HSBC eyes Sri Lanka debt
HSBC Holdings PLC, Europe’s biggest bank, plans to expand sales of debt issued by Sri Lankan companies to investors abroad as the island’s resurgent economy boosts demand for financing. The lender is targeting the country’s financial firms and the tourism industry with overseas US dollar bonds and syndications, said Nick Nicolaou, who heads HSBC’s Sri Lanka operations. The London-based bank is focusing on funds of three-year tenure or more, Nicolaou said, without naming specific companies. Sri Lanka’s economy grew 8.4 percent in the quarter to Sept. 30 as the end of a 26-year civil war in 2009 spurs infrastructure spending and encourages tourism and consumer demand. Sri Lanka’s US$1 billion sale of 10-year US dollar bonds in July, co-arranged by HSBC, attracted bids for more than seven times the amount on offer.
RBS chief to get US$1.51m
Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (RBS) chief executive Stephen Hester will receive a bonus of ￡963,000 (US$1.51 million) for last year, less than half of his 2010 payout. The all-stock award of 3.6 million shares, whose value was based on the closing price on Wednesday, will be deferred until 2014, Edinburgh-based RBS said in a statement on Thursday. Hester, 51, took a ￡2 million bonus for 2010, his first since replacing Fred Goodwin in 2008. He made ￡1.22 million in salary last year. British Prime Minister David Cameron has urged executives at state-controlled RBS to show restraint on pay at a time when real household incomes are falling and public spending is being squeezed. Cameron this month said Hester’ bonus should not exceed ￡1 million this year.
Twitter to limit tweets
Twitter announced on Thursday that it would begin restricting Tweets in certain countries, marking a policy shift for the social media platform that helped propel the popular uprisings recently sweeping across the Middle East. “As we continue to grow internationally, we will enter countries that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression,” Twitter wrote in a blog post. Twitter gave as examples of restrictions it might cooperate with “certain types of content, such as France or Germany, which ban pro-Nazi content.” Twitter’s decision to begin censoring content represents a significant departure from its policy just one year ago, when anti-government protesters in Tunisia, Egypt and other Arab countries coordinated mass demonstrations through the social network and, in the process, thrust Twitter’s disruptive potential into the global spotlight.
Tax revenue jumped 7.9%
German tax revenue last year surged more than Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government estimated, led by intake at federal level, the Ministry of Finance said. Revenue rose 7.9 percent to 525.4 billion euros (US$691 billion), beating a growth target of 7.5 percent, the ministry said yesterday in its monthly report. Tax income increased 4.1 percent last month from a year earlier to 70.8 billion euros, a slower pace than in November amid more subdued growth, it said. Economic data “point to an economic weakening” in the final quarter of last year and the first three months of this year, the ministry said. Business sentiment suggests “that the pace of economic expansion in Germany will increase again in the course of this year, supported by accelerating global growth,” it said.