Ford climbs ratings ladder
Ford Motor Co is within one notch of an investment-grade credit rating at two of the three major ratings agencies after Standard and Poor’s (S&P) on Friday boosted the automaker two notches up its ratings ladder. S&P said the outlook for Ford is “stable.” This follows an upgrade of one notch by Fitch Ratings on Thursday. Fitch also rates Ford at “BB+,” the highest level of “speculative” or “junk” status, one notch below the lowest “investment grade” rating. Moody’s Investors Service has Ford rated two notches below its lowest level of investment grade. Moody’s rates Ford at “Ba2” on its credit risk ladder. Ford was last at investment grade in 2005, the year before it borrowed heavily to finance its restructuring. S&P said of the new four-year labor contract: “We believe the contract will allow for continued profitability and cash generation in North America.”
Wal-Mart reworks benefits
US retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc said on Friday it would no longer provide health insurance to new part-time US employees working less than 24 hours a week and charge more for workers who smoke. Wal-Mart, which has 1.4 million employees in the US, said it would also increase coverage costs for all employees, as health costs rise. The changes, which will affect Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club associates, are due to take effect in January. “This lowering of working standards will have repercussions throughout the retail industry — particularly for part-time workers,” said Joseph Hansen, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.
Wii, 3DS to stream Hulu
Nintendo Co said on Friday that online video service Hulu Plus would stream movies and television shows to Wii and 3DS video game systems by the end of the year. The Japanese video game giant also planned to release next month a software update that would let people record 3D video using the latest version of its handheld gaming device. Hulu Plus will be available with a separate subscription costing US$7.99 per month. Subscribers will be able to access Hulu’s extensive library of television episodes and films. The company hoped to heighten the appeal of its offerings during the precious year-end holiday shopping season.
GE profits rise 18 percent
General Electric Co (GE) said Friday that a surge in its lending business lifted its profit 18 percent in the third quarter, but its stock price fell on concerns about weak contributions from its manufacturing businesses. GE is a barometer of the economy because it reaches so many industries. It builds everything from jet engines to refrigerators, and its GE Capital lending arm is involved in a variety of businesses including credit cards and real estate. The company’s industrial orders grew 16 percent in the quarter and it has a record backlog of them. However, many of those orders came more than a year ago, and the cost of raw materials and other expenses have risen since. That could erode profits. The industrial and financial giant reported net income of US$2.34 billion, or US$0.22 per share, for the three-month period ended Sept. 30. That compared with US$1.98 billion, or US$0.18 per share, a year earlier. Revenue was flat at US$35.4 billion. The company’s overall profit has increased for four straight quarters as falling interest rates sparked a rebound at its GE Capital lending business.
Polytronics Technology Corp (聚鼎科技) yesterday announced that it is buying Henkel AG’s thermal clad dielectric material (TCLAD) business division for US$26 million as the Taiwanese firm aims to improve its technology, product portfolio and revenue performance. Polytronics, headquartered in the Hsinchu Science Park (新竹科學園區), is a supplier of protection components and heat dissipation materials. The firm entered the metallic heat-dissipation substrate market in 2007 and developed a unique solventless production process. Its board of directors approved signing an agreement with Henkel to acquire the German chemical firm’s TCLAD division in the US. The purchase includes all assets and business interests, including equipment,
SIZE MATTERS: Medium-sized hotels that do not have the support of parent groups are more vulnerable and are forced to take action, a REPro Knight Frank researcher said About 50 hotels across Taiwan are seeking to exit the market as they succumb to the bleak business outlook amid international travel restrictions imposed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Yomi Hotel (優美飯店) on Minsheng E Road, Sec 1, in Taipei is seeking to transfer ownership with an asking price of NT$950 million (US$32.15 million) and a pledge for a lease contract that guarantees a 3 percent return. The budget hotel, with room rates that start from NT$1,400 per night, maintains normal operations, but has been struggling since March, when the government placed restrictions on inbound and outbound travel. Occupancy rates for hotels in
With the US dollar expected to weaken in the next 12 months due to near-zero interest rates, investors should consider purchasing US corporate bonds, Standard Chartered Bank Taiwan Ltd (渣打台灣銀行) said on Thursday. The bank said that the US Federal Reserve since last month has been buying bonds issued by US companies to curb default rates. The US dollar is forecast to be weaker against the pound, the euro and the yen, as well as the Canadian dollar, the Swedish krona and the Swiss franc, as the greenback lacks high investment returns after the Fed in March slashed the benchmark interest rate
A Bollywood actor’s face tattooed on his arm, Sandeep Bacche’s devotion shocks few in India where stars enjoy semi-divine status, but even there the hallowed silver screen might be losing its shine to streaming services and pandemic fears. “Whenever things get better and theaters begin operations, I will watch three movies a day for sure just as a way to celebrate,” said the Mumbai rickshaw driver, who is recovering from the virus himself. However, others might not join the party. With cinemas shut for months due to a COVID-19 lockdown, and little prospect they will reopen soon, frustrated Bollywood producers have turned to