India maintains key rate
The Reserve Bank of India left its key interest rate unchanged yesterday owing to inflation concerns, thwarting hopes of a rate cut to kickstart flagging growth in Asia’s third-largest economy. The central bank said the policy repo rate — at which it makes short-term loans to banks — would remain unchanged at 8 percent, and the cash reserve ratio — the ratio of cash banks must keep on hand — would stay at 4.75 percent. The bank also took a step to improve credit flow to exporters by raising the cap on banks’ export credit refinancing from 15 percent to 50 percent, effective June 30. The bank said the move would provide domestic banks with 300 billion rupees (US$5.4 billion) of additional liquidity.
Tesco announces Japan exit
Britain’s biggest retailer Tesco yesterday announced that it had finally struck a deal to exit its Japanese business. Tesco said in a statement that it would exit Japan in two stages — first by selling 50 percent of its shares in Tesco Japan to Aeon — Japan’s biggest retail group — for a nominal amount. Once in the joint venture with Aeon, Tesco said it would then invest about ￡40 million (US$63 million) into the Japanese business to finance further restructuring. Thereafter, Tesco said that it would have no further financial exposure to the Japanese business. Completion of the transaction remains subject to normal regulatory approval.
HK firm vows to fight Macau
A Hong Kong property company whose billionaire chairman is facing corruption charges is vowing to fight the Macau government’s attempt to take back a land grant related to the case. Chinese Estates Holdings Ltd (華人置業集團) said on late on Sunday it would be “strongly opposing” the government’s proposal to cancel the contracts for land where it is building luxury apartments. The Macau government told the company on Friday of its plans. The company said it has already invested HK$2.8 billion (US$360 million) in the project. Macau prosecutors charged chairman Joseph Lau (劉鑾雄) last month with bribery and money laundering. He allegedly offered a bribe to Macau’s former public works chief to clear the land deal.
New finance boss for Man
Man Group has named a new finance director on the day Europe’s largest listed hedge fund manager was due to exit Britain’s blue-chip trading index after an extended period of poor performance at its flagship fund AHL. Jonathan Sorrell, currently Man’s head of strategy and corporate finance, in an unexpected move is taking the role from Kevin Hayes, who is leaving the company with immediate effect to pursue other professional and personal interests, Man said in a statement. The US$21 billion “black box” fund, named after 1980s founders Michael Adam, David Harding and Martin Lueck, is down an estimated 1.4 percent so far this year, after losing 6.4 percent last year.
Takeda to cut Pfizer drugs
Takeda Pharmaceutical Co, Japan’s biggest drugmaker, yesterday said it would stop distributing 13 Pfizer Inc drugs it now sells in Japan at the end of this year and Pfizer itself will begin selling them from next year. The 13 drugs include antibiotic Minomycin, anticancer agents Torisel and Mylotarg, and depression treatment