Aflac likes infrastructure
Aflac Inc, the largest seller of supplemental health insurance, has started betting on infrastructure debt at its US and Japan businesses. The insurer, which pushed into that asset class in the fourth quarter of last year, invested US$13 million in the debt last year at its Japan operation and US$2 million at its US business, according to a regulatory filing on Friday. Aflac is working with a pair of third-party managers in the initiative, said a company spokesman who declined to identify the firms. The Columbus, Georgia-based company said it will continue to boost US dollar-denominated assets to diversify the portfolio and increase returns, according to the filing.
World Bank offers support
World Bank vice president for Africa Makhtar Diop on Saturday said he had agreed to give the nation US$60 million in budget support after government allegations that former president Yahya Jammeh took tens of millions of US dollars in public money, leaving it heavily indebted. Diop said he had pledged to give US$40 million before June with the remainder to follow later. The World Bank has several projects in the country although direct budget support had previously been suspended over the former government’s alleged manipulation of exchange rates, a finance ministry official said.
Minister retains party chair
Finance Minister Andrej Babis was on Saturday re-elected as chairman of the ANO party, which he founded, and vowed to cut taxes after the fall general elections that his party is projected to win. Babis’ tax plan clashes with that of Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, the Social Democratic chairman, who said last week that his party aimed to raise taxes for top earners and bigger companies. He did not give any further details, leaving it to the party congress on its program, scheduled for the spring.
China Rapid sets IPO
China Rapid Finance (信而富), a Shanghai-based peer-to-peer lender, is planning to raise at least US$100 million in an initial public offering (IPO) in the US, people familiar with the matter said. The company, which raised US$20 million at a pre-money valuation of US$1 billion in November last year, could hold the IPO as soon as this year, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. The money will be used to fund expansion in China, one of the people said. The company declined to comment. Founded by Zane Wang (王徵宇) in 2001, China Rapid Finance serviced 1 million borrowers and handled 8.8 million loans as of the end of October last year, it said in November last year.
Blackstone boss earns big
In an industry whose top executives do not make small change, Steve Schwarzman once again took home the most money among private equity titans for the year. The Blackstone Group LP cofounder received US$378 million in dividends on his stock ownership last year, according to calculations based on the firm’s annual report filed on Friday. Including his cut of deal profits, salary and other compensation, Schwarzman took home US$425 million, down from US$734.2 million the previous year. Schwarzman, who turned 70 this month, started New York-based Blackstone in 1985 with Peter Peterson.
From the customer’s perspective, car rental is a straightforward business. The only uncertainty is whether the hire company will charge you for the scratch they discover when you hand back the vehicle. Hertz Global Holdings Inc’s bankruptcy protection filing on Friday last week was a reminder that today even the simplest business models are underpinned by a lot more financial complexity than meets the eye. The proximate cause of Hertz’s demise was of course the sudden collapse in bookings caused by COVID-19 travel restrictions. The company’s monthly revenue last month fell 73 percent year-on-year, a shortfall that even the most resilient
Uber Technologies Inc, Lyft Inc and Airbnb Inc have slashed thousands of jobs. Salesforce.com Inc and Visa Inc are letting employees work remotely for months; Twitter Inc and Square Inc are allowing them to do so for good. For the companies’ hometown of San Francisco, the moves are early signs of a dire blow. In a city with a long history of booms, busts and natural calamities, the COVID-19 pandemic has suddenly upended nearly a decade of prosperity. While municipalities across the US are grappling with economic fallout from the virus, San Francisco stands to take a deeper hit given its high
BULK PURCHASE: The French chain and Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm International reached a deal covering 224 stores, which is expected to be finalized by year’s end Carrefour SA yesterday announced it would acquire Wellcome Taiwan Co (惠康百貨) for 97 million euros (US$108.33 million), and bring all the Wellcome supermarkets (頂好超市) and Jasons Market Place stores nationwide under its banner within 12 months of the deal closing. The France-based hypermarket chain reached an agreement with Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm International Holdings (牛奶國際控股), the pan-Asian retailer that launched Wellcome Taiwan in 1987. The transaction involves 199 Wellcome supermarkets, which have average sales areas of 420m2 and 25 high-end Jasons Market Place stores, which have an average sales area of 820m2, as well as a warehouse in Taoyuan, Carrefour Taiwan (家樂福)
‘ONE-STOP SHOP’: A Miaoli official said that the factory in the Jhunan section of the Hsinchu Science Park would create more than 1,000 jobs and boost prosperity A new high-end IC packaging and testing plant planned by contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) in Miaoli County is expected to start operations in the middle of next year, Miaoli County Commissioner Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) said. Hsu wrote on Facebook that TSMC, the world’s largest pure wafer foundry operator, would invest NT$303.2 billion (US$10.1 billion) to build the plant, the largest-ever single investment in Taiwan. However, TSMC declined to disclose the financial terms of the deal, while a company board meeting on May 12 approved a spending plan worth NT$168.2 billion as part of its investment plans. Construction of the