Tue, Sep 22, 2015 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

DAIRY

Fonterra to cut more jobs

New Zealand’s Fonterra announced a further 227 job losses yesterday in a bid to remain competitive in “challenging market conditions,” as global dairy prices plummet and Chinese demand continues to wane. The latest cuts follow 523 jobs slashed in July and Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings warned there could be more to come at the world’s largest dairy processor. “We have great people, but we have to make tough decisions to ensure Fonterra remains competitive in this environment,” he said in a statement to the New Zealand Stock Exchange. “We will continue to fine-tune our organization to ensure we best support the initiatives identified by our business review.” Dairy prices have almost halved in the past 12 months as a China-led boom has petered out, forcing Fonterra to review operations.

BANKING

HSBC to hire staff in China

HSBC Holdings PLC plans to add 4,000 staff in China’s Pearl River Delta region over the next three to four years to grab retail banking and wealth management business. HSBC Asia-Pacific chief executive Peter Wong outlined the plans in an interview with the Hong Kong Economic Times which was published yesterday. The lender confirmed the report. That would amount to a 30 percent increase from 13,000 employees in the Pearl River Delta region and contrast with the bank’s three-year plan to cut global headcount by about 50,000 and reduce annual costs by up to US$5 billion. HSBC is shifting investment to Asia, its best-performing region, while cutting unprofitable divisions. HSBC aims to increase its pretax profit in the Pearl River Delta region to US$1 billion within five years from US$100 million last year, Wong was quoted as saying by the newspaper. HSBC shares fell 1.5 percent in Hong Kong as of 9:43am, extending this year’s decline to 20 percent.

INSURANCE

Zurich faces Tianjin losses

Switzerland’s Zurich Insurance said yesterday it faces losses of about 243 million euros (US$275 million) following last month’s industrial disaster in Tianjin, China. The insurer said it forecast third-quarter losses of US$200 million in its general insurance business and is to conduct a review of the unit. Separately, the firm said it had scrapped a 7.7 billion euro bid to take over its British rival Royal & Sun Alliance (RSA). “Discussions with RSA have now been terminated and... Zurich does not intend to make an offer,” the company said in a brief statement. Massive explosions at a hazardous goods storage firm in Tianjin on Aug. 12 killed 161 people.

SOUTH KOREA

Fed report hits the won

The won declined the most in almost six weeks after the Federal Reserve highlighted risks to global economic growth, boosting demand for the relative safety of the nation’s bonds. Goldman Sachs Group Inc said a weaker won could be welcome as the government looks to spur inflation, according to a note on Friday last week. Consumer prices held below 1 percent last month, trailing the central bank’s 2.5 percent target. The KOSPI yesterday tracked a tumble in US equities after the Fed refrained from raising interest rates and said recent global financial developments may restrain economic activity. The won dropped 1 percent to close at 1,174.67 per US dollar in Seoul, data compiled by Bloomberg showed. The currency earlier fell as much as 1.1 percent and has weakened 7.1 percent this year. The KOSPI declined 1.6 percent.

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