InBev picks underwriters
Anheuser-Busch InBev NV has selected JPMorgan Chase & Co and Morgan Stanley for a possible initial public offering of its Asian operations in what could be one of the region’s biggest listings this year, people with knowledge of the matter said. The world’s largest brewer is weighing Hong Kong as a listing venue, though it has not made a final decision, the people said. The Belgium-based company is considering adding more arrangers to the deal later, one of the people said. An IPO of AB InBev’s Asia business could raise more than US$5 billion, people familiar with the matter said last month.
Budget shortfall looms
Germany faces a 25 billion euro (US$29 billion) budget shortfall by 2023, unless it tightens spending, as tax revenues are set to fall and public sector wages are on the rise, Bild newspaper reported, citing an internal government document. The prospect of budget deficits would represent a dramatic deterioration in the finances of Europe’s biggest economy, which reported a 11.2 billion euro budget surplus last year. The warning came in a report prepared by Finance Minister Olaf Scholz to his ministerial colleagues as they prepare for a regular budget planning discussion.
Foreign sales buoy China
China’s sprawling services sector maintained a solid pace of expansion last month even though growth moderated slightly, a private survey showed on Sunday. The Caixin/Markit services purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell slightly to 53.6 last month from 53.9 in December last year, but was well above the 50 mark separating growth from contraction. Overseas sales continued to support the sector, with new export business rising at the fastest clip in more than a year, thanks to efforts among Chinese services firms to attract foreign clients. Overall new orders also ticked higher, to 52.6 from 52.3 in December.
Building approvals slump
Australian building approvals suffered the biggest annual back-to-back drop in almost a decade as a housing slump deepens. Building permits fell 22.5 percent in December last year from a year earlier after plunging 33.5 percent in November, Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed yesterday. That is the worst two-month result since January-February 2009, during the depths of the global financial crisis. A separate private report from Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd showed job advertisements slid 3.7 percent last month from a year earlier, the first annual decline since April 2015.
Irish farmers to get aid
The European Commission has agreed to compensate Irish farmers for a collapse in beef and dairy prices in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the Irish edition of the Sunday Times newspaper said, quoting Irish government and EU sources. Farmers would be in line for hundreds of millions of euros in emergency aid to offset a market collapse and the loss of British customers, the newspaper reported. Agriculture Minister Michael Creed said last month Dublin would seek that amount for its farming and fishing industry. The details of the scheme were finalized between Creed and the commission’s agriculture chief Phil Hogan, the report said.
Tonga sabotage considered
A director at Tonga’s undersea Internet cable operator said he cannot rule out sabotage as the reason the cable broke and plunged the Pacific nation into virtual darkness for almost two weeks. Repair crews found two breaks along the optic fiber cable that connects Tonga with the rest of the world, Tonga Cable Ltd director Piveni Piukala said yesterday. Several kilometers away, they found two more breaks and rope entangled on the separate domestic cable that connects the main island with some of Tonga’s outer islands.
Gig workers get holiday pay
Self-employed workers at Hermes Parcelnet Ltd, a UK-based delivery company, have won the option to get holiday pay and guaranteed earnings, as part of a deal with the GMB trade union that could have implications for Britain’s growing gig economy. The collective bargaining agreement is the first to recognize the rights of self-employed workers, the union said. A group of Hermes couriers won a legal battle in June to be classed as workers rather than self-employed.
Inflation hits 20.4% on food
A run-up in food costs halted a broader deceleration in price growth after two months. Inflation picked up slightly last month to 20.4 percent from a year earlier after a gain of 20.3 percent in the previous month, Turkstat said yesterday. Food and non-alcoholic beverage costs surged an annual 31 percent, the most since at least 2004. Shortages caused by floods in farming hub Antalya are making matters worse after the depreciation of the lira in August raised the cost of food imports and transportation.
FAB may raise foreigner limit
First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC (FAB) will follow regional peers and raise the foreign-ownership limit on its stock. The UAE’s biggest lender aims to raise the cap for foreign ownership to 40 percent from 25 percent, it said last week. Shareholders still need to approve the change at a meeting on Feb. 25. Investors from abroad held about 12 percent of FAB shares as of the end of last month, according to the stock exchange’s Web site. Qatar National Bank last year raised the ceiling for foreigners to 49 percent from 25 percent, while Emirates NBD PJSC plans to quadruple the limit for foreigners to 20 percent.
Reliance to file for insolvency
Billionaire Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communications Ltd said it will file for insolvency following failed attempts to sell assets and repay about US$6.3 billion of debt. The company agreed to approach the National Company Law Tribunal after failing to pay lenders for the past 18 months, the company said. It blamed its decision to approach the court on a lack of consensus among its more than 40 lenders, as well as numerous issues pending before various agencies.
Powell ‘coming around’
US Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Neel Kashkari said Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is “coming around” to the view to wait until wages and inflation rise before raising interest rates again, and that the Fed’s latest pause will help keep a “fundamentally healthy” economy on track. “There are more people out there who want to work; let’s let the economy continue to strengthen and if we see signs then, wages pick up, inflation picks up, we can always tap the brakes,” Kashkari said on Sunday. “Let’s just not tap the brakes prematurely,” he said.
‘BIG LOSS’: This year might see the last generation of Huawei’s Kirin chips, as their production would stop next month because they are made using US technology Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co (華為) is running out of processor chips to make smartphones due to US sanctions and would be forced to stop production of its own most advanced chips, a company executive has said, in a sign of growing damage to Huawei’s business from US pressure. Huawei, one of the biggest producers of smartphones and network equipment, is at the center of US-Chinese tension over technology and security. Washington last year cut off Huawei’s access to US components and technology, and those penalties were tightened in May, when the White House barred vendors worldwide from using US
’WHITE BOX’: The open platform would give local firms access to Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop 5G telecom equipment and tap into the global market The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday introduced a new 5G “open lab” in collaboration with US-based information technology and networking giant Cisco Systems Inc to address the rapidly growing “white box” 5G networking equipment market. The open lab will be a platform where Taiwanese manufacturers can access Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop their own 5G telecom equipment, such as small-cell base stations, network switches, modems and Internet of things (IoT) devices, a ministry statement said. The open platform would allow Taiwanese manufacturers to tap into the lucrative 5G telecom equipment market, which was previously monopolized by Nokia Oyj, Ericsson AB
CORPORATE SCANDAL: Cathay Life has invested NT$13.3 billion in Bank Mayapada since 2015, but the latest loss of NT$8.8 billion has completely written off its investment Cathay Life Insurance Co (國泰人壽) yesterday said it would recognize an investment loss of NT$8.8 billion (US$298.1 million) in Indonesia’s Bank Mayapada Internasional Tbk PT due to concerns about the lender’s operations amid a corporate scandal. The company said it would revise its earnings result for June, from a net profit of NT$6.52 billion to a net loss of NT$520 million, its first monthly loss over the past 17 months. After booking an investment loss of NT$5.2 billion in Bank Mayapada earlier this year, Cathay Life has so far recognized total investment losses of NT$14 billion in the lender, executive vice president
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday reported that revenue last month expanded 25 percent annually, but fell 12.8 percent month-on-month to NT$105.96 billion (US$3.59 billion). In the first seven months of this year, the chipmaker’s revenue surged 33.6 percent to NT$727.26 billion, compared with NT$544.46 billion a year earlier. TSMC has said it aims to grow its revenue by more than 20 percent this year. The company has since May 15 stopped taking new orders from Huawei Technologies Co (華為), its second-biggest customer after Apple Inc, due to the US’ restrictions on exports containing US technologies. TSMC has no plans to