Vekselberg quits RUSAL
Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg yesterday quit as chairman of the world’s largest aluminum producer, UC RUSAL, saying the heavily indebted company was in deep crisis after a long battle with fellow oligarch Oleg Deripaska. The resignation tightens Deripaska’s grip on RUSAL, but the company faces a struggle to recover because of a fall in global aluminum prices and its large debt, acquired a stake in Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest nickel and palladium miner. “I regret to say at this time that RUSAL is in a deep crisis, caused by the actions of the management,” said Vekselberg, who has a 15.8 percent stake in the company along with his partners. In response, RUSAL issued a statement, accusing Vekselberg of failing to fulfill the role of chairman and indicating that he would have been removed in any case.
Tokyo can buy China bonds
Tokyo said yesterday it had won approval from Beijing to buy Chinese government bonds for the first time, in a move aimed at binding Asia’s two biggest economies and traditional rivals closer together. Tokyo was cleared to buy Chinese government bond issues worth US$10.3 billion, Minister of Finance Jun Azumi said in Tokyo. Under the deal, Beijing gave the nod for Tokyo to buy 65 billion yuan (US$10.3 billion) in Chinese public debt, but completing the purchase “will take several months” because of administrative requirements, he said. China has already been investing in Japanese government debt in an apparent bid to diversify some of its currency reserves — the world’s biggest — into yen amid concerns about Europe’s debt crisis and prospects for the US dollar.
Inflation rate falls again
The inflation rate unexpectedly fell for a second month. Consumer prices rose 2.5 percent from a year earlier based on EU methodology, compared with a 2.6 percent increase in January, Paris-based national statistics office INSEE said yesterday. Economists had forecast a 2.6 percent gain, the median of 18 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey showed. Prices rose 0.5 percent in the month after declining 0.4 percent in January.
Brazil urged to boost sector
Brazil’s National Confederation of Industry (CNI) on Monday called for the government to bolster the industrial sector, which has been reeling from the country’s economic slowdown and the rise of the real. “We cannot let the Brazilian industry collapse,” CNI president Robson Braga said in remarks released by the confederation. He urged the government to take measures, including hastening the delivery of environmental licenses and to introduce incentives to boot investment in infrastructure and reduce red tape.
Stress tests to be published
The Federal Reserve said it would release results tomorrow of its so-called stress tests of the nation’s 19 largest banks. The Fed conducts the tests on banks every year, but this is the first time since 2009 it will release its results to the public. Among the scenarios the tests imagine are 13 percent unemployment, much higher than today’s 8.3 percent, and a 50 percent drop in stock prices. The Fed can stop banks from paying stock dividends or buying back their own stock if they fail the test.
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