Asia. The National Pension Service said it would select eight local asset managers next month to run a Pan-Asia Fund totaling up to 900 billion won (US$828 million). Each asset manager would handle a maximum 200 billion won to support and invest in venture companies and firms seeking to expand in Asia.
Qantas mulls new airline
Qantas Airways is planning to create a new airline in Singapore as part of a strategy to increase its Asian business and cut costs, a newspaper reported yesterday. Qantas was considering the Singapore-based full-service subsidiary as a way of bypassing the high cost base and geographic isolation of Australia, the Australian Financial Review reported, citing unnamed sources. The airline declined to either confirm or deny that the Singapore airline was an option under consideration.
ThyssenKrupp profit leaps
ThyssenKrupp, the biggest German steel group, saw its second-quarter pre-tax profit leap by an annualized 84 percent to 352 million euros (US$500 million), it said yesterday. The result was much better than an average analyst forecast of 298 million euros compiled by Dow Jones Newswires. ThyssenKrupp, which also manufactures elevators and auto components and offers industrial installation services, posted a 21 percent gain in sales to 12.3 billion euros.
Lloyd’s expects price rises
Lloyd’s of London, the world’s largest insurance market, has estimated net claims of US$3.8 billion before tax from this year’s Japan and New Zealand earthquakes, and floods in Australia. Lloyd’s also said yesterday that it expects insurance prices to rise as a result of the events. The insurer said that its total estimate includes US$1.95 billion in claims for the Japan earthquake and tsunami, US$1.2 billion for the New Zealand earthquake and US$650 million for the Australian floods.