Tue, Dec 25, 2018 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take



New tariff cuts announced

The government has announced another round of tariff cuts, lowering import taxes on more than 700 goods from Tuesday next week as part of its efforts to open up the economy and lower costs for domestic consumers. There would also be cuts to some export tariffs and temporary import tariff rates would be as low as zero for some goods, the Ministry of Finance said yesterday. The “temporary” rates can be changed ad hoc and can be lower than the current Most-Favored Nations standard, although they are also available to all WTO members.


EU-compliant budget passed

After a raucous session, the Senate has approved a national budget law that was tweaked in a bid to satisfy EU concerns. Much of the government’s planned spending for next year, which won passage in parliament’s upper chamber at about 3am on Sunday, satisfies the expensive campaign promises by the country’s populist coalition. Those included rolling back pension changes and guaranteeing income for the jobless or underemployed. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s government is rushing to win final approval of the budget in the lower Chamber of Deputies later this week.


Euronext eyeing Oslo Bors

Euronext NV is making a 625 million euros (US$712 million) cash tender offer for Oslo Bors VPS, the Norwegian Stock Exchange and national CSD operator, as consolidation among trading exchanges accelerates. Euronext has already secured support for the offer from Oslo Bors shareholders representing 49.6 percent of all outstanding shares and is offering 145 Norwegian kroner a share, according to a statement released yesterday.


Musk sees ‘tight’ schedule

Tesla Inc production should have all mid-range Model 3 orders delivered by the end of the year, although “it will be tight,” Tesla chief executive Elon Musk tweeted on Saturday. The company has released all cars for sale where original customers cannot take the delivery before this month, Musk said. If someone’s order does not make it in time, Tesla would cover the tax credit difference if the company committed delivery and the customer made “good faith” efforts to receive it before the end of the year, Musk said.


Banks reach tax settlements

Major banks in the kingdom reached settlements worth a combined 16.7 billion riyals (US$4.5 billion) with the tax authority over a religious levy that the lenders had been kicking against. The deals come as the kingdom predicted a budget shortfall of 131 billion riyals, or 4.2 percent of GDP, for next year. The tax authority had extended the 2.5 percent religious levy, known as zakat, by including items that were previously exempt, while eliminating some deductions. Al Rajhi Bank was hit with the highest payment, agreeing to pay 5.41 billion riyals.


Banks take over telecom

A group of major banks took control of Turk Telekom AS, the nation’s largest telecom, setting it up for a likely sale after previous owner Otas defaulted on a multibillion-dollar loan. Akbank TAS is to hold 35.6 percent of the special purpose vehicle set up to take on Otas’ 55 percent controlling stake. Turkiye Garanti Bankasi AS is to have 22.1 percent of that entity and Turkiye Is Bankasi AS’ share is to be 11.6 percent, according to filings on Saturday.

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