Fourth McDonald’s closed
Russian authorities on Monday closed the first McDonald’s restaurant outside the capital over alleged sanitary violations in a move seen as retaliation for Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis. Consumer safety agency Rospotrebnadzor said it had temporarily closed a McDonald’s restaurant in the southern city of Stavropol, citing unspecified sanitary violations. Russia last week shut three McDonald’s outlets in Moscow and launched inspections of the company’s more than 400 restaurants across the country. While ostensibly for health reasons, the move against the US burger chain came close on the heels of the West ratcheting up sanctions on Moscow for its role in the Ukraine crisis.
Alcoa to shut Italian smelter
US aluminum giant Alcoa said on Monday that it would permanently close a smelter in Italy as it seeks to lower production costs around the world. The company had curtailed activity at the Portovesme smelter on the Italian island of Sardinia in 2012 due to its high operating costs. “The fundamental reasons that made the Portovesme smelter uncompetitive unfortunately have not changed,” Alcoa Global Primary Products president Bob Wilt said in a statement. The closure is expected to reduce Alcoa’s global smelting capacity by 150,000 tonnes to 3.6 million tonnes per year. Alcoa said it expected to book a third-quarter charge between US$170 million and US$180 million for the closure.
British service sector ebbs
Growth in services companies that form the bulk of Britain’s economy slowed in the three months to August, according to a survey yesterday that suggested the swift pace of economic recovery has eased recently. The Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) quarterly survey of more than 200 companies showed growth in business volumes slowed across a broad range of types of service, although almost all expected to see an improvement in the next three months. The CBI survey also showed companies are increasingly struggling to find the right staff, which could crimp new business volumes and capital expenditure.
Israel eases rates
Fears that weeks of fighting with Hamas will harm an Israeli economy already hurt by a global slowdown led the Bank of Israel to reduce interest rates for a second month in a row yesterday. After a surprise reduction a month ago, the central bank again lowered its benchmark short-term interest rate by a quarter-point to 0.25 percent — an all-time low. The bank forecast an expansion of 2.9 percent in GDP this year. In the second quarter, the economy grew an annualized 1.7 percent according to the government’s preliminary estimate.
Solar bids surge
Solar energy developers in Mexico are seeking approval for about 7.4 gigawatts (GW) of projects, representing 65 percent of requests to the Mexican Energy Regulatory Commission this year, El Economista said. Developers also sought permits for wind projects that aim to generate a combined 4.2GW, the Mexico City-based newspaper said on its Web site. Mexico currently has the capacity to generate 150 megawatts (MW) of solar energy, the commission said. Last week, the commission approved seven solar projects with a combined installed capacity of 220MW.
PLANNED OUT: The government is lifting sale and export restrictions on 60% of the 20 million masks made daily, but people can still make purchases using their NHI cards Twenty thousand boxes of 50 masks each would be on sale at FamilyMart convenience stores starting tomorrow, Taiwan FamilyMart Co Ltd (全家便利商店) said yesterday. A box of 50 masks would cost NT$249 for those with FamilyMart memberships and NT$299 for those without, with no limits placed on how many boxes a person can buy, the company said. Convenience store chain operator Hi-Life International Co Ltd (萊爾富) said that it would also start selling masks from tomorrow. It has yet to announce details about prices and quantity. Hypermarket chain operator Carrefour Taiwan (家樂福) said that it would start selling packs of five
Delta Electronics Inc (台達電), the nation’s leading power management solutions provider, has signed an agreement to acquire Canadian software firm Trihedral Engineering Ltd to bolster its smart production efforts, it said on Saturday. Delta said in a statement that it would acquire Trihedral for C$45 million (US$32.68 million) through its 100 percent-owned subsidiary Delta Electronics (Netherlands) BV. Trihedral specializes in supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and industrial Internet of Things software, which would strengthen Delta’s hardware offerings in fast-growing areas such as automation, artificial intelligence and data analytics, it said. “The collection, monitoring and analyzing of data are critical to Delta’s two
From the customer’s perspective, car rental is a straightforward business. The only uncertainty is whether the hire company will charge you for the scratch they discover when you hand back the vehicle. Hertz Global Holdings Inc’s bankruptcy protection filing on Friday last week was a reminder that today even the simplest business models are underpinned by a lot more financial complexity than meets the eye. The proximate cause of Hertz’s demise was of course the sudden collapse in bookings caused by COVID-19 travel restrictions. The company’s monthly revenue last month fell 73 percent year-on-year, a shortfall that even the most resilient
BOOSTING BUYING: A source said that the idea of pre-ordering vouchers online is being considered, but the preliminary plan is for people to buy them at post offices A stimulus voucher program to be rolled out next month to boost consumption would be available not only to Taiwanese, but also foreign nationals and Chinese spouses who hold residency permits, a source familiar with the matter said yesterday. The government is fine-tuning the details of the program, which involves issuing vouchers for in-store purchases to revive buying amid the COVID-19 pandemic. During a radio interview on Monday last week, National Development Council (NDC) Minister Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫) said that the plan is to allow anyone, regardless of age or income level, to buy NT$3,000 (US$99.89) worth of vouchers for