UniCredit considers merger
Italian bank UniCredit SpA is considering a merger with France’s Societe Generale SA (SocGen), a move that would combine two of Europe’s largest financial institutions, the Financial Times reported on Sunday. UniCredit chief executive officer Jean Pierre Mustier, who is French and once worked for SocGen, has been developing the idea for several months, the newspaper said, citing people close to the situation. SocGen directors have also been studying the possibility of a tie-up, it said. Discussions over such a merger are at an early stage, and they might be challenged by Italy’s recent political turmoil, the report said. That is already pushed back the potential timetable for a deal from an original plan of 18 months, the newspaper reported. SocGen, France’s second-biggest bank, has considered combining the entities over the past decade and a half, it said. SocGen in an e-mail denied “any board discussion regarding a potential merger with UniCredit.”
CBA agrees to record fine
Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has agreed to a record penalty of A$700 million (US$529.3 million) to settle explosive money laundering charges brought by Australia’s financial intelligence agency. The fine is almost double the amount CBA had set aside to finalize the matter and represents a record penalty for money laundering and terror finance breaches, the Australian government said yesterday. Australia’s biggest bank breached the law on 53,750 occasions, where suspicious transactions were repeatedly not reported and monitoring processes failed, according to an agreed statement of facts tendered in court by both parties. “The money laundered through the CBA accounts included the proceeds of drug and firearms importation and distribution syndicates — predominantly involving methamphetamine,” the court document said.
Facebook denies NYT report
Facebook Inc is disputing a New York Times (NYT) report about how it shares data with device makers from Apple Inc and Amazon.com Inc to Samsung Electronics Co. They are privy to Facebook users’ information, but it is nothing like the access that led to the Cambridge Analytica controversy, the social network platform said. The Times reported that Facebook had struck deals with device manufacturers that allowed them full access to information on users and their friends. However, the US company contends those pacts were intended to help device makers create their own versions of Facebook apps, and the data mostly remained on smartphones that accessed it. That kind of arrangement was necessary before smartphone operating systems relied on app stores, it added.
Renewable share to triple
The country plans to more than triple the amount of electricity it produces from renewable sources and push for a 26 percent increase in household solar energy usage by 2030, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc told Reuters in an interview. Speaking ahead of the country’s participation in the expanded G7 summit that is to be held in Canada from Friday to Saturday, Phuc also said he hopes the country can utilize its about 20 million tonnes of rare earth reserves, which he said are the world’s third-largest, in building new energy technologies. The country’s largest rare earth mine is in the northern Lai Chau Province, near the border with China.
STEPPING UP: The firm has also asked employees to work in split shifts from this week and to halt all but essential overseas business travel from next month Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) has implemented a remote work policy for employees not on production lines in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19, the world’s largest contract chipmaker said yesterday. This is the first time in the Hsinchu-based company’s history that it has launched a large-scale remote work policy, joining global technology companies, such as Apple Inc and Google, that encourage employees to work from home. The chipmaker has also asked employees to work in split shifts from this week, it said. As the number of virus infections continues to climb worldwide, TSMC has urged employees to halt unnecessary
A two-hour drive south of Amsterdam in Veldhoven, workers decked out head-to-toe in protective gear toil in vast assembly halls. Before entering the inner sanctuary of the facilities, they meticulously layer on masks, gloves and special socks. A single speck of dust or a hair can have devastating effects on production. The result of all this painstaking process is an environment that is 10,000 times more purified than outside. As COVID-19 grips the world, it might just be the safest place to work right now. The teams belong to ASML Holding NV, which holds a de facto monopoly on the industry of
DBS Bank Ltd yesterday hacked its GDP growth forecast for Taiwan this year to 0.9 percent, down from its estimate of 2.3 percent two months earlier, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and increasing financial market volatility. The bank’s latest forecast was even lower than London-based IHS Markit Ltd’s estimate of 1 percent, while other research institutes’ projections range from 1.6 percent to 2.6 percent. Taiwan’s economic momentum is being negatively affected by the pandemic, DBS said. The rapid spread of the disease from Asia to Europe and the US has dampened the bank’s previous expectation of a “V-shaped” global rebound in the
DOWNSIDE RISKS: Firms have a ‘very low’ chance of boosting investment returns in the next two years, making it hard for them to improve their capitalization, an analyst said Taiwanese life insurers wanting to improve their capital structure face strong headwinds this year, given prolonged low interest rates and economic impacts derived from trade protectionism and the COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan Ratings Corp (中華信評) said on Friday. The local life insurance sector also still has high asset risks and such risks are susceptible to market volatility, the local arm of Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings said. Since last year, major financial holding companies — including CTBC Financial Holding Co (中信金控), Cathay Financial Holding Co (國泰金控) and Shin Kong Financial Holding Co (新光金控) — have announced plans to raise fresh capital to