Tue, Jul 03, 2018 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

MACROECONOMICS

Japan biz confidence slips

Confidence among Japan’s biggest manufacturers has slipped for the second straight quarter, a key central bank survey showed yesterday. The Bank of Japan’s Tankan report — a quarterly survey of about 10,000 companies — showed a reading of 21 among major manufacturers in its June survey against 24 in the March report. The Tankan report, the broadest indicator of how Japan Inc is faring, marks the difference between the percentage of firms that are upbeat and those that see conditions as unfavorable.

AUTOS

Nissan drops battery sale

Nissan Motor Co abandoned a US$1 billion deal to sell its electric-battery business because the prospective buyer failed to raise the money required. The Japanese automaker canceled the sale to GSR Capital (金沙江資本), saying in a statement yesterday the Chinese private-equity firm did not have sufficient funds. Nissan and GSR were due to close the transaction by Friday last week. The deal had already been postponed three times, most recently on April 27, because certain conditions had not been met. The deal with GSR for Nissan subsidiary Automotive Energy Supply Corp and manufacturing operations in Japan, the US and the UK would have ended a long search for a buyer as the carmaker works to streamline operations.

TECHNOLOGY

Softbank invests in ‘handy’

Japanese technology conglomerate Softbank is investing in a mobile device service for hotel guests, called handy Japan, that offers information on tourist attractions and Internet access. Terms of the deal, announced yesterday, were not disclosed. Handy, developed by Hong Kong-based Tink Labs, is available in 650,000 rooms in 4,000 hotels in 82 countries. It rolled out in Japan in July last year and has been adopted by 1,700 hotels and 240,000 rooms, about a third of the nation’s hotels, both sides said. Handy works as a smartphone rental that is a complementary hotel service. The device can contact a hotel’s concierge, link to the Internet, and make local and international calls.

ENERGY

BP Azerbaijan plant running

British petroleum giant BP has started operating a US$28 billion pipeline in Azerbaijan to supply gas to Turkey and elsewhere in Europe, the company said yesterday. The “Shah Deniz 2” development is “the starting point for the Southern Gas Corridor series of pipelines that will for the first time deliver natural gas from the Caspian Sea directly to European markets,” BP said in a statement. The pipeline bypasses Russia and has been supported by the EU, which is keen to reduce Europe’s energy dependence on Moscow.

BUSINESS

Interpol hunts billionaire

Interpol yesterday issued an arrest warrant for Indian billionaire diamond merchant Nirav Modi, tightening the noose on one of the main suspects in a US$1.8 billion fraud at a major state-run bank. Modi is a jeweler to the stars whose celebrity clients have included Naomi Watts and Kate Winslet. His eponymous high-end brand has stores in several of the world’s major cities. India last month requested Interpol to issue a so-called red corner notice to help trace Modi after the fugitive diamond merchant was last spotted in Britain. A red corner notice seeks the arrest or provisional arrest of wanted persons with a view to extradition.

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