HK plans vacancy tax
Hong Kong’s government unveiled details of a planned tax on unsold new apartments, including potential jail time for developers who defy the rules. Developers would be required to submit reports annually on the status of apartments, with false statements punishable by a fine and a year in prison, a document submitted to the Legislative Council late on Tuesday proposed. Under the plan, a tax amounting to double an apartment’s annual rental value would apply after six months of vacancy. The proposal also plugs a loophole: Developers cannot beat the tax simply by selling a new apartment to an associated company. The government plans to introduce a bill containing the measures before the end of the legislative year in July.
Evergrande faces fund gap
Hui Ka Yan (許家印), China’s second-richest man, has 17 billion reasons to keep him awake at night. His property developer, China Evergrande Group (恒大集團), has debt maturing in 12 months or less that exceeds its cash by 114 billion yuan (US$17 billion), its full-year report released late on Tuesday showed. The yawning gap is partly the result of a drop in its cash buffer in the second half of last year. The giant funding gap indicates that Hui’s efforts to whittle down a US$100 billion debt pile and put the firm on a more solid financial footing still have some way to go. It might also explain why the company was willing to pay yields as high as 13.75 percent on bonds it sold in October last year — an issue Hui personally invested US$1 billion in.
Line, Mercari join forces
Line Corp and Mercari Inc are joining forces on mobile payments as Japan’s Internet companies race to dominate cashless transactions in the world’s third-largest economy. The operator of Japan’s most popular messaging platform and the used-goods online marketplace app would let users shop and pay for purchases at stores that accept each other’s systems, they told reporters in Tokyo yesterday. They also launched an alliance to welcome other mobile payment providers.
Group buying GMR stake
A consortium including India’s Tata Group, a unit of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC and SSG Capital Management, is to invest 80 billion rupees (US$1.2 billion) to buy a stake in GMR Airports Ltd. The deal would pump 10 billion rupees into GMR Airports, a unit of GMR Infrastructure Ltd and purchase 70 billion rupees of the airport unit’s equity shares from the parent, according to a statement. GMR operates Delhi International Airport Ltd, the nation’s biggest airport. The deal values GMR Airports at 180 billion rupees, the company said in a filing. After the purchase, Tata would hold 20 percent in the airport unit, while GIC would get 15 percent and SSG would own 10 percent.
Downside risks remain: ECB
European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi said that risks to the eurozone’s economic outlook remain tilted to the downside and a pickup in inflation is delayed, warranting a continued accommodative monetary policy that includes negative interest rates. “If necessary, we need to reflect on possible measures that can preserve the favorable implications of negative rates for the economy, while mitigating the side effects, if any,” Draghi said. “That said, low bank profitability is not an inevitable consequence of negative rates.”
HEAVY INVESTMENT: Moody’s affirmed the firm’s ‘Aa3’ rating with a ‘stable’ outlook due to its leading position in the industry and ability to match customer requirements Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) revenue this year is expected to increase about 21 percent to NT$1.29 trillion (US$44.01 billion) from NT$1.07 trillion last year, driven by strong demand for advanced 5-nanometer and 7-nanometer chips mainly used in smartphones and high-performance computing devices, a Moody’s Investors Service report on Wednesday said. TSMC’s rate of revenue growth next year is to increase to 7.5 percent, the ratings agency said. The company, which supplies 5-nanometer chips for Apple Inc’s new iPad series, has introduced the advanced chips ahead of its competitors and gained a significant share of the market for the foundry industry’s
Shin Kong Financial Holding Co (新光金控) yesterday said that its insurance unit would adjust its investment portfolio after being banned from buying new stocks a day earlier by the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC). “We will research what we can do based on the commission’s specific instructions after we receive the regulator’s formal documents,” Shin Kong Financial spokesman Sunny Hsu (徐順鋆) told the Taipei Times by telephone. The commission on Tuesday fined Shin Kong Life Insurance Co (新光人壽) NT$27.6 million (US$941,722) for reckless investment, and demanded that the insurer reduce its overseas investment ratio from 43 percent to 39 percent. The fine would affect
Taipei Times: When do you think the hospitality industry can return to how it was before the COVID-19 pandemic? How does Formosa International Hotels Group (FIH, 晶華酒店集團) fare this quarter and beyond? FIH chairman Steve Pan (潘思亮): The virus outbreak will have a serious impact on business travel, driven mainly by meetings, incentive travel, conferences and exhibitions over the past three decades. For the past six months, many businesspeople have grown used to exchanging information on the Internet, where more people can participate. The trend might sustain for three to five years until people are vaccinated and it is safe to
EQUITIES TAIEX moves sharply higher The TAIEX moved sharply higher yesterday as buying focused on Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) after a strong showing by its American Depositary Receipts overnight. However, the gains were capped after the benchmark index breached 13,000 points and ran into technical hurdles, prompting investors to turn cautious, dealers said. At the end of the session, the TAIEX was up 131.11 points, or 1.02 percent, at 12,976.76. Turnover was NT$206.328 billion (US$7.04 billion), with foreign institutional investors buying a net NT$18.47 billion in shares, Taiwan Stock Exchange data showed. TSMC rose 2.92 percent to close at NT$458.