Report outlines scenarios
A no-deal Brexit would drag the UK economy to a near standstill next year, according to a new report. If Britain leaves the EU without an agreement, reverting to the WTO’s most-favored-nation status rules, GDP would increase only 0.3 percent next year, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research said on Friday. By contrast, a trade accord that preserves most of the current arrangements would mean the economy will grow 1.9 percent next year, more than the think tank’s previous forecast of 1.7 percent.
Chile approves lithium deal
Chile’s constitutional court gave the green light on Thursday to Chinese group Tianqi Lithium Corp’s (天齊鋰業) proposed acquisition of a 24 percent stake in Chile’s lithium producer SQM for US$4.1 billion. The court rejected an appeal to halt the sale by SQM’s controlling shareholder, the Pampa Group, which argued that such a deal would break competition rules as Tianqi also owns a stake in Albermarle, a direct competitor of SQM. Chile has the world’s largest reserves of lithium and alongside Australia produces about 80 percent of total global output.
BASF confirms weak year
German chemicals giant BASF AG yesterday confirmed a full-year outlook for weaker profits after a slowdown in the third quarter, adding that one-off factors weighed especially strongly on its bottom line. Net profit at the Ludwigshafen-based group fell 10 percent year-on-year, to 1.2 billion euros (US$1.36 billion), in line with forecasts from analysts surveyed by Factset. Operating profit before special items fell 14 percent to 1.47 billion euros, although revenues were 8 percent higher at 15.6 billion as BASF raised prices and sales volumes.
Bitfury mulls initial listing
Cryptocurrency-mining start-up Bitfury is weighing strategic options including an initial public offering in what could be Europe’s first major listing in the industry, according to people familiar with the matter. Bitfury has reached out to global investment banks as it explores making its trading debut in Amsterdam, London or Hong Kong as early as next year, the people said, asking not to be identified, as the details are not public.
Czech eyes ‘Le Monde’ stake
Czech investor Daniel Kretinsky’s Czech Media Invest (CMI) is to buy a 49 percent stake in Le Nouveau Monde, the main shareholder of French daily Le Monde, a spokesman for Kretinsky said on Thursday. The spokesman declined to provide further details on the transaction. Kretinsky is the majority owner and chief executive of power and infrastructure group EPH, which owns power plants across Europe.
RBS raises Brexit provision
Royal Bank of Scotland PLC (RBS) has taken a ￡100 million (US$128 million) impairment provision to account for greater economic uncertainty in the first concrete sign that Brexit is clouding the outlook of a big British bank. The provision, announced with RBS’ third-quarter results, took the bank’s impairments for the period to ￡240 million, up from ￡143 million last year. It also reported a pre-tax profit of ￡961 million and an attributable profit of ￡448 million. That was below the ￡507 million expected by analysts.
‘ACCORDING TO PLAN’: A company official said that it has set up production sites worldwide to provide services and that its Wisconsin project was going smoothly Hon Hai Precision Industry Co’s (鴻海精密) smart manufacturing center in Wisconsin would begin trial manufacturing in the middle of this year, the company said yesterday, adding that it plans to build a research institute to develop key technologies to support growth over the next five years. Hon Hai, known internationally as Foxconn Technology Group (富士康科技集團), said in an annual report submitted to the Taiwan Stock Exchange that its planned Foxconn Institute for Research in Science and Technology would conduct research into artificial intelligence, next-generation communications, quantum computing, cybersecurity and nano semiconductors in Taiwan. Hon Hai is to make products at the center
TV and online retailer Momo.com Inc (富邦媒體) yesterday said it has set up a new logistics subsidiary, Fu Sheng Logistics Co (富昇物流), to oversee the company’s extensive shipping operations. Leveraging Momo’s 23 satellite warehouses and distribution centers nationwide, Fu Sheng will be in charge of executing the retailer’s same-day shipment plan for deliveries in Taipei, New Taipei City, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung, Momo said in a press release. Seeking to further shorten its supply chain, the company is to set up another seven satellite warehouses and distribution centers by the end of the year. “Fu Sheng has a fleet of 200 couriers
US-CHINA TENSIONS: The company said that it supplies self-designed chips to the Chinese company and, as such, is not affected by the latest US export restrictions Macronix International Co (旺宏電子) said it does not expect its shipments of memory chips to Huawei Technologies Co (華為) to be affected by the latest US export restrictions on the Chinese tech giant. “As long as the company [Huawei] places orders, we will ship [chips], unless the [Taiwanese] government restricts all Taiwanese companies from shipping” to Huawei, Macronix chairman and chief executive officer Miin Wu (吳敏求) said on Monday in Hsinchu. The US Department of Commerce on Friday took a further step to block chip supplies from non-US companies to Huawei by requiring foreign semiconductor makers to get US government permission before
E Ink Holdings Inc (元太科技), the world’s sole supplier of e-paper displays for e-readers and shelf labels, posted its best quarterly net profit for the first quarter in nine years amid increased demand during a traditionally slow season. Net profit soared 80 percent to NT$787 million (US$26.23 million) in the quarter ended March 31, compared with NT$438 million a year earlier. That translated into earnings per share of NT$0.69, up from NT$0.39. E Ink posted lower royalty income of NT$371.23 million last quarter from NT$448.74 million a year earlier, a company financial statement showed. E Ink said that it expects royalty income to