Kuwaiti revenues drop 4.4%
Kuwait’s revenues dropped 4.4 percent in the first half of the fiscal year due to sliding oil prices, but the emirate still reported a healthy provisional surplus. Official figures posted yesterday on the Ministry of Finance’s Web site put April-September public income at 15.1 billion Kuwaiti dinars (US$52.1 billion) compared with 15.8 billion dinars in the same period a year ago. Oil income, which accounts for 94 percent of revenues, dropped 5.3 percent to 14.2 billion dinars in the first half from 15 billion dinars previously, the new figures show. Despite the fall, the emirate still managed to post a provisional budget surplus of 9 billion dinars. Spending was 6.1 billion dinars, up 19.6 percent on last year’s 5.1 billion dinars. The sharp dive in global oil prices did not reflect fully in the government’s figures because most of the slump took place last month and deepened this month.
UBS may recall bonuses
UBS, one of six banks fined last week for attempting to manipulate foreign exchange markets, on Saturday said it was considering taking back bonuses from traders over the scandal. The bank confirmed a report in Financial Times stating that it was one of five fined banks looking into clawing back millions of dollars in bonuses from individual traders. A spokeswoman said the bank would especially aim to cancel the payment of deferred bonuses in cases where wrongdoing was found. Another of the fined banks, Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS), hinted it could take similar action. “We are still working our way through disciplinary and accountability processes involving over 50 employees and their managers,” RBS boss Ross McEwan said in a statement on Friday.
Privatization plan outlined
The government will start a privatization plan by selling stakes in regional airports and companies in which it holds double voting rights, Minister of the Economy, Industry and Employment Emmanuel Macron was quoted as saying in an interview published on Saturday in Le Monde. The government will not start by selling shares in nuclear operator Electricite de France SA or lottery company Francaise des Jeux, according to the interview. The state has “room to maneuver” on the planned stake sales which could be used to lower debt and invest in priority areas. Macron last month said the Treasury will sell between 5 billion and 10 billion euros (US$6.26 billion to US$12.5) of state assets within 18 months as a way to raise funds to cut debt and invest in sectors to develop the economy. Paris has stakes in 74 firms, of which 13 are listed entities whose state holdings were worth 76.4 billion euros as of Friday, according to the Agence des Participations de l’Etat, which manages the portfolio.
Moody’s upgrade praised
The government has hailed rating agency Moody’s three-notch upgrade of the bailed-out nation’s credit grade as validation of its adherence to the terms of its rescue. Moody’s said the upgrade to “B3” from “Caa3” with a stable outlook reflects the progress so far in shoring up the island’s finances and buttressing a hobbled banking sector. Deputy government spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos on Saturday said the nation remains “firm and steady” to the terms of its 10 billion euro bailout because it is not out of the woods. Even with the upgrade, the rating is still “junk,” or non-investment grade. Moody’s said the nation still faces a weak economic outlook and a growing number of bad loans.
Sercomm profit hits high
Sercomm Corp (中磊), the nation’s biggest telecommunications equipment manufacturer, reported a record-high net profit of NT$239 million (US$7.77 million) last quarter. The company attributed the strong showing to soaring demand for telecom equipment such as fiber optic and commercial networking products. With last quarter’s result, Sercomm’s combined net profit for the first three quarters of the year hit another all-time high of NT$695 million.
E Ink profits on tax gains
E Ink Holdings Inc (元太科技), the world’s top e-paper display manufacturer, posted a second profitable quarter last quarter due to tax gains. The company’s net income grew 18 percent last quarter to NT$100 million, including a tax gain of NT$393 million, compared with the NT$85 million it posted in the second quarter, a financial statement it released last week showed. However, excluding the tax gains, E Ink actually lost NT$306 million last quarter after booking an impairment loss of NT$977 million from selling assets of its South Korean flat-panel manufacturing arm, Hydis Technologies Co.
Upgrade plan unveiled
A series of seminars will be held later this month to help local industries upgrade as part of government efforts to mitigate the potential impact of an impending free-trade agreement between China and South Korea, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday. According to the ministry, a task force is to start offering upgrade services later this month and will also host five seminars — two each in central and southern Taiwan, and one in the north — early next month.
Gogoro Inc (睿能創意) yesterday launched its first electric bicycle, the Gogoro Eeyo 1, in Taiwan, after unveiling the bike in New York in late May and in France on Tuesday. The company said it would also introduce the series in other European countries such as Germany and the Netherlands. The “Eeyo project” is the fourth of Gogoro’s eight projects that concentrate on smart transportation, which includes Gogoro’s electric scooter, battery swap system and electric scooter sharing service, company founder and chief executive officer Horace Luke (陸學森) told a media briefing in Taipei. “There are various types of city commuters. We will not
EXPERIMENTAL DRUG: While news about a COVID-19 vaccine is more eye-catching, developing a treatment would be more viable, the Senhwa boss said Senhwa Biosciences Inc (生華科) aims to raise NT$1.5 billion (US$50.57 million) by issuing 15 million new common shares in the third quarter of this year to fund the research of new drugs, including the experimental drug Silmitasertib for the treatment of COVID-19, the company said on Monday. That would be the firm’s largest fundraising effort after it raised more than NT$1.4 billion from an initial public offering on the Taipei Exchange (TPEX) in April 2017, chief financial officer Sarah Chang (張小萍) told the Taipei Times by telephone. The price of the new shares would depend on the firm’s average share price
NOT A PANACEA: Offering 5G services would not solve the problem of declining telecom incomes, chairman Sheih Chi-mau said, expecting a flat 5G telecom revenue Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) yesterday became the nation’s first telecom to debut its 5G services, offering tiered tariffs that include a threshold of NT$599 and flat rates, as it aims to switch half of its subscribers to the 5G network within three years. Subscribers would have unlimited data transmission for monthly fees starting at NT$1,399 — the same flat rate as when the company launched its 4G service in 2014 — and they can subscribe to the highest-rate plan for NT$2,699 per month for faster data transmission speeds and larger bandwidth, the company said. Data transmission speeds would be within the range
ROW: A probe would determine if the rights of shareholders who were not allowed to vote yesterday had been violated, while the stock exchange also wants answers The election of board directors yesterday at Tatung Co (大同) sparked controversy after the company blocked some institutional and individual shareholders from participating in the general shareholders’ meeting, prompting the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) to announce that the vote would be investigated. Lin Kuo Wen-yen (林郭文艷) was re-elected as chairwoman of the household-appliance maker’s nine-member board, but prior to the vote she announced that several shareholders would not have voting rights. They were being denied a vote because they had contravened the Business Mergers and Acquisitions Act (企業併購法), and the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and