Industrial output surges
Industrial output surged 1.1 percent last month powered by manufacturing, where the automobile sector drove a fourth consecutive monthly gain, the Federal Reserve reported on Monday. The rebound came after a narrow contraction in October, and was also helped by a jump in utility output due to colder-than-average weather last month, the Fed said. The manufacturing sector gained 0.6 percent in the month, and utilities 3.9 percent.
Europe’s new car sales rise
European new car sales rose a third consecutive month last month, the longest period of gains in four years, as demand for autos from Volkswagen AG and Renault SA contributed to signs that an industrywide decline is ending. Registrations for last month increased 0.9 percent from a year earlier to 975,281 vehicles, the Brussels-based European Automobile Manufacturers Association said yesterday in a statement.
Google buys robot firm
Big Dog, a four-legged robot that can climb muddy hills, and Cheetah, a robot which can outrun the fastest human, are among the robots that now belong to Google Inc. The world’s largest Internet search company acquired Boston Dynamics, a privately held company best known for building robots that look as if they belong in a science-fiction movie and which are often co-developed or funded by the US military. The acquisition is the latest by Google’s secretive robotics division, led by Andy Rubin, the former boss of the company’s Android mobile operating system. Google’s new robotics division has acquired more than a half-dozen other robotics companies.
JPMorgan unit up for sale
JPMorgan Chase & Co is seeking to sell a global investment unit in a push to simplify operations by paring non-essential holdings, a person familiar with the matter said. JPMorgan began offering its Global Special Opportunities unit, which has about US$2 billion in assets, to potential buyers in the past few weeks, the person said. Private-equity firms Blackstone Group LP, Carlyle Group LP and KKR & Co among possible bidders for the business, which could fetch US$1 billion, the Financial Times reported on Monday, citing unidentified people familiar with the situation.
State oil monopoly broken
The government’s controversial energy reform breaking a 75-year national oil monopoly will be enacted immediately now that a majority of states have approved it, the president said on Monday. A standing committee in the Congress still has to approve the change, designed to lure foreign investment, but this is expected in a matter of days “and once it happens I will promulgate the reform immediately,” President Enrique Pena Nieto said during a visit to Turkey, according to a statement from his office.
Woman to chair Lockheed
Defense giant Lockheed Martin on Monday announced that chief executive Marillyn Hewson is to take over as chairperson of the Pentagon contractor in January. Hewson, who became the first female chief executive at Lockheed in January, is to assume the top spot on the board with the retirement of current chairman Robert Stevens.
NO VIRUS BLUES: A SEMI Taiwan official said that the virus does not slow down the global semiconductor industry’s investment in manufacturing equipment The production value of the nation’s semiconductor industry is expected to grow 16.7 percent this year from last year, outpacing the global industry’s 3.3 percent growth, industry association SEMI said yesterday. That would help Taiwan safeguard its second spot in the global semiconductor market with a production value of more than NT$3 trillion (US$102.73 billion), SEMI Taiwan president Terry Tsao (曹世綸) told a media briefing in Taipei for the Semicon Taiwan trade show beginning today. The global semiconductor industry’s production value is expected to increase to US$426 billion this year, SEMI said. In terms of semiconductor equipment investment, equipment billings from Taiwanese firms
Intel Corp has received licenses from US authorities to continue supplying certain products to Huawei Technologies Co (華為), a company spokesman said yesterday. Washington has been pushing governments around to world to squeeze out Huawei, saying that the telecom giant would hand data to Beijing for espionage. From Monday last week, new curbs have barred US companies from supplying or servicing Huawei. This week, the state-backed China Securities Journal reported that Intel had received permission to supply Huawei. China’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC, 中芯國際), which uses US-origin equipment to make chips for Huawei and other companies, last week confirmed that it had sought
INVEST IN TAIWAN: A metal components casting firm and the world’s largest maker of aluminum bicycle rims also obtained approvals to join the program Solar Applied Materials Technology Co (SOLAR, 光洋應用材料), a part of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) “green supply chain,” has pledged to invest NT$1 billion (US$34.1 million) to build a new plant at the Tainan Technology Industrial Park (台南科技工業區), the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday. SOLAR has been collaborating with TSMC to extract precious metals from waste and reuse them as “sputtering target” material in high-end semiconductor manufacturing, a TSMC press release issued in May said. Established in 1978, SOLAR also offers key materials and integrated services to customers in the optoelectronics, information and communications technology, petrochemicals and consumer electronics industries,
Swancor Renewable Energy Co (上緯新能源) yesterday announced plans for a 4.4 gigawatt (GW) offshore wind project off Miaoli County as part of its commitment toward Taiwan’s energy transformation, the company said in a statement. The “Formosa 4” project includes three deep-water wind farms 18km to 20km off the coast, Swancor Renewable CEO Lucas Lin (林雍堯) said, adding that planning for the project began last year. A proposal for Formosa 4 was this week submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the company said. Swancor Renewable jointly developed the Formosa 1 project, a 128 megawatt (MW) wind farm about 4km off Miaoli and the