UPS abandons TNT offer
Shares in package delivery company TNT Express NV lost almost half their value on Monday after United Parcel Service (UPS) decided to ditch its 5.2 billion euro (US$6.9 billion) takeover of the struggling Dutch company, citing objections from European regulators. UPS had offered in March to buy TNT, Europe’s second-largest delivery company, to better compete with Europe’s largest, Deutsche Post’s DHL. However, regulators said in October that the deal would hurt competition by reducing the number of companies in the sector. In response, UPS offered to sell parts of the company’s small package operations and airline assets. However, after meeting with regulators last Friday, UPS told TNT it saw no prospect of the deal being approved and that it was not interested in further concessions.
Toyota back at No. 1
Toyota has once again dethroned General Motors (GM) as the world’s top-selling automaker. The Japanese company sold 9.7 million cars and trucks worldwide last year, although it was still counting. GM sold 9.29 million. Both companies saw higher sales, but Toyota’s growth was far larger, as it rolled out new versions of popular models like the Camry. GM executives promised sales growth this year, especially in the US.
Seoul limits business hours
The South Korean government yesterday approved a national law restricting the operating hours of large retailers in a bid to protect small stores that say they are being pushed out of business. The law, which will take effect in three months, requires warehouse-style chains to shut stores on two Sundays a month and to limit their operating hours to 10am to midnight. The Sunday closure rule has already been adopted by many city councils, including the capital, Seoul, although several top retailers have fought it in the courts, claiming discrimination. In October, Seoul city officials cracked down on outlets of US retail giant Costco, writing up a host of minor parking and safety breaches in apparent reprisal for the company’s non-adherence to the Sunday closing.
Burberry Q3 sales rose 9%
British luxury brand Burberry posted a 9 percent rise in third-quarter underlying revenue as its wealthiest shoppers continued to spend even though some of its more aspirational consumers were impacted by faltering economies. The 157-year-old seller of raincoats and leather goods, known for its camel, red-and-black check pattern, said yesterday it made ￡613 million (US$985 million) in revenues in the three months to Dec. 31. That compared with analysts’ average forecast of ￡602 million, according to a company poll, and ￡574 million in the same period last year.
BOC orders Airbus planes
BOC Aviation, a China-owned plane-leasing company, yesterday said it had ordered 50 Airbus aircraft of the A320 family, including 25 of the more fuel-efficient “neos.” The statement did not disclose the amount of the transaction, but price tags in last year’s catalogue ranged from US$4.41 billion for 50 classic A320s to US$5.66 billion for 50 A321neos. It said an announcement on the exact make-up of the order, which is scheduled for delivery between the second half of next year and the end of 2019, would be made later. The order was the first by BOC Aviation for Airbus’ new engine option.
ELECTRONICS Lite-On delays sale of unit Lite-On Technology Corp (光寶科技) yesterday said it would postpone the sale of its solid-state drives (SSD) business to Kioxia Holdings Corp, formerly known as Toshiba Memory Holdings Corp, due to disruptions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the Taiwan-based electronics components supplier struck the deal with the Japanese firm, agreeing to sell the unit for US$165 million. Citing unfinished integration work due to the pandemic, Lite-On has deferred today’s closing date until further notice, adding that the delay would not have a negative effect on the unit’s operations. AUTO PARTS Hiroca approves dividend Automotive interior parts supplier Hiroca
NOT ALL GOOD: Analysts warned that other data for last month might be less rosy due to the virus and analysts expect the PMI to contract again next month Chinese factory activity saw surprise growth last month as businesses went back to work following a lengthy shutdown, but analysts said that the economy faces a challenging recovery as external demand has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, while the World Bank said that growth could screech to a halt. China is slowly returning to life after months of tough restrictions aimed at containing the virus, which put millions of people into virtual house arrest and brought economic activity to a near standstill. The strict measures saw a closely watched gauge of manufacturing plunge to its lowest level on record in February,
ALL ABOUT STRATEGY: The company is optimistic, saying that its gross margin should increase year-on-year, but it is scaling back on its plans to expand capacity Quang Viet Enterprise Co (QVE, 廣越), which makes down jackets and garments for sportswear and outdoor brands including Adidas AG, yesterday said that revenue might drop 5 to 10 percent annually this year as some customers trimmed orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. That would mark its first revenue decline since 2016. Quang Viet posted record-high revenue of NT$16.26 billion (US$537.45 million) last year, up 22 percent from 2018. Down jackets made up 40 percent of it revenue last year. North Face Inc and Patagonia Inc are this year likely to reduce orders by 20 to 30 percent from a
Taipei 101, one of the nation’s leading shopping centers, is planning to reduce its business hours due to decreased demand amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Taipei 101 is to open daily at noon and close at 9pm from April 6, building management said in a statement on Monday. The shopping center has been opening at 11am and closing at 9:30pm from Sunday to Thursday, while closing at 10pm on Friday and Saturday. The restaurants in the food court — on the basement level — would adjust their business hours as necessary, but the supermarket would continue to open at 9am daily, management said. The shopping