Exports fall in August
Exports tumbled and the nation logged a surprise trade deficit last month, data showed yesterday, reviving concerns about the economy just before the Bank of Japan wrapped up a closely watched meeting. Shipments overseas fell 9.6 percent from a year earlier as a strong yen clouds the nation’s trade picture. That left a trade deficit of ￥18.7 billion (US$184 million), the first shortfall in three months and after markets had forecast a ￥200 billion surplus. Overall exports fell for the 11th consecutive month, with vehicle and steel shipments among the worst hit sectors.
Allergan buys two firms
Allergan PLC is on a shopping spree. In less than 12 hours on Tuesday, the drugmaker announced a pair of acquisitions of companies developing treatments for a liver disease known as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), giving the company a ready-made pipeline in one of biotechnology’s hottest areas. Before the market opened on Tuesday, Allergan said it would buy Tobira Therapeutics Inc for as much as US$1.7 billion, gaining the company’s experimental drugs for NASH. Then, after the market closed, it announced a US$50 million deal to acquire Akarna Therapeutics Ltd, which is also developing NASH treatments.
Inditex profits rise 8%
Spain-based fashion retail giant Inditex, owner of popular brand Zara, yesterday posted an 8 percent rise in first-half profits thanks to a surge in clothes sales around the globe. One of the world’s largest fashion retailers said profit for the six months from February to July rose to 1.3 billion euros (US$1.4 billion) from the same time a year earlier. Sales in the first half rose 11 percent to 10.5 billion euros. The company, which operates eight store brands, including Zara, upmarket label Massimo Dutti and teen chain Bershka, said all brands posted a rise in sales.
Microsoft approves dividend
Microsoft Corp on Tuesday said that its board has approved a dividend increase and a new US$40 billion stock buyback plan. The Redmond, Washington, company said it will pay a quarterly dividend of US$0.39 on Dec. 8. That is up US$0.03, or 8 percent, from its previous payout. The technology giant also said it is on track to complete its existing US$40 billion stock buyback plan by the end of the year. The new plan has no expiration and might be terminated any time. Shares of Microsoft are up about 30 percent in the past year. In after-hours trading, the stock rose US$0.67 to US$57.48.
ABB spins off unit
ABB Ltd, under pressure from Swedish activist shareholder Cevian Capital AB to spin off its power-grid division, said it will slim down the business by selling some operations to NKT Cables for an enterprise value of US$934 million. The sale of its high-voltage cable system to the Danish industrial supplier came with a long-term strategic partnership agreement, Zurich-based ABB said in a statement yesterday. Progress on the strategic review of the power-grids business will be given on Oct. 4, it said. Cevian still wants ABB to spin off the power-grid division, the investor’s cofounder Christer Gardell said by e-mail.
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,
ELECTRIC FARMLAND: TSMC’s proposal to clear 230 hectares of reforested land for what would become Taiwan’s largest photovoltaic solar farm has generated concerns New rules curbing solar farms built on agricultural land sparked fierce debate at a packed public hearing at the Legislative Yuan yesterday, with industry representatives saying that the new restrictions would endanger President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) green energy goals, while agricultural officials emphasized the importance of protecting farmers and the environment. The Tsai administration has set a target to generate 20 percent of the nation’s power from renewable sources by 2025, by which time it also aims to install 20 gigawatts (GW) of solar power, including 6GW from rooftop solar systems and 14GW from ground-mounted solar farms. Although rooftop solar systems are
‘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
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday posted monthly revenue that suggested second-quarter sales surpassed analysts’ estimates, underscoring how its technological lead is helping the chipmaker weather the COVID-19 pandemic and US sanctions on its second-biggest customer Huawei Technologies Co (華為). Apple Inc’s main iPhone chipmaker posted sales of NT$120.88 billion (US$4.08 billion) for last month, up 40.8 percent year-on-year and bringing its revenue for the second quarter to NT$310.7 billion, beating the NT$308.8 billion analysts expected on average. TSMC, a barometer for the industry thanks to its heft in the global supply chain, had previously lowered its revenue outlook for this