Growth target 1.5 percent
The government is targeting economic growth of 1.5 percent next year, rising to 1.6 percent in 2020, financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore said yesterday. The newspaper said growth was targeted to then fall to 1.4 percent in 2021. The paper said the numbers would be submitted immediately to the parliamentary budget office, the authority that evaluates government forecasts. The government on Wednesday gave budget deficit and debt targets for the next three years, but did not release growth targets. The IMF has forecast growth of 1 percent in Italy next year.
Car registrations slump
British car registrations dropped 20.5 percent last month compared with the same month last year following the introduction of new emissions standards, industry figures showed yesterday. In the year to date, car sales were down 7.5 percent compared with the first nine months of last year, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said. On Sept. 1, the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure came into force in the EU, which led some brands to incentivize sales in August, pulling forward demand.
Gazprom, OMV ink deal
Russia’s Gazprom and Austria’s OMV AG have signed an agreement on a project to develop the Urengoy gas field in western Siberia, Russian President Vladimir Putin said after talks with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on Wednesday. The document was signed by Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller and OMV chief executive Reiner Seele in front of the two leaders. Gazprom deliveries to Germany and Austria reached a historic high this year.
Belgian sale mooted
Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA is in advanced negotiations to sell its Belgian business to private equity firm Warburg Pincus, people with knowledge of the matter said. The Italian bank, advised by Rothschild & Co, is close to reaching an agreement and a deal could be announced as soon as next week, the people said. The transaction could value the unit at almost 50 million euros (US$58 million), they said.
Barnes & Noble mulls bids
The board of Barnes & Noble Inc says it is reviewing the company’s future after several parties expressed interest in buying it. The company on Wednesday said that its board had appointed a special committee to review the offers. One of the interested parties is its founder and chairman, Leonard Riggio, who is credited with turning Barnes & Noble into a superstore. According to FactSet, Riggio owns 19 percent of the company and is its largest shareholder.
Verizon offering buyouts
Verizon Communications Inc is offering buyout packages to as many as 44,000 management employees as part of a cost-cutting drive, potentially eliminating more than a fourth of its workforce. The offer, which excludes executives in sales or crucial company roles, is part of a four-year, US$10 billion cost-reduction program that chairman Lowell McAdam put in place last year. A spokesman declined to say how many of the 44,000 managers are expected to take the offer and leave the company.
NOT ALL GOOD: Analysts warned that other data for last month might be less rosy due to the virus and analysts expect the PMI to contract again next month Chinese factory activity saw surprise growth last month as businesses went back to work following a lengthy shutdown, but analysts said that the economy faces a challenging recovery as external demand has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, while the World Bank said that growth could screech to a halt. China is slowly returning to life after months of tough restrictions aimed at containing the virus, which put millions of people into virtual house arrest and brought economic activity to a near standstill. The strict measures saw a closely watched gauge of manufacturing plunge to its lowest level on record in February,
ALL ABOUT STRATEGY: The company is optimistic, saying that its gross margin should increase year-on-year, but it is scaling back on its plans to expand capacity Quang Viet Enterprise Co (QVE, 廣越), which makes down jackets and garments for sportswear and outdoor brands including Adidas AG, yesterday said that revenue might drop 5 to 10 percent annually this year as some customers trimmed orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. That would mark its first revenue decline since 2016. Quang Viet posted record-high revenue of NT$16.26 billion (US$537.45 million) last year, up 22 percent from 2018. Down jackets made up 40 percent of it revenue last year. North Face Inc and Patagonia Inc are this year likely to reduce orders by 20 to 30 percent from a
ELECTRONICS Lite-On delays sale of unit Lite-On Technology Corp (光寶科技) yesterday said it would postpone the sale of its solid-state drives (SSD) business to Kioxia Holdings Corp, formerly known as Toshiba Memory Holdings Corp, due to disruptions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the Taiwan-based electronics components supplier struck the deal with the Japanese firm, agreeing to sell the unit for US$165 million. Citing unfinished integration work due to the pandemic, Lite-On has deferred today’s closing date until further notice, adding that the delay would not have a negative effect on the unit’s operations. AUTO PARTS Hiroca approves dividend Automotive interior parts supplier Hiroca
The output of the global smartphone industry this year is to contract by 7.8 percent on an annual basis as the COVID-19 pandemic ushers in a global recession, Taipei-based market researcher TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) said in a report on Monday. The global production of smartphones is expected to fall to 1.29 billion units, as the pandemic dampens demand for consumer electronics, leading to a decline in shipments across Europe and North America, TrendForce said. With consumers delaying smartphone purchases and thereby lengthening the device replacement cycle, overall prices would suffer a setback that is expected to negatively affect the profitability of smartphone