Mon, Feb 27, 2017 - Page 14 News List

World Business Quick Take



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.

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