Westports launches IPO
Malaysia’s Westports Holdings Bhd started taking orders yesterday for a US$630 million initial public offering (IPO), which is expected to be one of the country’s biggest share sales this year. Westports said in a statement that it is offering 813.2 million shares at a price of up to 2.50 ringgit. The listing on the Malaysian Stock Exchange has been scheduled for Oct. 18, said the company, which manages the shipping terminal at the country’s main port of Klang and is partly owned by Asia’s richest man, Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing (李嘉誠). Up to 710.9 million shares are to be offered to institutional investors, while the rest has been earmarked for the public.
Trade deficit swells
The nation’s trade deficit swelled to a larger-than-forecast ￥960.3 billion (US$9.8 billion) last month as imports outpaced the growth in exports. Boosted by higher fuel costs, imports rose 16 percent from a year earlier to ￥6.74 trillion, while exports climbed 14.7 percent to ￥5.78 trillion. The deficit was a quarter bigger than the ￥768.4 billion gap seen in August last year. Japan’s trade accounts fell into deficit as costs for importing crude oil and natural gas soared following the closure of nuclear plants after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that led to meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.
SEC seeking CEO pay data
Regulators proposed a new rule on Wednesday to force companies to reveal how much their chief executives are paid in relation to other employees. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) voted 3-2 in favor of the proposed measure, which was mandated in the Dodd-Frank Act, the vast financial regulation overhaul approved in 2010 following the Wall Street crisis. Public companies are already required to disclose the compensation of their chief executives and other executive officers to the SEC. The commission announced a 60-day period for receiving comments on the proposal, before deciding whether to implement it.
McDonald’s ups its dividend
McDonald’s Corp is raising its quarterly cash dividend by 5 percent, bringing its fourth-quarter payout to more than US$800 million. The world’s largest hamburger chain said its quarterly dividend would increase to US$0.81 from US$0.77 for an annual total of US$3.24 per share. It will make the next payout on Dec. 16 to shareholders of record at Dec. 2. McDonald’s expects to return between US$4.5 billion and US$5 billion to its shareholders through dividends and stock repurchases this year. McDonald’s has raised its dividend every year since making its first payout in 1976. In July, the company reported a 4 percent rise in second-quarter profit, but missed expectations and warned of a tough year ahead,.
Oracle profit beats forecasts
Higher software revenue helped lift Oracle Corp’s fiscal first-quarter net income by 8 percent. The business software maker’s adjusted profit beat Wall Street forecasts, while its revenue fell short. For the quarter ended Aug. 31, the company earned US$2.19 billion, or earnings per share of US$0.47, up from US$2.03 billion, or US$0.41 per share, in the same quarter last year. Revenue increased 2 percent to US$8.37 billion from US$8.18 billion. The company also said on Wednesday that its board had declared a quarterly cash dividend of US$0.12.