Exports ease Japan deficit
Japan’s trade deficit last month shrank by nearly a third from a year ago, helped by higher exports and falling oil bills, although the volume of shipments to foreign markets remained weak, official data showed yesterday. The Japanese Ministry of Finance data showed trade deficit came in at ￥891.9 billion (US$7.6 billion) last month, down 31.5 percent from a year ago and below a median forecast of ￥996 billion in a survey by the Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun. The value of exports rose 4.9 percent, but imports fell 1.7 percent in their first downturn in three months, as the cost of crude oil and petroleum purchases plunged.
Apple halts sales in Russia
Apple Inc has halted online sales of its iPhones, iPads and other products in Russia amid financial turmoil triggered by the steep decline in the nation’s currency. The ruble plunged by as much as 20 percent on Tuesday, even after Russia’s central bank increased interest rates sharply in an attempt to shore up the currency. The ruble’s value has fallen by more than 60 percent since January. Apple on Tuesday said that the ruble’s instability has made it too difficult to set its prices in Russia, prompting the closure of its online store there.
Chrysler changes name
US automaker Chrysler on Tuesday unveiled its new name — FCA US LLC — said to reflect its subsidiary status to newly renamed Italian parent, Fiat Italy SpA. The company was known as the Chrysler Group. It was gradually acquired by Turin-based Fiat after emerging in June 2009 from a US government bankruptcy restructuring and bailout. Fiat renamed itself Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) in October, when it switched its headquarters to the Netherlands and listed on the New York Stock Exchange. On Tuesday, FCA announced that it had changed its name to FCA Italy SpA, effective on Monday. It trades in New York under the ticker FCAU.
Dutch firm eyes Volcano
Amsterdam-based technology company Royal Philips NV says it is to pay US$1.2 billion for US medical equipment maker Volcano Corp, a deal that would beef up its presence in technologies that allow physicians to see inside patients’ hearts and veins. In an agreement backed by Volcano’s management, Philips is to offer US$1 billion for Volcano stock, or US$18 per share, reflecting a 57 percent premium over its NASDAQ closing price on Tuesday of US$11.49 in New York. Philips is also to assume US$200 million of debt. Philips, a major maker of medical imaging equipment, said the deal would allow it to sell its own products to Volcano’s customer base, and vice versa.
GE plans payouts, buybacks
US industrial conglomerate General Electric Co (GE) on Tuesday said that it plans to distribute US$40 billion to its shareholders next year and in 2016 in the form of dividends and share buybacks. The announcement, made at an investors’ conference, marks a relatively ambitious plan for shareholder returns, representing 16 percent of the company’s total capitalization of US$246 billion at the market close on Tuesday in New York. GE projected adjusted earnings per share this year in a range of US$1.70 to US$1.80.
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
’WHITE BOX’: The open platform would give local firms access to Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop 5G telecom equipment and tap into the global market The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday introduced a new 5G “open lab” in collaboration with US-based information technology and networking giant Cisco Systems Inc to address the rapidly growing “white box” 5G networking equipment market. The open lab will be a platform where Taiwanese manufacturers can access Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop their own 5G telecom equipment, such as small-cell base stations, network switches, modems and Internet of things (IoT) devices, a ministry statement said. The open platform would allow Taiwanese manufacturers to tap into the lucrative 5G telecom equipment market, which was previously monopolized by Nokia Oyj, Ericsson AB
Nintendo Co is raising its target for Switch production to about 25 million units this fiscal year, people familiar with the matter said, as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic keeps lifting demand and component shortages ease. The Kyoto, Japan-based company, which in April hiked orders to 22 million units by March next year, is asking partners to tack on another few million units, said the people, who did not want to be identified discussing internal goals. Assembly partners plan to work at maximum capacity through December. The new production target suggests that Nintendo is likely to outperform its Switch sales forecast of 19 million
‘BIG LOSS’: This year might see the last generation of Huawei’s Kirin chips, as their production would stop next month because they are made using US technology Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co (華為) is running out of processor chips to make smartphones due to US sanctions and would be forced to stop production of its own most advanced chips, a company executive has said, in a sign of growing damage to Huawei’s business from US pressure. Huawei, one of the biggest producers of smartphones and network equipment, is at the center of US-Chinese tension over technology and security. Washington last year cut off Huawei’s access to US components and technology, and those penalties were tightened in May, when the White House barred vendors worldwide from using US