Moody’s warns Japan
Moody’s Investors Service said Japan must make progress in containing the world’s largest public debt burden after the government compiled a budget that showed a record level of reliance on debt sales. “Without improvement, there would be downward pressures on the rating,” Moody’s senior vice president Thomas Byrne said in an interview, while reiterating the nation’s “Aa3” rating with a stable outlook. “We will be watching developments in the course of this fiscal year, especially tax reform measures” and a recovery which could be hurt by a slowdown in Europe, the US and China, he said.
Toyota unveils Aqua model
Toyota Motor Corp, Asia’s largest automaker, was scheduled to start selling its smallest hybrid car in Japan yesterday to compete with Honda Motor Co for younger consumers seeking an entry-level fuel-efficient vehicle. The Aqua compact hybrid, to be marketed as the Prius C in the US, will cost from ￥1.69 million (US$21,700), Toyota said in a statement. The company aims to sell 12,000 Aquas a month in its home market. Honda’s Fit compact car, sold in hybrid and conventional gasoline-engine versions, outsold the larger Prius in the first six months of this year in Japan, underscoring consumer demand for smaller fuel-efficient cars.
Japan Hotel shares surge
Shares in Japan Hotel & Resort Inc, a real estate investment trust, surged the most in eight months after the firm said it would merge with Nippon Hotel Fund Investment Corp to boost its asset size and share performance. Japan Hotel jumped 5.8 percent, the most since April 22, to ￥164,900 in Tokyo. Nippon Hotel gained 1.2 percent to ￥187,300, but has declined 29 percent this year. Nippon Hotel plans to split its shares into 12 and sell 1.16 million new shares to pay for the acquisition, the companies said in a joint statement on Thursday. The transaction is valued at ￥17.5 billion based on Nippon Hotel’s closing price on Wednesday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Japan Hotel will be delisted by March 28, according the statement.
Agthia Group to buy Pelit Su
Abu Dhabi state-backed food and drink company Agthia Group is to buy Turkish spring water producer Pelit Su for an undisclosed amount. Agthia said on Sunday that it expected to acquire all of Pelit Su’s shares during the first half of next year. Financial details were not disclosed. Agthia chairman Rashed Mubarak al-Hajeri said the deal was in line with the company’s plans to expand its geographic reach. Agthia’s business is currently focused on the Arab Gulf states and Egypt. Pelit Su is a family-run bottled water producer established in 2009.
Half billion deficit forecast
The government expects to run a budget deficit of nearly half-a-billion US dollars next year as it works to move beyond its financial difficulties. The nation’s official media office said on Sunday that the projected 1.83 billion dirham (US$499 million) deficit would be less than half of its shortfall this year. The emirate expects to spend 32.26 billion dirhams next year while bringing in 30.43 billion dirhams, mainly through service fees, customs duties, oil revenues and dividends paid by its state-run companies.