Confidence hits record high
Business confidence has soared to a fresh record high this month, a closely watched survey released on Friday showed, as companies shrugged off political uncertainty. The Ifo Institute for Economic Research’s business climate index jumped from last month’s high of 116.7 points to a historic 117.5 points, beating analysts’ expectations. Businesses were slightly more pessimistic about their current economic situation than in the past month, the survey showed, but they expressed greater optimism about the future.
Yandex to merge with Uber
Yandex NV, Russia’s largest technology company, received local anti-trust approval to merge its ride-hailing business with Uber Technologies Inc’s in the country, the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service said on Friday. However, the Yandex-Uber joint venture is required not to prevent its passengers, drivers and partners from working with other ride-hailing services, the service said. The merger is expected to be completed in January.
France suspends licenses
A French court on Friday suspended the license for two pesticides made by Dow Chemical Co, citing potential environmental risks, including harmful effects on bees. The summary ruling by an administrative court in the southern city of Nice overturned the decision in September by French health and environment agency ANSES to grant a permit for the Closer and Transform crop chemicals, which contain the insecticide sulfoxaflor. Dow Chemical in September completed a merger with E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co to become DowDuPont Inc.
WeLab eyeing IPO: sources
An online lender backed by Credit Suisse Group AG is working on a listing just weeks after closing a private funding round. WeLab Ltd has picked banks to advise on a Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO) that could raise about US$500 million, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The China-focused lender, whose backers also include billionaire Li Ka-shing (李嘉誠), aims to list as soon as next year, the people said. No final decisions on an IPO have been made, and there was no certainty that the deliberations would result in a transaction, the people said.
BNP to cut tobacco firm ties
BNP Paribas SA is to cease funding and advising tobacco companies, the latest financial firm to distance itself from the industry over health concerns. The French bank is to halt transactions and investments related to the sector and “progressively disengage” from relationships with tobacco clients, BNP global head of corporate social responsibility Laurence Pessez said in an interview. The decision applies to all types of products and services, although the bank would honor all contractual commitments, she said. France’s largest insurer, AXA SA, last year said that it would stop investing in tobacco and divest of its assets in the industry.
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
SCATTERED: Production would be dispersed among a number of countries, which would bring an end to so-called world factories, Hon Hai chairman Young Liu said Decentralized production would be the new focus in manufacturing, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) chairman Young Liu (劉揚偉) yesterday told an online forum held by the Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute (MIC, 產業情報研究所). “The COVID-19 pandemic exerted a heavy impact on supply chains as well as production ... [production] would no longer be concentrated in solely one country, this is the end of what we used to call world factories,” Liu said during a panel discussion hosted by MIC director Victor Tsan (詹文男). As the US and China continue to dominate and sway international relations, the rest of the world is
PLANNED OUT: The government is lifting sale and export restrictions on 60% of the 20 million masks made daily, but people can still make purchases using their NHI cards Twenty thousand boxes of 50 masks each would be on sale at FamilyMart convenience stores starting tomorrow, Taiwan FamilyMart Co Ltd (全家便利商店) said yesterday. A box of 50 masks would cost NT$249 for those with FamilyMart memberships and NT$299 for those without, with no limits placed on how many boxes a person can buy, the company said. Convenience store chain operator Hi-Life International Co Ltd (萊爾富) said that it would also start selling masks from tomorrow. It has yet to announce details about prices and quantity. Hypermarket chain operator Carrefour Taiwan (家樂福) said that it would start selling packs of five