GSK fined for bribery
A Chinese court yesterday fined British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 3 billion yuan (US$490 million) following a nearly year-long bribery probe, the company said. The fine, levied by the Changsha Intermediate People’s Court after a closed hearing in Hunan Province, was the largest ever handed down by a Chinese court, Xinhua news agency said. Chinese authorities had accused GSK employees of bribing hospitals, doctors and health institutions to gain billions of dollars in illegal revenue. The Changsha court also sentenced British national Mark Reilly, the former head of GSK’s China operations, and an unstated number of other company officials to between two to four years in prison.
Italy GDP to shrink 0.1%
Italy’s government must overhaul its labor market to kick-start its economy, which is set to shrink for the third year running this year, the IMF said on Thursday. GDP is expected to contract 0.1 percent, the Washington-based fund said in a report, cutting its previous forecast that Italy’s economy would expand by 0.3 percent. Unemployment is set to average a record 12.6 percent, the IMF predicted.
S Africa bank chief quitting
South African Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus on Thursday announced that she would not stay in the job after her term expires in November. Marcus, 65, became the bank’s first female governor in late 2009, guiding Africa’s most developed economy out of a recession in the wake of the global economic meltdown. South African President Jacob Zuma’s government said that a replacement would be named “in due course.”
SAP to acquire Concur
German business software maker SAP said it would buy travel and expense management software company Concur Technologies for US$129 per share, or about US$7.36 billion. That represents a premium of 19.7 percent to Concur’s closing price on Thursday. SAP values the deal at US$8.3 billion. It said the acquisition should close in the fourth quarter of this year or the first quarter of next year, assuming Concur shareholders approve the sale. SAP says Concur has 25 million users in 150 countries.
JetBlue to see CEO change
JetBlue Airways Corp CEO Dave Barger is to step down in February and be replaced by the company’s president after months of speculation about leadership at the airline, which is profitable, but has lagged its rivals. Barger has been CEO since 2007. The new CEO, just the third in JetBlue’s 14-year history, will be Robin Hayes, a 48-year-old former British Airways executive who joined JetBlue in 2008. Hayes will take over on Feb. 16, after Barger’s contract expires.
Puerto Rico plans project
Puerto Rico’s government has announced the construction of a US$108 million real-estate development project as the island tries to emerge from a nearly decade-long economic slump with help from US investors. New York real-estate developer Nicholas Prouty said on Thursday that his firm would build 252 apartments as part of the third phase of a mixed-use complex considered the largest in Puerto Rico. His Putnam Bridge Holding LLC will also build 4,645m2 of commercial space.
NOTABLE SHIFT: By 2030, 50% of all laptops would be assembled in Southeast Asia, while Taiwan would still mostly focus on research and development, a report said Global laptop and desktop computer supply chains are expected to shift significantly away from China in the next 10 years, a Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute (MIC, 產業情報研究所) report said. By 2030, only 40 percent of global laptop production would remain in China, said the report, which was released on Thursday. “The reshuffling of the global supply chain will be one of the most important trends in the next 10 years,” the institute said in the report. “In the long run, key component makers will follow laptop assemblers in moving out of China.” The Taipei-based institute predicted most key component makers
Merck Group Taiwan yesterday said that it plans to invest substantially on expanding its fab in Kaohsiung’s Lujhu District (路竹) to better serve its local customers, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電). The company said it plans to expand its production space by 50 percent in the next five years and its workforce by about 40 percent, Merck Group Taiwan managing director Dick Hsieh (謝志宏) told a media briefing in Taipei. Hsieh declined to disclose investment details, but said that the latest investment would exceed the total amount Merck has invested in Taiwan over the past few years. Those investments would be
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,
Yageo Corp (國巨), the world’s third-largest supplier of multilayer ceramic capacitors, has formed a strategic alliance with Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) to develop key electronic components for electric vehicles and digital healthcare, it said yesterday. The alliance is to help Yageo boost its revenue from high-end components for vehicles and industrial, medical and aerospace devices, as well as those used in 5G and Internet-of-Things devices, the company said. The companies signed the strategic alliance agreement at Yageo’s headquarters in New Taipei City’s Sindian District (新店). Their cooperation is to start this quarter, the companies said in a joint statement. “Through the cooperation