Wal-Mart cuts China jobs
Wal-Mart Stores Inc plans to cut 250 jobs in China to improve efficiency. The reductions are set to mostly come from merchandising and marketing divisions, after buying functions were consolidated into the Shenzhen headquarters to improve quality and food safety, Ray Bracy, a spokesman for Wal-Mart in China said by telephone yesterday. The company would also cut some jobs in departments including tax and asset protection, he said. Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart is working to raise food safety standards in China after fox DNA was found in meat it was selling as donkey. The job cuts disclosed yesterday affect low and mid-level workers and follow dismissals of about 30 senior executives last month in China amid an Asia revamp that includes store closures in Japan and management changes in India. Separately, Wal-Mart said it plans to open nine new stores and a new distribution center in China this month, bringing new facilities this year to 31.
Microsoft buys Accompli
Microsoft Corp on Monday said it was buying the mobile e-mail management application Accompli, in a deal reported to be worth more than US$200 million. The deal gives Microsoft a startup to better help people manage their mail on handsets using Google Android or Apple iOS operating systems. “In a world where more than half of e-mail messages are first read on a mobile device, it’s essential to give people fantastic e-mail experiences wherever they go,” Microsoft vice president Rajesh Jha said in a blog post.
GIC to acquire IndCor
Singapore’s GIC Pte has agreed to buy IndCor Properties Inc from Blackstone Group LP for US$8.1 billion, Blackstone said in a statement yesterday, adding that the purchase is expected to close in the first quarter next year. The agreement ends the prospect of an initial public offering for IndCor, which had been planning a share sale valuing the company at about US$8 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said in August. GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, is gaining warehouses across the US as demand for industrial space climbs from Web retailers and other customers. Chicago-based IndCor owns about 10.9 million square meters of buildings in 29 markets. For Blackstone, the deal allows it to exit a major investment at a profit as it invests in a new series of property funds.
Shale investors face losses
Bond investors who helped finance the US shale boom are facing potential losses of US$8.5 billion as oil prices plummet by the most since the financial crisis. The US$90 billion of debt issued by junk-rated energy producers in the past three years has fallen almost 10 percent since crude oil peaked in June. Halcon Resources Corp, SandRidge Energy Inc and Goodrich Petroleum Corp have been among the hardest hit as OPEC’s refusal to ease a supply glut pushed prices to a five-year low of US$66.15 a barrel last week. The oil sell-off is deepening concern among bond investors that the least-creditworthy oil explorers would struggle to pay their obligations and prompt bankers to rein in credit lines as revenue slumps. Halcon, SandRidge and Goodrich are among about 21 borrowers operating in the costliest US shale-producing regions that would be unprofitable if crude oil falls below US$60 a barrel, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
POOR INTERNAL CONTROLS: Insurance Bureau Director-General Shih Chiung-hwa said the company is expected to get back on track while its chairman is suspended The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) yesterday fined Shin Kong Life Insurance Co (新光人壽) NT$27.6 million (US$939,415) for a reckless investment that endangered its solvency, and suspended its chairman Eugene Wu (吳東進) for poor supervision. The penalty is the second-highest in a single case after Nan Shan Life Insurance Co (南山人壽) was fined NT$30 million in September last year and its chairman Du Ying-tzyong (杜英宗) suspended for two years, the commission said. In three rounds of special and regular examinations conducted since last year, the commission found that Shin Kong Life had given too much power to an asset and liability management committee
HEAVY INVESTMENT: Moody’s affirmed the firm’s ‘Aa3’ rating with a ‘stable’ outlook due to its leading position in the industry and ability to match customer requirements Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) revenue this year is expected to increase about 21 percent to NT$1.29 trillion (US$44.01 billion) from NT$1.07 trillion last year, driven by strong demand for advanced 5-nanometer and 7-nanometer chips mainly used in smartphones and high-performance computing devices, a Moody’s Investors Service report on Wednesday said. TSMC’s rate of revenue growth next year is to increase to 7.5 percent, the ratings agency said. The company, which supplies 5-nanometer chips for Apple Inc’s new iPad series, has introduced the advanced chips ahead of its competitors and gained a significant share of the market for the foundry industry’s
Sony Corp has cut its estimated Play Station 5 (PS5) production for this fiscal year by 4 million units, down to about 11 million, following production issues with its custom-designed system-on-chip (SOC) for the new console, people familiar with the matter said. The Tokyo-based electronics giant in July boosted orders with suppliers in anticipation of heightened demand for gaming in the holiday season and beyond, as people spend more time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the company has come up against manufacturing issues, such as production yields as low as 50 percent for its SOC, which have cut into
O2O BICYCLE SHOW: The Taiwan Bicycle Show next year is to be online to offline, with forums, audio-visual conferences and livestreaming of the offline events Local bicycle makers expect demand to continue outpacing supply due to orders triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, with some companies seeing orders back up through next year. “Next year is all full in terms of orders. Our lead time on components is one year,” Giant Manufacturing Co Ltd (巨大機械) chairwoman Bonnie Tu (杜綉珍) told a news conference in Taipei organized by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) to announce next year’s Taipei Cycle Show. The pandemic has reduced bicycle supplies and increased demand around the world, Robert Wu (吳盈進), chairman of KMC (Kuei Meng) International Inc (桂盟國際), one of the world’s