Shareholders back merger
The shareholders of Banca Popolare di Milano (BPM) and Banco Popolare on Saturday approved a merger between the two lenders, giving the final green light to the creation of Italy’s third-largest bank by assets. Investors in Verona-based Banco Popolare, who approved the deal overwhelmingly, had been widely expected to back the move, but BPM had to overcome opposition from a group of retired employee-shareholders. The merger is the first prompted by reforms introduced by Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi early last year, aiming to promote such tie-ups and boost bank profitability. The creation of a new big bank, which is to be named Banco-BPM, is good news not only for the banking system but also for the government, which threw its weight behind the deal. Banco Popolare chief executive officer Pier Francesco Saviotti said the bank was working on the sale of 650 million euros (US$713.08 million) in bad loans to be completed by the year-end.
CCB to assist Yunnan Tin
China Construction Bank Corp (CCB, 中國建設銀行), the nation’s second-largest lender, said it agreed to form an almost 5 billion yuan (US$742.94 million) debt-to-equity pact with Yunnan Tin Group Holding Co (雲南錫業集團). The agreement is part of a larger 10 billion yuan framework the two companies signed to cut Yunnan Tin’s debt ratio, the Beijing-based lender said in a statement on its Web site on Sunday. It did not provide any specifics of the agreement. The accord is the second debt-relief program Construction Bank has announced in the past week with state-owned enterprises. On Tuesday, the lender announced plans to raise 24 billion yuan for a fund to help lower Wuhan Iron & Steel Group’s (武漢鋼鐵) debt levels. The bank also flagged its involvement with Yunnan Tin Co, saying at the time it was seeking to cooperate with the company to lower its leverage.
Belgium agrees on budget
Belgium’s coalition government has agreed the basics of its budget, finding savings of some three billion euros to help balance the books. “Agreement,” Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said on Twitter late on Friday after lengthy talks finally produced an accord. Negotiations appeared blocked earlier in the week, with Michel promising to work “relentlessly” to get a deal by Saturday, when EU member states using the euro currency are supposed to submit their budgets for next year to scrutiny by Brussels. Spending cuts, especially in health, were a key sticking point along with plans to introduce a controversial capital gains tax broadly opposed by business.
Sturgeon eyes post-Brexit
The nation is to set up a trade office in Berlin, boosting its trade departments in readiness for all possibilities, including independence, after Britain leaves the EU, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Saturday. The Scottish National Party (SNP) leader has raised the nation’s profile since June’s EU referendum in Britain, seizing on a new openness toward the nation in Europe since most of its population voted to remain in the bloc. Sturgeon told the SNP conference at its close that economic stability is threatened by the prospect of the UK leaving the European single market, taking Scotland with it. Sturgeon said that in order to protect business in the nation, the government would set up a board of trade, a new trade envoy scheme, expand its enterprise agency and establish a trade hub in Berlin.
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
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
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
‘ONE-STOCK SHOW’: Turnover hit an all-time high as TSMC continued to determine the local market’s direction and surpassed Visa in market capitalization The TAIEX early yesterday hit an all-time intraday high on the back of soaring Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) shares, before tumbling back to the previous day’s close as the contract chipmaker could not single-handedly prop up the index. The TAIEX rose more than 400 points in the first 20 minutes of trading to hit a record 13,031.7 points, but later pared its gains to close down 0.01 percent at 12,586.73. Turnover was NT$343.252 billion (US$11.63 billion), the highest in the Taiwan Stock Exchange’s history. TSMC continued to dictate the market’s direction, as its early surge by the daily