Switzerland, China ink pact
The Swiss National Bank on Wednesday said it had signed a pact with the People’s Bank of China to set up clearing arrangements for yuan trading in a move hailed by the Swiss banking lobby. The Chinese central bank also agreed to a pilot scheme for foreign investors in Switzerland with a quota of 50 billion yuan (US$8 billion), the Swiss National Bank said in a statement.
Swatch to increase prices
Switzerland’s Swatch group on Wednesday said it would raise the price of its luxury watches by up to 10 percent in Europe after a shock move by the Swiss National Bank last week to lift an enforced franc-euro maximum cap of 1.20 to the European common currency that has seen the Swiss franc soar by as much as 30 percent. “We will adjust prices in Europe for some brands between 5 to 7 percent, to 10 percent,” Swatch chief executive officer Nick Hayek told Bloomberg news agency.
GDP to contract 7%: IMF
The IMF said that Venezuela’s troubled economy could shrink by 7 percent this year, possibly making it the worst performer in Latin America. The figure is a dramatic downgrade from October last year, when the IMF said Venezuela’s economy would shrink by 1 percent. In a post published on Wednesday, the IMF said Venezuela would be clobbered by falling oil prices, which have declined by half in the past six months. Oil accounts for more than 95 percent of the South American country’s export earnings.
Virgin cuts fuel surcharges
Virgin Australia yesterday said it would cut fuel surcharges on flights to the US and reduce air fares in response to plunging oil prices and after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said last week it had launched an investigation into whether airlines are making misleading, deceptive or false representations about fuel charges. Virgin Australia said fuel surcharges would be bundled into base fares. At the same time, ticket prices will be lowered by up to A$50 (US$40.50) on the four daily flights between Sydney and Brisbane and Los Angeles, the carrier said.
Hyundai expects weak sales
Hyundai Motor Co suffered a decline in quarterly earnings and is forecasting weak sales growth this year. South Korea’s largest automaker yesterday said that its net income for September to December dropped 22 percent from a year earlier to 1.66 trillion won (US$1.53 billion). Sales rose 8 percent to 23.6 trillion won. Hyundai blamed foreign exchange rates and forecast that annual sales would grow just 1.8 percent, the weakest growth rate in recent years.
Wanda up 44% on debut
Shares in Wanda Cinema Line Corp (萬達院線) yesterday surged 44 percent on their trading debut. The company raised 1.28 billion yuan (US$210 million) by issuing 60 million new shares, or 10.71 percent of its enlarged share capital, exchange filings showed, as investors bet on strong growth in film viewers. On its first day of trading on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, Wanda Cinema shares rose by the maximum allowed for new listings to close at 30.74 yuan, valuing the company as a whole at more than 17 billion yuan.
Polytronics Technology Corp (聚鼎科技) yesterday announced that it is buying Henkel AG’s thermal clad dielectric material (TCLAD) business division for US$26 million as the Taiwanese firm aims to improve its technology, product portfolio and revenue performance. Polytronics, headquartered in the Hsinchu Science Park (新竹科學園區), is a supplier of protection components and heat dissipation materials. The firm entered the metallic heat-dissipation substrate market in 2007 and developed a unique solventless production process. Its board of directors approved signing an agreement with Henkel to acquire the German chemical firm’s TCLAD division in the US. The purchase includes all assets and business interests, including equipment,
SIZE MATTERS: Medium-sized hotels that do not have the support of parent groups are more vulnerable and are forced to take action, a REPro Knight Frank researcher said About 50 hotels across Taiwan are seeking to exit the market as they succumb to the bleak business outlook amid international travel restrictions imposed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Yomi Hotel (優美飯店) on Minsheng E Road, Sec 1, in Taipei is seeking to transfer ownership with an asking price of NT$950 million (US$32.15 million) and a pledge for a lease contract that guarantees a 3 percent return. The budget hotel, with room rates that start from NT$1,400 per night, maintains normal operations, but has been struggling since March, when the government placed restrictions on inbound and outbound travel. Occupancy rates for hotels in
‘SENSITIVE MARKETS’: The previously unannounced project would involve the company handing over control of data to a third party to sidestep privacy concerns Google has abandoned plans to offer a major new cloud service in China and other politically sensitive countries due in part to concerns over geopolitical tensions and the COVID-19 pandemic, two employees familiar with the matter said, revealing the challenges for US tech giants to secure business in those markets. In May, the search giant shut down the initiative, known as “Isolated Region” and which sought to address nations’ desires to control data within their borders, the employees said. The action was considered a “massive strategy shift,” said one of the employees, who added that Isolated Region had involved hundreds of employees
GOGOROS TO GO: The scooter maker’s CEO said that the electric vehicles ‘are the perfect complement to a program designed to stimulate the Taiwanese economy’ Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) yesterday announced a draw to encourage people to claim their Triple Stimulus Vouchers digitally. The prizes include movie tickets and 25 electric scooters donated by Gogoro Inc (睿能創意), Wang said. The Ministry of Economic Affairs said that it would hold a scooter draw every day for the next 10 days, beginning yesterday, after which there would be a draw every week for 15 weeks. The first winner was a Taiwan Cooperative Bank (合庫銀行) credit card user, the ministry said. The benefits of claiming the vouchers digitally extend beyond the draws, with many businesses offering special deals for