Broadway tops gross record
New York City’s Broadway ended last year with a bang — a big New Year’s Eve holiday capping off the highest-grossing calendar year in history. According to the Broadway League, the total gross was US$1.362 billion, with total attendance of 13.13 million for the year that just ended. The total take was a 14 percent uptick over 2013 — boosted by premium pricing — making last year the highest-grossing calendar year on Broadway. There also was a 13 percent increase in attendance over 2013. A hugely profitable Christmas week led to the highest-grossing new year’s holiday week, with The Elephant Man, It’s Only a Play, The Book of Mormon, Aladdin and The Lion King all breaking theater records.
Morgan Stanley fires ‘thief’
US investment bank Morgan Stanley on Monday said that it had fired an employee for stealing the personal data of hundreds of thousands of wealth management customers. Some account information for about 900 of the clients, including account numbers and names, was briefly posted on the Internet and, once detected, was “promptly removed,” the bank said in a statement. No passwords or US social security numbers were stolen, the company said, adding: “There is no evidence of any economic loss to any client.” Morgan Stanley did not identify the alleged thief, but said the person worked in its wealth management business, without providing further details.
JPMorgan settles lawsuit
JPMorgan Chase & Co has reached a settlement with accusers who alleged in a lawsuit that it had manipulated foreign exchange rates to its advantage, a well-placed source said on Monday in New York. The bank was one of 12 named in the class-action suit filed in March last year alleging that its staff conspired to manipulate rates in the multitrillion US dollar foreign exchange market in ways that cheated customers while boosting bank earnings. JPMorgan was not expected to divulge the financial terms of the deal with the plaintiffs, who include large investment funds, urban governments and employee pension plans, the source said, adding that the settlement payout was less than US$1 billion.
Volvo finishes Dongfeng deal
Swedish truck maker Volvo Group on Monday said that it had completed the acquisition of 45 percent of a subsidiary to Chinese motor giant Dongfeng Motor Group (東風) for US$893 million. Announced in January 2013 and now confirmed by Beijing, the deal awards Volvo a share in Dongfeng Commercial Vehicles worth 5.5 billion yuan (US$886 million). The other 55 percent remains in the hands of the parent company Dongfeng, one of the main shareholders of the French carmaker PSA.
Chinese pet treats recalled
Petco on Monday said that it has removed all remaining Chinese-made dog and cat treats from its Web site and stores across the US amid concerns that they have sickened thousands of pets and killed 1,000 dogs in the nation since 2007. The US Food and Drug Administration said that initial tests have not connected the Chinese jerky and rawhide treats to the illnesses, but the San Diego-based company and rival PetSmart vowed in May last year to ban the snacks. Petco, which has 1,300 stores, is the first US pet retailer to pull the treats. Phoenix-based PetSmart Inc said on Monday that it plans to have them off shelves by March.
STAYING AHEAD: Fitch said that TSMC remains technologically ahead of others, but Samsung is building a new chip fab, while China is investing in its domestic industry As escalating US-China tensions and COVID-19-related production disruptions force US technology supply chains to transform, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) US$12 billion chip fabrication plant in Arizona would be key to spurring greater US production of core semiconductor components, Fitch Ratings said. “We view the US-TSMC alliance as a first step in building a more autonomous US technology supply chain, given high barriers to entry, specifically related to the significant capital and design capability required for leading-edge semiconductor manufacturing,” Fitch said in a statement on Tuesday. “By working with TSMC, US chipmakers will not face the financial burden of incremental investment
DIVERSIFICATION: Although COVID-19 would push more companies to produce in emerging markets, DBS said that it was unlikely that firms would totally leave China Geopolitical tensions and supply disruptions are expected to accelerate the migration of manufacturing out of China, as concerns about the risk of production concentrated in one country increase, S&P Global Ratings said. Although its economic expansion might be weaker than previous levels due to the accelerated relocation of manufacturing, China’s economic growth would still be stronger than that of most other economies, the ratings agency said. “While absolute growth rates will moderate, we believe China’s economic performance will continue to be a key sovereign credit support,” S&P Global Ratings credit analyst Tan Kim Eng (陳錦榮) said in a statement on Thursday. “Its growth
Taiwan’s corporate landscape has changed significantly over the past 20 years, with Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) replacing Formosa Plastics Corp (台塑) as the revenue leader, while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC, 台積電) has emerged as the most profitable firm, a survey of Taiwan’s 50 largest companies published on Tuesday last week showed. The Chinese-language CommonWealth Magazine survey ranked Taiwan’s 50 largest companies based on their revenue last year, and compared them with the results of a similar survey it conducted in 2000. Only 33 companies on the original list remained in this year’s rankings, the survey found, following two
Luxury hotel Mandarin Oriental Taipei (文華東方酒店) yesterday announced that it would suspend guestroom operations and lay off related staffers from Monday, as regional border controls and travel restrictions are unlikely to be lifted anytime soon. The partial shutdown would not affect the five-star hotel’s restaurants, bars, spa, and conference and banquet facilities, which this month have almost recovered to pre-pandemic levels, it said. “Mandarin Oriental Taipei will suspend all guestroom services from June 1 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the hotel said after four months of maintaining normal operations proved unsustainable. The change necessitates downsizing and the hotel is handling