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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
NOT ALL GOOD: Analysts warned that other data for last month might be less rosy due to the virus and analysts expect the PMI to contract again next month Chinese factory activity saw surprise growth last month as businesses went back to work following a lengthy shutdown, but analysts said that the economy faces a challenging recovery as external demand has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, while the World Bank said that growth could screech to a halt. China is slowly returning to life after months of tough restrictions aimed at containing the virus, which put millions of people into virtual house arrest and brought economic activity to a near standstill. The strict measures saw a closely watched gauge of manufacturing plunge to its lowest level on record in February,
ALL ABOUT STRATEGY: The company is optimistic, saying that its gross margin should increase year-on-year, but it is scaling back on its plans to expand capacity Quang Viet Enterprise Co (QVE, 廣越), which makes down jackets and garments for sportswear and outdoor brands including Adidas AG, yesterday said that revenue might drop 5 to 10 percent annually this year as some customers trimmed orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. That would mark its first revenue decline since 2016. Quang Viet posted record-high revenue of NT$16.26 billion (US$537.45 million) last year, up 22 percent from 2018. Down jackets made up 40 percent of it revenue last year. North Face Inc and Patagonia Inc are this year likely to reduce orders by 20 to 30 percent from a
The output of the global smartphone industry this year is to contract by 7.8 percent on an annual basis as the COVID-19 pandemic ushers in a global recession, Taipei-based market researcher TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) said in a report on Monday. The global production of smartphones is expected to fall to 1.29 billion units, as the pandemic dampens demand for consumer electronics, leading to a decline in shipments across Europe and North America, TrendForce said. With consumers delaying smartphone purchases and thereby lengthening the device replacement cycle, overall prices would suffer a setback that is expected to negatively affect the profitability of smartphone
ELECTRONICS Lite-On delays sale of unit Lite-On Technology Corp (光寶科技) yesterday said it would postpone the sale of its solid-state drives (SSD) business to Kioxia Holdings Corp, formerly known as Toshiba Memory Holdings Corp, due to disruptions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the Taiwan-based electronics components supplier struck the deal with the Japanese firm, agreeing to sell the unit for US$165 million. Citing unfinished integration work due to the pandemic, Lite-On has deferred today’s closing date until further notice, adding that the delay would not have a negative effect on the unit’s operations. AUTO PARTS Hiroca approves dividend Automotive interior parts supplier Hiroca