UBS Trader jailed for fraud
UBS trader Kweku Adoboli was jailed for seven years on Tuesday for the biggest fraud in British history, which cost the Swiss bank US$2.3 billion. The 32-year-old had admitted trading far in excess of authorized risk limits and booking fictitious trades to hide his true positions, but said everything he did was to make profits for UBS and was in line with the bank’s culture. Tom Naratil, the bank’s chief financial officer, told the court during the trial that Adoboli’s losses had precipitated some job cuts and led to smaller bonuses for remaining staff. UBS has now axed 10,000 jobs and plans to wind down much of its investment bank. It says that is not linked to the Adoboli case, but bank sources say it would not have happened without the management shake-up caused by the rogue trading scandal.
Philippine bank eyes deal
Bank of the Philippine Islands is in talks with billionaire Lucio Tan (陳永裁), who controls Philippine National Bank and Allied Banking Corp, on a deal that could create the nation’s largest lender. “We confirm discussions with the Lucio Tan Group,” Bank of the Philippine Islands said in a stock-exchange disclosure. Philippine National confirmed the talks in a separate filing. Shares of both banks were suspended in Manila trading yesterday upon their requests, the stock exchange said. Philippine Daily Inquirer reported yesterday that Bank of the Philippine Islands is in advanced talks to acquire a majority stake in Philippine National Bank. The two banks had a combined market value of 370 billion pesos (US$8.9 million) as of Tuesday.
Toshiba unveils safety robot
Toshiba Corp’s four-legged robot is designed to help at the meltdown-crippled Japanese nuclear plant, climbing over debris and venturing into radiated areas off-limits to human workers. Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), the utility that operates the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, said it was considering using the robot to look at a highly radiated part of the plant called the suppression chamber. Toshiba, which also makes reactors, said it was ready to go if TEPCO said so.
Sales fall in South Korea
Sales at major South Korean department stores declined for a fifth month last month as the slowest economic growth in three years damped sentiment. Outlays at the three biggest chains declined 0.4 percent from a year earlier last month after a 0.8 percent drop in September, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said yesterday. Discount-store sales declined 6.6 percent last month, the report showed. South Koreans may still wait until after a presidential vote next month and for a budget compromise in the US before spending more, said Lee Sang Jae, a Seoul-based economist at Hyundai Securities Co.
Hostess negotiations fail
Hostess Brands Inc, the maker of Twinkies and other snack cakes, said late on Tuesday that it failed to reach an agreement with its second-biggest union. As a result, Hostess was set to continue with a hearing yesterday in which a bankruptcy court judge in White Plains, New York, will decide if the company can shutter its operations. The renewed talks between Hostess and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union came after the company declared last week that it would move to wind down its business and start selling off its assets in bankruptcy court.