ABN beats expectations
ABN Amro, the Netherlands’ largest domestic lender, yesterday posted fourth-quarter net profit of 333 million euros (US$315.71 million), beating expectations due to strong economic growth in the Netherlands. Analysts had seen profit at 279 million euros, versus 272 million euros in the same period a year prior. “Profitability improved on the back of growth in the loan book — mortgages, small and medium enterprise [borrowers] and corporate loans and significantly lower impairments,” said chief executive officer Kees van Dijkhuizen, who replaced Gerrit Zalm on Jan. 1. Notably, loan impairments fell to 35 million euros from 124 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. Net interest income margin improved to 1.53 percent, from 1.47 percent. Growth in the company’s mortgage book was the first since 2010.
China’s Didi drivers suffer
China’s ride-sharing boom was once seen as a path to prosperity for thousands of drivers. However, a government crackdown on an industry dominated by Didi Chuxing (滴滴出行) has brought that dream to a screeching halt. In Beijing and other major cities, non-resident drivers are now banned. That has left many struggling to pay off loans they had taken out to buy cars and now drivers must take the risk of getting nabbed without the right permit by staying on the roads. Struggling for money, many live in a drab row of concrete homes known by locals as “Didi village.” Its paths are filled with trash and there is an outdoor toilet, but the rent is cheap. A spokesperson for Didi told Bloomberg they were “optimistic” they would obtain official operating licenses for their drivers.
Developing nations ‘greener’
A range of developing nations have emerged as leaders in a global race to switch to sustainable energy by 2030, by boosting their policies to help improve people’s access to reliable, affordable and clean power, the World Bank said yesterday. However, richer developed nations must do far more to promote energy efficiency or global warming would continue longer with serious consequences, a leading energy group said. About 40 percent of 111 countries surveyed by the World Bank had strong policies to improve people’s access to reliable and affordable energy, make industries and homes more energy efficient and increase countries’ use of renewable energy, the bank said. They include China, India, Vietnam, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico and Turkey, which have emerged as leaders alongside developed countries.
Employment near capacity
Unemployment declined and a measure of the number of people in work rose to a record, pushing the labor market closer to “full capacity,” according to the Office for National Statistics. The number of jobless fell 7,000 in the fourth quarter of last year to 1.6 million people, leaving the unemployment rate at 4.8 percent, the lowest in more than a decade. Employment increased by 37,000 to 31.8 million and the rate rose to a record 74.6 percent, the office said yesterday. Despite labor shortages in some areas, firms told Bank of England agents that they expect wage growth to slow to about 2.2 percent this year. While employment is still rising, the pace has cooled over the past year and uncertainty as Britain prepares to begin talks to leave the EU is expected to take a further toll on hiring.
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
HEAVY INVESTMENT: Moody’s affirmed the firm’s ‘Aa3’ rating with a ‘stable’ outlook due to its leading position in the industry and ability to match customer requirements Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) revenue this year is expected to increase about 21 percent to NT$1.29 trillion (US$44.01 billion) from NT$1.07 trillion last year, driven by strong demand for advanced 5-nanometer and 7-nanometer chips mainly used in smartphones and high-performance computing devices, a Moody’s Investors Service report on Wednesday said. TSMC’s rate of revenue growth next year is to increase to 7.5 percent, the ratings agency said. The company, which supplies 5-nanometer chips for Apple Inc’s new iPad series, has introduced the advanced chips ahead of its competitors and gained a significant share of the market for the foundry industry’s
Sony Corp has cut its estimated Play Station 5 (PS5) production for this fiscal year by 4 million units, down to about 11 million, following production issues with its custom-designed system-on-chip (SOC) for the new console, people familiar with the matter said. The Tokyo-based electronics giant in July boosted orders with suppliers in anticipation of heightened demand for gaming in the holiday season and beyond, as people spend more time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the company has come up against manufacturing issues, such as production yields as low as 50 percent for its SOC, which have cut into
O2O BICYCLE SHOW: The Taiwan Bicycle Show next year is to be online to offline, with forums, audio-visual conferences and livestreaming of the offline events Local bicycle makers expect demand to continue outpacing supply due to orders triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, with some companies seeing orders back up through next year. “Next year is all full in terms of orders. Our lead time on components is one year,” Giant Manufacturing Co Ltd (巨大機械) chairwoman Bonnie Tu (杜綉珍) told a news conference in Taipei organized by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) to announce next year’s Taipei Cycle Show. The pandemic has reduced bicycle supplies and increased demand around the world, Robert Wu (吳盈進), chairman of KMC (Kuei Meng) International Inc (桂盟國際), one of the world’s