Monetary policy to be eased
Bank of Thailand Governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul said monetary policy could be eased if the economy loses momentum, signaling he may cut interest rates next week after slower-than-estimated growth last quarter. “Our monetary policy aim is to maintain equilibrium in the economy,” Prasarn said yesterday. “If we see that economic momentum slows, we can ease monetary policy to take care of that.” The government on Monday lowered its full-year growth forecast after the economy expanded 5.3 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, less than economists estimated.
Sharp shares surge: report
Shares in Japan’s troubled electronics maker Sharp surged 13.22 percent to ￥625 yesterday morning after a news report said the company planned to raise ￥40 billion (US$39 million) through selling overseas holdings. The Asahi Shimbun reported the firm planned to sell its television factory in Malaysia and Recurrent Energy LLC, its US solar energy developing unit, while separately considering selling other shareholdings.
Royalty raises bid for Elan
Royalty Pharma has raised its offer to buy Elan on the condition that shareholders reject the Irish drugmaker’s push to refocus its business through a string of recently announced deals. New York-based Royalty said on Monday it would pay US$12.50 in cash for each share of Elan Corp PLC. That adds up to a total value of about US$7.5 billion. Royalty had offered in February to buy Elan for US$11 per share and later raised that bid to US$11.25 per share. Elan has said the US$11.25 bid was much too low.
A123 bankruptcy approved
A bankruptcy judge in Delaware has given final approval to the reorganization plan of failed battery maker A123 Systems Inc which was the recipient of a US$249 million US Department of Energy grant. Monday’s court hearing resolved minor outstanding issues following the sale of most of the company’s assets to the US arm of Chinese auto parts conglomerate Wanxiang Group (萬向集團) for nearly US$257 million. One issue was approval of a settlement involving the company, now known as B456 Systems, its official creditors committee and Milwaukee-based auto parts maker Johnson Controls Inc.
UA restarts Dreamliner flights
United Airlines (UA) resumed Boeing 787 Dreamliner flights on Monday after the advanced plane was globally grounded four months ago due to overheated battery incidents. United, the only US carrier that owns the jetliner, relaunched 787 passenger service with a flight from the airline’s hub in Houston, Texas, to Chicago. The biggest US airline also announced it expected to take delivery of two more Dreamliners in the second half of this year.
M&S posts low profit
British retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) yesterday posted its lowest annual profit since 2009 as a struggling general merchandise division dragged on growth in food sales. The firm said it made a profit before tax and one-off items of ￡665.2 million (US$1 billion) in the year to March 30, a second straight fall. The outcome compares with analyst forecasts of between ￡640 and ￡670 million, with a consensus of ￡658 million, and is a decline on the ￡687.2 million made in 2011 and last year.