US car sales growth slows
Automakers on Friday reported another month of higher US sales last month, but there were signs the multiyear boom might be coming to a close. The auto industry, which has enjoyed seven consecutive years of US sales growth, sold slightly less than 1.6 million vehicles last month, according to Autodata. That was an increase of 3.1 percent from the year-ago period, but about 60,000 below the level expected by analysts at Edmunds.com.
GIC to invest in Ancestry
GIC Pte, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, and technology investor Silver Lake Management LLC are to buy into Ancestry.com LLC, the US genealogy company said. The investment values Provo, Utah-based Ancestry at about US$2.6 billion, it said on Friday. Ancestry, which provides data on family histories and runs a DNA-testing service, has more than 2.2 million paying subscribers, the company said. Genealogy is the most popular hobby in the US after gardening, USA Today reported in 2014.
Santander to close branches
Banco Santander SA intends to close about 450 branches in Spain as the lender steers customers into digital banking to save on costs and bolster profitability, according to an internal memo dated on Thursday. That represents about 13 percent of Santander’s 3,467 branches in Spain. Most of the affected branches employ fewer than four people, the bank said. The Comisiones Obreras union said Santander has informed it of plans to close 425 branches this year.
Bombardier receives order
Canadian aviation giant Bombardier Inc on Friday announced it has received an order for 20 of its Challenger 350 business jets valued at about US$534 million. The small twin-engine jet can carry up to nine passengers and fly as far as 6,000km on a single tank of fuel. The Montreal-based company did not disclose the buyer. The first C Series jetliner is now expected to be delivered and go into service in June.
California sues over loans
California sued Morgan Stanley over claims it misrepresented “complex investments” sold to the state’s employee pension funds, including the type of subprime mortgage-backed securities that led to the global financial crisis. California Attorney General Kamala Harris accused Morgan Stanley of bundling high-risk loans from subprime lenders — some directly funded by Morgan Stanley — and selling them to investors without disclosing its own concerns about the poor quality of the debt, according to the complaint filed on Friday in San Francisco state court.
Mexico reserves drop 21%
Mexico’s government oil commission said the country’s proven reserves of oil and gas dropped by a startling 21 percent last year. The commission on Thursday said that combined oil and gas reserves amounted to 10.24 billion barrels of crude equivalent at the end of last year, compared with 13 billion barrels at the end of 2014. A drop in revenue and temporary cash flow problems have led state-run Petroleos Mexicanos to cut back on exploration.
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
Tesla Inc is planning to ship vehicles made at its Shanghai Gigafactory to other markets in Asia and Europe, people familiar with the matter said, as the company looks to realize its plan to reduce shipping costs and manufacture vehicles closer to customers. China-built Tesla Model 3s intended for delivery outside China would likely start mass production in the fourth quarter of the year, the people said, asking not to be identified because the details are private. They said the markets targeted include Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, as well as Europe, where customers currently have to wait for a Tesla to
Continental AG, which makes control units for Daimler AG cars, cannot pursue antitrust claims against a group of patent owners, including Qualcomm Inc, which are seeking royalties on telecommunications technology, a federal judge in Texas ruled. Avanci LLC, a licensing pool formed by Qualcomm, Nokia Oyj, Sharp Corp and other owners of patents on technology standards, is not breaching antitrust laws when it negotiates license agreements with automakers rather than the component makers, Barbara Lynn, chief district judge for the Northern District of Texas, said in dismissing the suit in a decision posted on Friday. The licensing group charges US$15 per vehicle
Nano-X Imaging Ltd, a start-up founded by Israeli investor Ran Poliakine, is joining forces with South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix Inc to build a machine that could disrupt a century-old X-ray industry. Valued at about US$2 billion after listing on the NASDAQ last month, Nano-X is seeking to transform a multibillion-dollar industry that has essentially relied on the same technology since Nobel Prize in Physics winner Wilhelm Roentgen discovered X-rays in the late 19th century. Nano-X’s device uses semiconductors instead of metal filaments to generate X-rays. The backing of SK Hynix, the world’s second-largest maker of memory chips, is a boost for