Serbia takes US$300m loan
The World Bank has approved a US$300 million 30-year loan to help Serbia recover from floods in May that killed 57 people and devastated its energy sector, the lender said in a statement on Saturday. The heaviest rainfall in living memory caused rivers to burst their banks and sweep away roads, bridges and homes, causing damage estimated at US$1.88 billion. The cost means the Serbian economy is expected to contract this year, further complicating government efforts to rein in a budget deficit seen at more than 8 percent of national output. The loan, which was approved on Friday and has a grace period of 18 years, will help meet domestic energy demand, protect farmers and assets in areas affected by flooding, and improve the Balkan country’s capacity to respond to disasters. The project will support imports of electro power worth US$150.18 million to improve power supplies and avert an energy crisis, the World Bank said it its statement.
Iran to quadruple exports
Iran is increasing steel exports and courting foreign investors in an ambitious bid to quadruple steel output in a decade and replace at least a small part of the massive revenue it loses due to sanctions on its oil sales. A developing economy heavily reliant on construction, the Islamic Republic exported an average of 1.35 million tonnes of steel in 2011 and 2012, according to a presentation by Iran’s top steelmaker, Mobarakeh Steel. By contrast it exported 1.26 million tonnes of steel during the first seven months of this year, data from the Iran Steel Producers Association showed.
JPMorgan not only victim
About nine other banks and brokerages were infiltrated by the same group of hackers who recently attacked computer systems at JPMorgan Chase & Co, the New York Times reported late on Friday, citing unnamed people briefed on the matter. The report, which could not be independently verified and did not identify any of the victims beyond JPMorgan, said it was not clear how serious the attacks had been. JPMorgan said on Thursday that names and contact information for some 83 million household and small business customers were stolen, making it one of the biggest data breaches in history. The New York Times said the breadth of the attacks and uncertainty about the motives of the hackers are troubling US policymakers and intelligence officials.
Banamex gets new CEO
After Javier Arrigunaga resigned as chief executive officer of Grupo Financiero Banamex, the most senior departure stemming from an alleged US$400 million fraud disclosed in February, he will be succeeded by Ernesto Torres Cantu, who joined the company about 25 years ago, the New York-based Citigroup Inc said on Friday in a statement. Torres, 50, will also take Arrigunaga’s place on Citigroup’s operating committee, according to a person briefed on the matter who asked not to identified speaking on personnel matters. Both are based in Mexico City. Citigroup is investigating the alleged fraud, which involved loans to oil-services provider Oceanografia SA. Chief executive officer Michael Corbat has pledged to hold employees accountable and the bank has dismissed at least a dozen so far. A judge has ordered the company to turn over internal records to an Oklahoma pension fund that is suing the bank over the case.
Polytronics Technology Corp (聚鼎科技) yesterday announced that it is buying Henkel AG’s thermal clad dielectric material (TCLAD) business division for US$26 million as the Taiwanese firm aims to improve its technology, product portfolio and revenue performance. Polytronics, headquartered in the Hsinchu Science Park (新竹科學園區), is a supplier of protection components and heat dissipation materials. The firm entered the metallic heat-dissipation substrate market in 2007 and developed a unique solventless production process. Its board of directors approved signing an agreement with Henkel to acquire the German chemical firm’s TCLAD division in the US. The purchase includes all assets and business interests, including equipment,
SIZE MATTERS: Medium-sized hotels that do not have the support of parent groups are more vulnerable and are forced to take action, a REPro Knight Frank researcher said About 50 hotels across Taiwan are seeking to exit the market as they succumb to the bleak business outlook amid international travel restrictions imposed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Yomi Hotel (優美飯店) on Minsheng E Road, Sec 1, in Taipei is seeking to transfer ownership with an asking price of NT$950 million (US$32.15 million) and a pledge for a lease contract that guarantees a 3 percent return. The budget hotel, with room rates that start from NT$1,400 per night, maintains normal operations, but has been struggling since March, when the government placed restrictions on inbound and outbound travel. Occupancy rates for hotels in
With the US dollar expected to weaken in the next 12 months due to near-zero interest rates, investors should consider purchasing US corporate bonds, Standard Chartered Bank Taiwan Ltd (渣打台灣銀行) said on Thursday. The bank said that the US Federal Reserve since last month has been buying bonds issued by US companies to curb default rates. The US dollar is forecast to be weaker against the pound, the euro and the yen, as well as the Canadian dollar, the Swedish krona and the Swiss franc, as the greenback lacks high investment returns after the Fed in March slashed the benchmark interest rate
A Bollywood actor’s face tattooed on his arm, Sandeep Bacche’s devotion shocks few in India where stars enjoy semi-divine status, but even there the hallowed silver screen might be losing its shine to streaming services and pandemic fears. “Whenever things get better and theaters begin operations, I will watch three movies a day for sure just as a way to celebrate,” said the Mumbai rickshaw driver, who is recovering from the virus himself. However, others might not join the party. With cinemas shut for months due to a COVID-19 lockdown, and little prospect they will reopen soon, frustrated Bollywood producers have turned to