Toshiba attracts large bids
Google and Amazon.com Inc joined a list of potential buyers eyeing Toshiba Corp’s lucrative memorychip business as the Japanese conglomerate seeks bidders to cover huge losses, the Yomiuri Shimbun said yesterday. Toshiba has reportedly completed the first round of bidding for the business, seen as key for the cash-strapped company to turn itself around. About 10 foreign companies and funds tendered bids, the daily said, quoting unnamed sources. The two US tech giants are expected to use Toshiba’s memory chips for their cloud services, it said. Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), which last year acquired Japanese electronics maker Sharp Corp, has apparently bid more than ￥2 trillion (US$18 billion), it added.
Lisbon sells bank to US firm
Portugal is selling the remnants of a bankrupt bank, Novo Banco, to US equity firm Lone Star Funds for 1 billion euros (US$1.06 billion). Its Central Bank on Friday announced that the Dallas, Texas-based fund is to buy 75 percent of the bank, while the remaining 25 percent would be sold later. The 1 billion euros are to be spent on recapitalizing Novo Banco, the so-called “good” bank salvaged from the 2014 bankruptcy of major lender Banco Espirito Santo, meaning that other Portuguese banks and its treasury would not yet — and might never — get back the 4.9 billion euros they lent to Novo Banco.
McDonald’s confirms leak
McDonald’s Canada said on Friday that hackers stole the personal data of about 95,000 jobseekers from the fast food chain’s recruitment Web site over the past three years. The data were from people who had sought work with the company since March 2014. The Web portal targeted in the attack, which has been shut down, collected candidates’ names, addresses, e-mails, telephone numbers, employment histories and other relevant data, the company said in a statement. There were no signs so far that the stolen information had been misused, the company said, and apologized to those affected.
Iceland hikes tourism tax
Tourists keen to explore Iceland’s natural beauty are to pay more from next year, after Reykjavik on Friday announced a tax hike on the sector, which has exploded in recent years. The nation announced the end of an 11 percent reduced rate of value-added sales tax, saying it would make a typical holiday there about 4 percent more expensive. Tax on hotels, campsites, travel agent services, pools, spas and others would rise to the regular rate, which was itself reduced to 22.5 percent.
Spain credit outlook raised
Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC on Friday raised its outlook on Spain’s sovereign credit rating to “positive,” saying it believed the nation’s strong economic performance would continue over the next two years. The firm left the debt rating unchanged at “BBB+,” but said it could raise it within the next 24 months “if economic performance and budgetary consolidation continue in line with our expectations.” It predicts the Spanish economy would grow by 2.5 percentage points this year and 2.1 percentage points next year after expanding by 3.2 percentage points last year.
NOTABLE SHIFT: By 2030, 50% of all laptops would be assembled in Southeast Asia, while Taiwan would still mostly focus on research and development, a report said Global laptop and desktop computer supply chains are expected to shift significantly away from China in the next 10 years, a Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute (MIC, 產業情報研究所) report said. By 2030, only 40 percent of global laptop production would remain in China, said the report, which was released on Thursday. “The reshuffling of the global supply chain will be one of the most important trends in the next 10 years,” the institute said in the report. “In the long run, key component makers will follow laptop assemblers in moving out of China.” The Taipei-based institute predicted most key component makers
Merck Group Taiwan yesterday said that it plans to invest substantially on expanding its fab in Kaohsiung’s Lujhu District (路竹) to better serve its local customers, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電). The company said it plans to expand its production space by 50 percent in the next five years and its workforce by about 40 percent, Merck Group Taiwan managing director Dick Hsieh (謝志宏) told a media briefing in Taipei. Hsieh declined to disclose investment details, but said that the latest investment would exceed the total amount Merck has invested in Taiwan over the past few years. Those investments would be
Yageo Corp (國巨), the world’s third-largest supplier of multilayer ceramic capacitors, has formed a strategic alliance with Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) to develop key electronic components for electric vehicles and digital healthcare, it said yesterday. The alliance is to help Yageo boost its revenue from high-end components for vehicles and industrial, medical and aerospace devices, as well as those used in 5G and Internet-of-Things devices, the company said. The companies signed the strategic alliance agreement at Yageo’s headquarters in New Taipei City’s Sindian District (新店). Their cooperation is to start this quarter, the companies said in a joint statement. “Through the cooperation
SUPPLY CONSTRAINTS: The transferred orders might not provide an immediate revenue boost given local chipmakers’ high utilization rates, a senior analyst said Shares of local contract chipmakers yesterday rose as much as the 10 percent daily limit, as investors bet on orders being transferred from Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC, 中芯國際) after the US imposed export restrictions on the Chinese chipmaker. United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電) shares soared 10 percent to close at NT$27.5 as 380 million shares changed hands on the Taiwan Stock Exchange. UMC is the world’s No. 3 foundry by revenue, followed by SMIC, according to data from market researcher TrendForce Corp (集邦科技). UMC has product and customer portfolios similar to those of SMIC, TrendForce said, adding that UMC offers 14-nanometer and