Bigger LSE bid sought
Some London Stock Exchange (LSE) investors have told Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) that any bid must contain more cash and be up to 20 percent higher to persuade them to engage, three shareholders and a banking source close to the deal said. The three investors, who own a combined 3 percent of LSE, said that HKEX has been lobbying them to back a potential US$39 billion cash and share offer for the London exchange after it made a surprise approach last month. LSE rejected HKEX’s initial approach, saying it faced regulatory hurdles and did not make strategic sense. The London exchange has already agreed a separate US$27 billion deal to buy data provider Refinitiv, in which professional information company and Reuters News parent Thomson Reuters hold a 45 percenet stake. HKEX now has until Wednesday next week to make a formal bid or walk away and its executives have been meeting LSE’s top shareholders to garner their support.
Services sector slows
Growth in the services sector slowed sharply last month to its lowest level in three years, suggesting that the government’s trade disputes and rising uncertainty are weakening the bulk of the economy. The Institute for Supply Management, an association of purchasing managers, on Thursday said that its non-manufacturing index slipped to 52.6 from 56.4 in August. Readings above 50 signal growth, but last month’s figures are the lowest since August 2016. Sales, new orders and employment all slowed last month, and companies that were surveyed by the institute expressed concerns about tariffs. Economists say that a drop in the employment measure of the institute’s index to 50.4, its lowest level since February 2014, is a particular cause for concern.
Google joins Ivanka plan
Google chief executive officer Sundar Pichai on Thursday said that the Internet search giant is signing on to White House adviser Ivanka Trump’s pledge to train US workers. At an event in Dallas, Texas, Pichai said that Google planned to provide training for 250,000 workers over the next year and provide a US$3.5 million education grant. The Alphabet Inc unit would offer access to the Google IT Support Professional Certificate program, which is designed to help prepare individuals for entry-level tech jobs through an online course that can be completed within six months. Google has made a concerted effort on these retraining efforts, in part, to address criticism that its artificial intelligence projects risk automating jobs away.
British registrations weaken
British new car registrations increased by a weak 1.3 percent last month, an important sales month, as demand picked up only slightly from a double-digit drop in the same month last year when stricter emissions rules hit the market. A total of 343,255 vehicles were sold last month, one of two months each year when licence plate series changes typically prompt high demand, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said. “We expected to see a more significant increase in September, similar to those seen in France, Germany, Italy and Spain,” group chief executive officer Mike Hawes said. “Instead, consumer confidence is being undermined by political and economic uncertainty.”
Gogoro Inc (睿能創意) yesterday launched its first electric bicycle, the Gogoro Eeyo 1, in Taiwan, after unveiling the bike in New York in late May and in France on Tuesday. The company said it would also introduce the series in other European countries such as Germany and the Netherlands. The “Eeyo project” is the fourth of Gogoro’s eight projects that concentrate on smart transportation, which includes Gogoro’s electric scooter, battery swap system and electric scooter sharing service, company founder and chief executive officer Horace Luke (陸學森) told a media briefing in Taipei. “There are various types of city commuters. We will not
EXPERIMENTAL DRUG: While news about a COVID-19 vaccine is more eye-catching, developing a treatment would be more viable, the Senhwa boss said Senhwa Biosciences Inc (生華科) aims to raise NT$1.5 billion (US$50.57 million) by issuing 15 million new common shares in the third quarter of this year to fund the research of new drugs, including the experimental drug Silmitasertib for the treatment of COVID-19, the company said on Monday. That would be the firm’s largest fundraising effort after it raised more than NT$1.4 billion from an initial public offering on the Taipei Exchange (TPEX) in April 2017, chief financial officer Sarah Chang (張小萍) told the Taipei Times by telephone. The price of the new shares would depend on the firm’s average share price
NOT A PANACEA: Offering 5G services would not solve the problem of declining telecom incomes, chairman Sheih Chi-mau said, expecting a flat 5G telecom revenue Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) yesterday became the nation’s first telecom to debut its 5G services, offering tiered tariffs that include a threshold of NT$599 and flat rates, as it aims to switch half of its subscribers to the 5G network within three years. Subscribers would have unlimited data transmission for monthly fees starting at NT$1,399 — the same flat rate as when the company launched its 4G service in 2014 — and they can subscribe to the highest-rate plan for NT$2,699 per month for faster data transmission speeds and larger bandwidth, the company said. Data transmission speeds would be within the range
ROW: A probe would determine if the rights of shareholders who were not allowed to vote yesterday had been violated, while the stock exchange also wants answers The election of board directors yesterday at Tatung Co (大同) sparked controversy after the company blocked some institutional and individual shareholders from participating in the general shareholders’ meeting, prompting the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) to announce that the vote would be investigated. Lin Kuo Wen-yen (林郭文艷) was re-elected as chairwoman of the household-appliance maker’s nine-member board, but prior to the vote she announced that several shareholders would not have voting rights. They were being denied a vote because they had contravened the Business Mergers and Acquisitions Act (企業併購法), and the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and