Thu, Jan 11, 2018 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

INVESTMENT

VC firms invested US$84bn

Venture capital (VC) funding in the US has hit its highest level since the dotcom era. US venture firms last year deployed US$84 billion in more than 8,000 companies, research firm PitchBook said. The last time this much money sloshed around Silicon Valley and other tech hubs, many venture firms lost their investments in the dotcom bust of the early 2000s. That is far less likely to happen today. “While the figures are comparable to the dotcom era, the VC ecosystem appears healthy and driven by different dynamics,” PitchBook CEO and founder John Gabbert said in a statement. “Later-stage companies with strong consumer traction are commanding large rounds of financing.” The number of exits fell for the third consecutive year, the report said, the lowest since 2011.

SAUDI ARABIA

Foreign investor cap raised

The government is to lower minimum assets under management for qualified foreign institutions starting this month and allow foreigners to own up to 49 percent of listed securities as it opens up the stock market. The Capital Market Authority raised the limit for a single qualified foreign investor in a company to 10 percent and set the ceiling for foreign holdings in all categories, whether resident or nonresidents, at 49 percent, it said in a statement on Tuesday. In an initial proposal in 2014 that became effective the following year, the regulator had set a 5 percent limit for a qualified foreign investor in a single company. The agency also lowered the level of assets under management or custody investors must have from 3.75 billion riyals to 1.875 billion riyals (US$999.8 million to US$499.9 million). Formal approval of the new requirements, which take effect on Jan. 23, affirms an amended draft proposal from November last year.

AIRLINES

HNA failed to reveal assets

HNA Group Co Ltd (海航集團) said it failed to fully disclose how its US$350 million stake in Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd is controlled, less than a month after regulators in New Zealand blocked an acquisition, citing the Chinese conglomerate’s opaque ownership structure. Five substantial holder notices to the Australian Securities Exchange in 2016 and last year relating to HNA’s 20 percent stake left out entities with “relevant interest” in the airline, the Chinese company said in a letter to Sydney-listed Virgin Australia that was disclosed by the bourse on Monday. HNA’s belated disclosure lists 518 entities from South America to Asia that appear to deal in everything from hotels and refrigerated trucks to aviation and car rentals. The date on the letter, Tuesday last week, is just days after the New Zealand Overseas Investment Office barred HNA’s purchase of a local asset finance firm.

REAL ESTATE

Singapore prices to increase

Credit Suisse Group AG and Morgan Stanley are calling the end of Singapore’s property downturn, after a second consecutive quarterly increase in private residential prices. Home prices might rise as much as 10 percent this year, according to analysts at Credit Suisse, while Morgan Stanley and OCBC Investment Research expect as much as an 8 percent increase, according to reports from the brokerage firms. Private residential prices rose for a second straight quarter in the period ended on Sunday last week, reinforcing signs that the city-state’s property market is emerging from a four-year slump. Prices last year rose 1 percent, compared with a 3.1 percent decline in 2016, Singaporean Urban Redevelopment Authority data showed.

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