GDP grew 6.7%: government
The country retained its position as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies after expansion exceeded 6 percent for a sixth consecutive year. GDP increased 6.7 percent last year, the Philippine Statistics Authority said in Manila yesterday, matching the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists. The economy grew 6.6 percent in the fourth quarter of last year from a year earlier, slightly less than the 6.7 percent median estimate, prompting the peso and stocks to drop. The country is expected to keep its momentum, with the World Bank predicting growth of more than 6 percent per year until next year. President Rodrigo Duterte has been reforming tax laws to boost the nation’s competitiveness and raise revenue, while pushing ahead with an ambitious US$180 billion infrastructure program that includes Manila’s first subway.
Wynn Palace to expand
Wynn Resorts Ltd plans to expand its newest property on Macau’s Cotai Strip after the project helped the company report better-than-expected earnings last quarter. The next phase of the US$4.2 billion Wynn Palace, which opened in August 2016, is to be developed on 4.45 hectares, chairman Steve Wynn said on a conference call. He did not provide details of the plans. “The depth and the foundational strength of that market is real,” Wynn said on Monday. “We have been encouraged by the government in conversations with them to file our plans for phase two, which we’re working on now.” Wynn Macau Ltd (永利澳門), the company’s Chinese subsidiary, reported stronger-than-expected results for the fourth quarter. Property earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization totaled US$376 million, up 66 percent from a year earlier and beating the median analysts’ estimate of US$360 million.
AIG plans to acquire Validus
Leading global insurer American International Group Inc (AIG) on Monday announced a US$5.6 billion deal to purchase Validus Holdings, expanding its portfolio of insurance services. AIG is to acquire all outstanding common shares of Validus, a leading provider of reinsurance, primary insurance and asset management services, the companies said. AIG said that in addition to those services, the deal would allow it to add “complementary capabilities in the US crop and excess and surplus markets.” Validus shareholders are to receive US$68 per share. “Validus is an excellent strategic fit for AIG, bringing new businesses and capabilities to our general insurance operation,” AIG CEO Brian Duperreault said.
Meraas mulls stake sale
Dubai, United Arab Emirates-based property developer Meraas Holding LLC is weighing the sale of a significant minority stake in its Roxy Cinemas unit to raise funds for expansion, according to people familiar with the matter. Meraas is to start gauging interest from potential buyers shortly, the people said, asking not to be identified because the discussions are private. The company operates three cinemas in Dubai under the Roxy brand, according to its Web site. Meraas declined to comment. Merger and acquisition deals for movie theaters are increasing as investors seek consumer-facing businesses with growth potential. UK’s Cineworld Group PLC last year agreed to buy US theater operator Regal Entertainment Group for about US$3.6 billion to expand into the biggest movie market.
Polytronics Technology Corp (聚鼎科技) yesterday announced that it is buying Henkel AG’s thermal clad dielectric material (TCLAD) business division for US$26 million as the Taiwanese firm aims to improve its technology, product portfolio and revenue performance. Polytronics, headquartered in the Hsinchu Science Park (新竹科學園區), is a supplier of protection components and heat dissipation materials. The firm entered the metallic heat-dissipation substrate market in 2007 and developed a unique solventless production process. Its board of directors approved signing an agreement with Henkel to acquire the German chemical firm’s TCLAD division in the US. The purchase includes all assets and business interests, including equipment,
SIZE MATTERS: Medium-sized hotels that do not have the support of parent groups are more vulnerable and are forced to take action, a REPro Knight Frank researcher said About 50 hotels across Taiwan are seeking to exit the market as they succumb to the bleak business outlook amid international travel restrictions imposed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Yomi Hotel (優美飯店) on Minsheng E Road, Sec 1, in Taipei is seeking to transfer ownership with an asking price of NT$950 million (US$32.15 million) and a pledge for a lease contract that guarantees a 3 percent return. The budget hotel, with room rates that start from NT$1,400 per night, maintains normal operations, but has been struggling since March, when the government placed restrictions on inbound and outbound travel. Occupancy rates for hotels in
With the US dollar expected to weaken in the next 12 months due to near-zero interest rates, investors should consider purchasing US corporate bonds, Standard Chartered Bank Taiwan Ltd (渣打台灣銀行) said on Thursday. The bank said that the US Federal Reserve since last month has been buying bonds issued by US companies to curb default rates. The US dollar is forecast to be weaker against the pound, the euro and the yen, as well as the Canadian dollar, the Swedish krona and the Swiss franc, as the greenback lacks high investment returns after the Fed in March slashed the benchmark interest rate
A Bollywood actor’s face tattooed on his arm, Sandeep Bacche’s devotion shocks few in India where stars enjoy semi-divine status, but even there the hallowed silver screen might be losing its shine to streaming services and pandemic fears. “Whenever things get better and theaters begin operations, I will watch three movies a day for sure just as a way to celebrate,” said the Mumbai rickshaw driver, who is recovering from the virus himself. However, others might not join the party. With cinemas shut for months due to a COVID-19 lockdown, and little prospect they will reopen soon, frustrated Bollywood producers have turned to