Qatar ups stake in UK peer
Qatar Airways exploited the post-Brexit slump in shares at British Airways owner IAG to increase its shareholding to 20 percent, the Gulf carrier announced yesterday. In a statement, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker said his company had raised its 15.01 percent stake to 20.01 percent because of the current state of the market. “The recent market valuation of one of the world’s leading airline groups has provided what we believe is an attractive opportunity to increase our shareholding in IAG,” al-Baker said.
Nedbank’s growth slows
Nedbank Group Ltd, the South African lender controlled by Old Mutual PLC, said first-half profit growth slowed to 2.1 percent after accounting for losses associated with its stake in Ecobank Transnational Inc. Net income rose to 5.44 billion rand (US$393.99 million) from 5.33 billion rand in the same period last year, the Johannesburg-based lender said in a statement yesterday. That compares with a 16 percent expansion in the same period last year. Earnings per share excluding one-time items climbed 1.6 percent to 11.19 rand and the interim dividend increased 6.1 percent to 5.7 rand per share. Nedbank and its peers are battling a South African economy on the brink of a recession, interest rates at their highest level since 2010 and inflation outside the central bank’s target range. Profit at its biggest investment outside of South Africa, Ecobank, declined after lower oil prices and rising impairments hurt lenders in Nigeria. Nedbank’s parent firm plans to spin off the lender by 2018 as part of a plan to split Old Mutual’s business into four units.
Heineken beats forecasts
Heineken NV, the world’s third-largest brewer, reported first-half profit that beat analysts’ estimates and reiterated its forecast for year-on-year profit margin expansion. Adjusted earnings before interest and taxes rose 12.6 percent to 1.71 billion euros (US$1.91 billion) in the first half, Amsterdam-based Heineken said yesterday in a statement. That compares with 1.67 billion euros, the median of estimates compiled by Bloomberg. “Our first-half performance reflects a very good first quarter, also helped by softer comparatives,” Heineken CEO Jean-Francois van Boxmeer said in the statement. “Whilst Africa Middle East and Eastern Europe continued to be challenging, performance was strong in some key developing markets, such as Vietnam and Mexico.” Heineken has forecast that Asia will pace its sales growth amid a stagnant beer market in Europe and a weakening consumer environment in Russia and Nigeria due to low oil prices.
MAS steps up funds scrutiny
Singapore’s central bank yesterday formally launched a unit to fight money laundering, strengthening the financial hub’s safeguards against illicit fund flows. Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) officials have said plans to create the special unit predated a continuing scandal involving state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) in Malaysia and banks operating in Singapore. “But these recent developments have indeed underscored the merits of bringing together supervisory resources from across MAS to give a centralized focus on combating money laundering,” a MAS spokesman said in June when it announced the creation of the unit. Singapore last year opened an investigation into fund flows linked to 1MDB. In May this year it expelled Switzerland’s BSI Bank for “gross misconduct” related to the Malaysian fund.
Softbank Group Corp plans to keep a stake in the chip designer Arm Ltd, even if it sells a partial interest to Nvidia Corp, the Nikkei reported. The companies are negotiating terms, the newspaper reported, citing sources. Softbank might take a stake in Nvidia after it buys Arm, the report said. Nvidia and Arm might also merge through a share swap, and Softbank would become a major shareholder in the combined company, it said. The two parties aim to reach a deal in the next few weeks, the sources said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Nvidia is the
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
Gold surged to a fresh record on Friday, fueled by US dollar weakness and low interest rates, while silver headed for its best month since 1979. Spot bullion is up more than 10 percent this month, as US real yields lingered near record lows. While the ferocity of rallies in gold and silver cooled in the middle of the week, most market watchers predict there might be more gains ahead. Both metals have added about 30 percent this year, with gold and silver exchange-traded funds boosting holdings to a record, as concern about the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic fuels demand for
MOVING FROM CHINA? The article did not name the company, but Foxconn, Wistron and Pegatron were among firms chosen for a production-linked incentive plan in India An Apple Inc vendor is looking at shifting six production lines to India from China, which could result in US$5 billion of iPhone exports from the South Asian nation, the Times of India reported, citing people familiar with the matter who it did not identify. The establishment of the facility would create about 55,000 jobs over about a year, the newspaper reported, not naming the Apple vendor. It would also cater to the domestic market and expand operations to include tablets and laptops, the newspaper reported. Samsung Electronics Co and Apple’s assembly partners are among 22 companies that have pledged 110 billion