Finance chief sworn in
Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras was yesterday sworn into office, along with two deputy ministers. Stournaras’ televised oath-taking ceremony at the presidential mansion in Athens was the first time Prime Minister Antonis Samaras appeared in public since undergoing eye surgery nearly two weeks ago, shortly after forming a coalition government with another two parties following inconclusive national elections. Stournaras, a prominent economist, was to hold his first meeting yesterday with Greece’s international debt inspectors from the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the IMF.
Volvo to sell Aero to GKN
Swedish truck maker AB Volvo yesterday said it would sell its aeronautics unit Aero to British engineering group GKN for 6.9 billion kronor (US$995 million) in a move to focus more on its core heavy vehicle operations. The company said the deal would be completed this quarter and was expected to generate a capital gain of about 400 million kronor. Volvo said GKN won a bidding process to acquire the unit, adding that it offered the best conditions for Volvo Aero’s development and future.
GM posts record PRC sales
US auto giant General Motors (GM) yesterday said that sales in China for the first half of this year reached a record 1.42 million vehicles, despite an economic slowdown in the world’s biggest car market. GM’s sales in the country jumped 11.3 percent in the first six months from a year earlier, it said in a statement. For last month alone, its China sales rose 10.1 percent year-on-year to 213,495 vehicles, also setting a new record for the month, GM said.
Cancer drug disappoints
German pharmaceuticals maker Merck KGaA yesterday said that phase III clinical trials of its gastric cancer drug Erbitux had shown no benefits for patients. The trials found that in combination with standard chemotherapy, Erbitux did not extend “the length of time that patients live without their disease getting worse,” Merck KGaA said in a statement.
Manila lauds S&P upgrade
The Philippines said a credit rating upgrade by Standard & Poor’s (S&P) would help the country carry out reforms without weakening its financial position. The agency on Wednesday raised the Philippines’ long-term foreign currency credit rating to “BB+” from “BB,” one notch below investment grade. It kept the rating outlook at stable. Presidential spokesman Ricky Carandang said that while some other countries are being forced to tighten belts to get high debt under control, the Philippines can still afford to undertake public spending without jeopardizing its overall financial position.
Temasek’s profit drops
Singapore state investment company Temasek Holdings said growth in the value of its investments slowed in the last fiscal year as a weakening global economy undermined the value of Asian companies. Temasek said in its annual report yesterday that the value of its investments rose 2.6 percent to S$198 billion (US$157 billion) in the fiscal year ended March 31. The portfolio rose 3.8 percent in the previous year. Temasek said its net profit fell to S$11 billion from S$13 billion the previous year amid lower earnings from the companies it has stakes in.
Gogoro Inc (睿能創意) yesterday launched its first electric bicycle, the Gogoro Eeyo 1, in Taiwan, after unveiling the bike in New York in late May and in France on Tuesday. The company said it would also introduce the series in other European countries such as Germany and the Netherlands. The “Eeyo project” is the fourth of Gogoro’s eight projects that concentrate on smart transportation, which includes Gogoro’s electric scooter, battery swap system and electric scooter sharing service, company founder and chief executive officer Horace Luke (陸學森) told a media briefing in Taipei. “There are various types of city commuters. We will not
EXPERIMENTAL DRUG: While news about a COVID-19 vaccine is more eye-catching, developing a treatment would be more viable, the Senhwa boss said Senhwa Biosciences Inc (生華科) aims to raise NT$1.5 billion (US$50.57 million) by issuing 15 million new common shares in the third quarter of this year to fund the research of new drugs, including the experimental drug Silmitasertib for the treatment of COVID-19, the company said on Monday. That would be the firm’s largest fundraising effort after it raised more than NT$1.4 billion from an initial public offering on the Taipei Exchange (TPEX) in April 2017, chief financial officer Sarah Chang (張小萍) told the Taipei Times by telephone. The price of the new shares would depend on the firm’s average share price
NOT A PANACEA: Offering 5G services would not solve the problem of declining telecom incomes, chairman Sheih Chi-mau said, expecting a flat 5G telecom revenue Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) yesterday became the nation’s first telecom to debut its 5G services, offering tiered tariffs that include a threshold of NT$599 and flat rates, as it aims to switch half of its subscribers to the 5G network within three years. Subscribers would have unlimited data transmission for monthly fees starting at NT$1,399 — the same flat rate as when the company launched its 4G service in 2014 — and they can subscribe to the highest-rate plan for NT$2,699 per month for faster data transmission speeds and larger bandwidth, the company said. Data transmission speeds would be within the range
STAYING AHEAD: TSMC expects its sales this year to grow 14 to 19 percent and could spend up to US$3.52 billion on research and development, leaving its rivals far behind Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) reported that the US last year approved 99 percent of its patent applications, which placed the tech giant among the top patent holders in the US. In its Corporate Social Responsibility Report, TSMC said it last year secured about 3,600 patents worldwide, including more than 2,300 in the US. As of the end of last year, TSMC owned more than 39,000 patents, the report said. The company last year filed almost 6,500 patent applications worldwide and ranked among the top 10 patent applicants in the US. In Taiwan, it was the largest patent applicant for the fourth