Four arrested in South Korea
Four executives from two South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges were yesterday detained and are being questioned in connection with the alleged embezzlement of billions of won, prosecutors said. One of the detained executives is Kim Ik-hwan, CEO of Coinnest, the nation’s fifth-largest cryptocurrency exchange. The other suspects were not identified. It is the first time that employees of a local cryptocurrency business have been detained in the world’s third-largest cryptocurrency-trading country.
Accor to buy S African group
Accor SA, Europe’s biggest hotel operator, plans to buy a 50 percent stake in South Africa’s Mantis Group as part of its expansion plans on the African continent. The Evry, France-based company sold off 55 percent of its real estate business for 4.4 billion euros (US$5.4 billion) in February to fund the deal and further its growth in emerging economies. The transaction would add 28 hotels to the group’s portfolio, which ranges from hotels and villas to luxury houseboats. The deal still needs regulatory approvals, the company said.
US merger costs US$1.9bn
JM Smucker Co is expanding its pet-food business by buying US petfood maker Ainsworth Pet Nutrition. Smucker, known in the US for its namesake fruit jams, already owns Kibbles n’ Bits, Meow Mix and other brands, but people are pickier about what they feed their furry friends, and Smucker said Ainsworth’s Rachael Ray Nutrish brand would help it grow, because it uses higher-quality ingredients. Smucker said it is paying about US$1.9 billion for Ainsworth. Ainsworth’s other brands include Better Than! and Dad’s.
Indonesian giant adds stores
PT Mitra Adiperkasa (MAP), the Indonesian operator of several global brands, including Starbucks, Zara and Marks & Spencer, predicted that a recovery in consumer spending would sustain its highest revenue growth in three years. It forecast a revenue increase of 15 percent for a second year. The firm is to add 200 new stores this year, including 60 Starbucks outlets, MAP corporate secretary Fetty Kwartati said. Revenue rose 15 percent last year to 16.3 trillion rupiah (US$1.14 billion), while its net income jumped 61 percent to 334.7 billion rupiah, the highest in five years.
Barclays downgraded to junk
Barclays PLC’s ratings were cut by Moody’s Investors Service, citing concerns about earnings at the investment bank after the British lender split its riskier trading activities from its retail operations. Moody’s on Wednesday cut Barclays’ overall debt rating to one level above junk by Moody’s, saying that the bank would face “ongoing profitability challenges” and the impact of ringfencing. Barclays has about ￡14.8 billion (US$20.8 billion) of bonds due by the end of next year, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.
Services growth slows down
Services firms expanded at a slower clip last month compared to the prior month, largely because the pace of business activity and new orders fell. The Institute for Supply Management said its services index dropped to 58.8 last month, from 59.5 in February. The services sector has been expanding for the past 98 months, or more than eight years. The employment component of the index increased while the business activity and new order components declined.
‘BIG LOSS’: This year might see the last generation of Huawei’s Kirin chips, as their production would stop next month because they are made using US technology Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co (華為) is running out of processor chips to make smartphones due to US sanctions and would be forced to stop production of its own most advanced chips, a company executive has said, in a sign of growing damage to Huawei’s business from US pressure. Huawei, one of the biggest producers of smartphones and network equipment, is at the center of US-Chinese tension over technology and security. Washington last year cut off Huawei’s access to US components and technology, and those penalties were tightened in May, when the White House barred vendors worldwide from using US
’WHITE BOX’: The open platform would give local firms access to Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop 5G telecom equipment and tap into the global market The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday introduced a new 5G “open lab” in collaboration with US-based information technology and networking giant Cisco Systems Inc to address the rapidly growing “white box” 5G networking equipment market. The open lab will be a platform where Taiwanese manufacturers can access Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop their own 5G telecom equipment, such as small-cell base stations, network switches, modems and Internet of things (IoT) devices, a ministry statement said. The open platform would allow Taiwanese manufacturers to tap into the lucrative 5G telecom equipment market, which was previously monopolized by Nokia Oyj, Ericsson AB
CORPORATE SCANDAL: Cathay Life has invested NT$13.3 billion in Bank Mayapada since 2015, but the latest loss of NT$8.8 billion has completely written off its investment Cathay Life Insurance Co (國泰人壽) yesterday said it would recognize an investment loss of NT$8.8 billion (US$298.1 million) in Indonesia’s Bank Mayapada Internasional Tbk PT due to concerns about the lender’s operations amid a corporate scandal. The company said it would revise its earnings result for June, from a net profit of NT$6.52 billion to a net loss of NT$520 million, its first monthly loss over the past 17 months. After booking an investment loss of NT$5.2 billion in Bank Mayapada earlier this year, Cathay Life has so far recognized total investment losses of NT$14 billion in the lender, executive vice president
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday reported that revenue last month expanded 25 percent annually, but fell 12.8 percent month-on-month to NT$105.96 billion (US$3.59 billion). In the first seven months of this year, the chipmaker’s revenue surged 33.6 percent to NT$727.26 billion, compared with NT$544.46 billion a year earlier. TSMC has said it aims to grow its revenue by more than 20 percent this year. The company has since May 15 stopped taking new orders from Huawei Technologies Co (華為), its second-biggest customer after Apple Inc, due to the US’ restrictions on exports containing US technologies. TSMC has no plans to