House costs, retail sales fall
UK house prices fell for a second month this month, adding to signs of consumer weakness, the Nationwide Building Society said. The 0.4 percent decline, the biggest since 2012, followed a 0.3 percent fall last month. It reduced annual growth to 2.6 percent, the weakest since June 2013, the lender said in a report yesterday. Meanwhile, UK retail sales fell the most since 2010 in the first quarter and a report from YouGov and the Centre for Economics & Business Research published yesterday said household sentiment fell this month to the lowest since July last year. A separate survey from GfK also showed a decline in optimism, though it said confidence is “surprisingly stable” given accelerating inflation and stagnating wages.
UBS Q1 profit rises 80%
UBS Group AG fees from wealth management helped drive an 80 percent rise in first-quarter profit, with clients also adding billions of Swiss franc in new money. Net income rose to 1.27 billion Swiss franc (US$1.28 billion) from SF707 million a year earlier, the Zurich-based lender said in a statement yesterday. Analysts were expecting SF953 million, the average of eight estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The wealth management division contributed SF727 million in adjusted pretax profit. The unit saw SF18.6 billion in net inflows during the quarter, mainly from Europe, but “with positive contributions from all other regions,” unit president Juerg Zeltner said.
Old Mutual to end venture
Britain’s Old Mutual PLC said it would sell its 26 percent stake in Kotak Mahindra Old Mutual Life Insurance Ltd to Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd for about 12.93 billion rupees (US$201.4 million). The sale would end Old Mutual’s joint venture with Kotak Mahindra Bank, the company said on Thursday. The net consideration after tax is 11.7 billion rupees, Old Mutual said. The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to be completed in the second half of the year.
No approval for Yili buy
Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co (伊利集團) terminated a planned 4.6 billion yuan (US$666.9 million) purchase of a stake in China Shengmu Organic Milk Ltd (聖牧有機奶業) because it did not win regulatory approval from Chinese authorities. Shengmu shares dropped by the most since 2015. The termination also cancels Yili’s offer to buy outstanding shares of Shengmu, according to a statement from the companies to the Hong Kong exchange yesterday. Hong Kong-listed Shengmu fell as much as 14 percent, its biggest intraday drop since August 2015, while Yili declined 3.4 percent in Shanghai. Yili in October last year announced it would purchase a 37 percent stake of Shengmu, China’s largest producer of hormone-free dairy.
United reaches settlement
United Airlines and David Dao, the passenger who was dragged from a Chicago flight earlier this month, on Thursday announced they have reached a settlement for an undisclosed sum in the carrier’s latest step to contain damage from an incident that sparked international outrage. United earlier on Thursday said it would offer passengers who give up their seats up to US$10,000, reduce overbooking of flights and no longer call on law enforcement officers to deny ticketed passengers their seats. Southwest Airlines also said that it would end overbooking of flights.
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
Nano-X Imaging Ltd, a start-up founded by Israeli investor Ran Poliakine, is joining forces with South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix Inc to build a machine that could disrupt a century-old X-ray industry. Valued at about US$2 billion after listing on the NASDAQ last month, Nano-X is seeking to transform a multibillion-dollar industry that has essentially relied on the same technology since Nobel Prize in Physics winner Wilhelm Roentgen discovered X-rays in the late 19th century. Nano-X’s device uses semiconductors instead of metal filaments to generate X-rays. The backing of SK Hynix, the world’s second-largest maker of memory chips, is a boost for
Continental AG, which makes control units for Daimler AG cars, cannot pursue antitrust claims against a group of patent owners, including Qualcomm Inc, which are seeking royalties on telecommunications technology, a federal judge in Texas ruled. Avanci LLC, a licensing pool formed by Qualcomm, Nokia Oyj, Sharp Corp and other owners of patents on technology standards, is not breaching antitrust laws when it negotiates license agreements with automakers rather than the component makers, Barbara Lynn, chief district judge for the Northern District of Texas, said in dismissing the suit in a decision posted on Friday. The licensing group charges US$15 per vehicle
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