ABC to lay off over 400
More than 400 jobs could be lost at the Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC), the head of the organization said yesterday, after the government cut funding. Canberra last week announced the public broadcaster’s budget would be cut by A$254 million (US$221 million) over the next five years, prompting thousands to protest in Sydney and Melbourne during the weekend. ABC managing director Mark Scott yesterday said the cuts meant hundreds of jobs could be lost, while television sports broadcasts would be scaled back. “We anticipate that more than 400 people — close to 10 percent of our ongoing workforce — face potential redundancy as we adjust our activities over coming months,” he said. Scott said that ABC would also review its property holdings, with one Sydney site to be sold, while an Adelaide television production studio and five regional radio stations face closure.
BHP to cut capital spending
BHP Billiton Ltd, the world’s biggest mining company, plans to take a scalpel to capital expenditure and costs to bolster cash flows as iron ore and crude oil prices plunge. Capital expenditure will be cut to US$14.2 billion in the 12 months to June, from a previous estimate of US$14.8 billion, dropping again to US$13 billion in 2016, the producer said yesterday in a statement. The tumbling prices mean investors are seeking assurances over dividend payments and the prospect for additional returns, Sydney-based UBS AG analyst Glyn Lawcock said. The producer is targeting productivity gains of US$4 billion through June 2017, an increase of US$500 million on a previous target, Melbourne-based BHP said yesterday.
Aviva buying Friends Life
Aviva’s potential ￡5.6 billion (US$8.8 billion) purchase of Friends Life reflects a need to consolidate and cut costs in Britain’s insurance industry, fund managers said. The two companies said on Friday that they had agreed on terms of a possible all-share deal at a 15 percent premium to Friends Life’s closing price, offering Friends Life shareholders a 26 percent stake in the new company. The proposed transaction shows how insurers are having to rethink they way they do business after the British government changed rules covering annuities, which provide retirement income, causing a slide in annuity sales. Some investors were surprised at the timing of the deal given both companies are in turnaround mode. “Consolidation per se in UK life insurance is not a surprise and is necessary,” said David Moss, head of European equities at F&C, which has Aviva shares, according to Thomson Reuters data.
EU plans risk-sharing fund
The EU is planning a 21 billion euro (US$26 billion) fund to share the risks of new projects with private investors, two EU officials said. The new entity is designed to have an impact of about 15 times its size, making it the anchor of the EU’s 300 billion euro investment program, said the officials, who asked not to be named because the plans are not final. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is due to announce the three-year initiative this week. The commission will pledge as much as 16 billion euros in guarantees for the vehicle, which will also include 5 billion euros from the European Investment Bank, the officials said. Loans, lending guarantees and stakes in equity and debt will be part of its toolbox, with the goal to jumpstart private risk-taking so that stalled projects can get off the ground.
Softbank Group Corp plans to keep a stake in the chip designer Arm Ltd, even if it sells a partial interest to Nvidia Corp, the Nikkei reported. The companies are negotiating terms, the newspaper reported, citing sources. Softbank might take a stake in Nvidia after it buys Arm, the report said. Nvidia and Arm might also merge through a share swap, and Softbank would become a major shareholder in the combined company, it said. The two parties aim to reach a deal in the next few weeks, the sources said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Nvidia is the
END TO SPECULATION: The hotel’s management contract has been extended, despite reports that it wanted to end its alliance with Hyatt Hotels over a deal with Riant Capital Singapore-based Hong Leong Hotel Development Ltd (豐隆大飯店股份) yesterday said it has extended a management contract to ensure the continued presence of the Grand Hyatt brand in Taipei, ending rumors that the two sides were parting ways. “We are pleased Hyatt is able to come to terms on the extension of the management contract of Grand Hyatt Taipei,” said Kwek Leng Beng (郭令明), executive chairman of City Developments Ltd (城市發展) and Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Ltd (千禧國敦酒店). Hong Leong Hotel Development is a subsidiary of Millennium, and both fall under the Hong Leong Group (豐隆集團). The Grand Hyatt Taipei (台北君悅大飯店), owned and built by
Gold surged to a fresh record on Friday, fueled by US dollar weakness and low interest rates, while silver headed for its best month since 1979. Spot bullion is up more than 10 percent this month, as US real yields lingered near record lows. While the ferocity of rallies in gold and silver cooled in the middle of the week, most market watchers predict there might be more gains ahead. Both metals have added about 30 percent this year, with gold and silver exchange-traded funds boosting holdings to a record, as concern about the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic fuels demand for
MOVING FROM CHINA? The article did not name the company, but Foxconn, Wistron and Pegatron were among firms chosen for a production-linked incentive plan in India An Apple Inc vendor is looking at shifting six production lines to India from China, which could result in US$5 billion of iPhone exports from the South Asian nation, the Times of India reported, citing people familiar with the matter who it did not identify. The establishment of the facility would create about 55,000 jobs over about a year, the newspaper reported, not naming the Apple vendor. It would also cater to the domestic market and expand operations to include tablets and laptops, the newspaper reported. Samsung Electronics Co and Apple’s assembly partners are among 22 companies that have pledged 110 billion