Economy slid 0.1% in Q2
The French economy slowed 0.1 percent in the second quarter after growing 0.7 percent in the previous three months, a revised estimate by the INSEE national statistics agency showed yesterday. It is the first time the eurozone’s No. 2 economy has contracted since the first quarter of 2013. The statistics agency had previously said economic growth was flat in the April-to-June period. The slowdown was driven by a sharp decline in inventories, INSEE said, which shaved 0.7 points off national output, while trade added 0.6 points. Household spending declined 0.1 percent.
Airbnb valued at US$30bn
Home-sharing giant Airbnb Inc just raised US$555 million and is seeking even more in a funding round that values the company at US$30 billion, a source close to the company said. The San Francisco-based start-up has taken in US$555.46 million through a private funding round that was launched in late July and remained open, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday. The funding round could reach US$850 million, the source said. Money taken was expected to be used to fuel growth and international expansion of Airbnb.
Apple buys Tuplejump for AI
Apple Inc has acquired Indian machine-learning start-up Tuplejump Software Pvt Ltd, as it seeks to expand its expertise in artificial intelligence (AI). The iPhone maker bought the Hyderabad, India-based company in June, according to a person familiar with the deal who asked not to be identified. Tuplejump’s software specializes in processing and analyzing big sets of data quickly. The deal was reported earlier by TechCrunch. The purchase price was not disclosed. The Tuplejump deal is Apple’s third acquisition in the industry this year. Tuplejump has about a dozen employees, many of whom were already based on the US west coast, the person said.
CaixaBank raises US$1.5bn
CaixaBank SA, Spain’s third-largest lender, on Thursday sold shares for 1.3 billion euros (US$1.5 billion) to fund its takeover of Portugal’s Banco BPI SA. The company sold 585 million shares, the equivalent of a 9.9 percent stake, to private investors, CaixaBank said in a statement. Shares were sold at 2.26 euros each, a 3.7 percent discount to their closing price. CaixaBank agreed to pay about 900 million euros to buy the 55 percent of BPI it does not already own. The bank increased its offer to 1.134 euros a share from 1.113 euros on Wednesday after BPI shareholders agreed to scrap voting rights limits, a key condition for the bid and one that made the offer mandatory.
BlackBerry nets Radar client
BlackBerry Ltd has found a customer for its fleet-tracking device, taking a first step into the crowded market for monitoring cargo trucks and trains. The Waterloo, Ontario-based company is to install 500 units of the BlackBerry Radar on trailers owned by Oakville, Ontario-based trucker Caravan Group. The Radar is a box that sticks on the back of a tractor-trailer container and frequently updates its owner on the trailer’s temperature, location and whether the door is open or closed. A spokeswoman for BlackBerry declined to say what the deal was worth.
NOT ALL GOOD: Analysts warned that other data for last month might be less rosy due to the virus and analysts expect the PMI to contract again next month Chinese factory activity saw surprise growth last month as businesses went back to work following a lengthy shutdown, but analysts said that the economy faces a challenging recovery as external demand has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, while the World Bank said that growth could screech to a halt. China is slowly returning to life after months of tough restrictions aimed at containing the virus, which put millions of people into virtual house arrest and brought economic activity to a near standstill. The strict measures saw a closely watched gauge of manufacturing plunge to its lowest level on record in February,
The output of the global smartphone industry this year is to contract by 7.8 percent on an annual basis as the COVID-19 pandemic ushers in a global recession, Taipei-based market researcher TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) said in a report on Monday. The global production of smartphones is expected to fall to 1.29 billion units, as the pandemic dampens demand for consumer electronics, leading to a decline in shipments across Europe and North America, TrendForce said. With consumers delaying smartphone purchases and thereby lengthening the device replacement cycle, overall prices would suffer a setback that is expected to negatively affect the profitability of smartphone
ELECTRONICS Lite-On delays sale of unit Lite-On Technology Corp (光寶科技) yesterday said it would postpone the sale of its solid-state drives (SSD) business to Kioxia Holdings Corp, formerly known as Toshiba Memory Holdings Corp, due to disruptions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the Taiwan-based electronics components supplier struck the deal with the Japanese firm, agreeing to sell the unit for US$165 million. Citing unfinished integration work due to the pandemic, Lite-On has deferred today’s closing date until further notice, adding that the delay would not have a negative effect on the unit’s operations. AUTO PARTS Hiroca approves dividend Automotive interior parts supplier Hiroca
ALL ABOUT STRATEGY: The company is optimistic, saying that its gross margin should increase year-on-year, but it is scaling back on its plans to expand capacity Quang Viet Enterprise Co (QVE, 廣越), which makes down jackets and garments for sportswear and outdoor brands including Adidas AG, yesterday said that revenue might drop 5 to 10 percent annually this year as some customers trimmed orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. That would mark its first revenue decline since 2016. Quang Viet posted record-high revenue of NT$16.26 billion (US$537.45 million) last year, up 22 percent from 2018. Down jackets made up 40 percent of it revenue last year. North Face Inc and Patagonia Inc are this year likely to reduce orders by 20 to 30 percent from a