Wed, Nov 20, 2019 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

RETAIL

Protests hit Best Mart sales

Snacks chain Best Mart 360 Holdings Ltd (優品360) has seen revenue drop by double digits as its stores came under attack by pro-democracy protests that have gripped Hong Kong. More than 70 of its 102 stores have been vandalized in more than 180 instances, chairman Lin Tsz-fung (林子峰) said in an interview on Monday with Bloomberg TV. The company has been targeted because some protesters believe Lin has ties to pro-Beijing gangs from Fujian Province, which he denies.

BONDS

Japan mulls 50-year bonds

Japanese policymakers are considering a 50-year government bond issue as a long-term means of putting a floor under super-long interest rates, sources said. Selling such bonds would allow the government to lock in cheap long-term funding and give yield-starved investors higher returns. It could also offer the Bank of Japan a new tool for its “yield-curve control” policy by helping prevent excessive declines in super-long bond yields. There are no immediate plans to issue such bonds in Japan, a Ministry of Finance official said.

AVIATION

EasyJet adds A320neos

British budget carrier EasyJet PLC is to buy 12 more A320neos it previously had options to purchase, Airbus SE said yesterday, the third day of the biennial Dubai Airshow. That would push EasyJet’s total order for the single-aisle plane to 159, Airbus said. The list price of the A320neo was US$110.6 million last year, making the order for 12 worth about US$1.3 billion, but airlines typically negotiate better prices.

BANKING

Julius Baer unveils buyback

Julius Baer Group Ltd announced its first share buyback in eight years even as inflows slowed as clients pulled money from a struggling Italian subsidiary. The Swiss private bank presented investors with a mixed bag for the first 10 months of the year, announcing a 400 million Swiss franc (US$404 million) buyback, while also saying it would book a writedown on Italy-based wealth manager Kairos. Outflows at Kairos would lead to a charge of 90 million euros (US$100 million), the bank said.

VIETNAM

Central bank cuts rates

Effective yesterday, the State Bank of Vietnam cut its interest-rate cap for dong deposits and ordered lenders to lower interest rates to support key business sectors. The limit on interest rates was cut to 5 percent from 5.5 percent for dong deposits with maturities of one month to less than six months, the central bank said in a statement on Monday. The regulator also ordered banks to lower the maximum dong lending rate for short-term loans to 6 percent from 6.5 percent, the statement said.

BATTERIES

Tesla to boost capacity

The world’s biggest lithium-ion battery is about to get even bigger, with Tesla Inc set to beef up capacity at the Hornsdale site in South Australia. The system is to be expanded by 50 percent to 150 megawatts, according to an announcement from Neoen SA, the French company that operates the site. The storage site has already saved consumers more than A$50 million (US$34 million) in its first year of operation. Neoen has also outlined plans to build a giant renewables complex in South Australia.

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