IFA plans US hotel
IFA Hotels & Resorts Co, the Kuwaiti hotelier partly owned by Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, agreed to open its first US hotel in New York with Related Cos.
The hotel in central Manhattan will cost US$300 million to build, IFA said in a statement on Saturday, without providing further details.
Agility invests in Philippines
Agility, the Middle East's largest storage and logistics company, plans to spend US$10 billion on development projects in the Philippines with Kuwaiti and US partners.
Kuwait-based Agility, Abraj Holding Co and a US company will undertake the projects, Agility said in a filing to Kuwait's stock exchange yesterday, without providing details.
Dai-ichi in joint venture
Dai-ichi Mutual Life Insurance Co plans to form a life-insurance venture in China with Baosteel Group Corp (寶鋼集團), the nation's largest steelmaker, the Asahi Shimbun reported, without citing a source.
The Japanese and Chinese companies have been in talks for more than a year, with Dai-ichi Mutual Life already starting to develop computer systems for the venture, the Osaka-based newspaper said.
Nippon Life Insurance Co and Sumitomo Life Insurance Co have already formed life-insurance joint ventures in China, the report said.
Sohar Refinery to close unit
Oman's Sohar Refinery Co LLC plans to shut down its 116,000 barrel-a-day unit for maintenance in the first quarter of 2009, an official at the refinery said.
The plant will be closed for about 35 days, the Sohar company official, who requested not to be identified, said in a phone interview yesterday. There is no planned maintenance next year, he said.
Sohar was commissioned in June last year and its principal products include gasoline, low-sulfur gasoil and propylene. About 90 percent of the plant's output is exported. State-run Omani Oil Co SAOC owns 20 percent of Sohar and the country's Ministry of Finance owns the remaining 80 percent.
Oman produced 743,000 barrels a day of crude oil and condensate last year, 5 percent less than the year before, according to the Web site of the US Energy Information Administration.
Italy probes US funds
Italian prosecutors have opened a preliminary investigation into US investment funds Evergreen and Quantum for speculation in the bidding for Alitalia, the ANSA news agency reported.
The probe was prompted by a drop in Alitalia's share price after Asian giant Singapore Airlines (SIA) on Friday denied a report that it had submitted a bid for the Italian flag carrier along with Evergreen and Quantum.
Alitalia president Maurizio Prato reportedly received a letter expressing the consortium's interest in acquiring the loss-making airline.
The choice of the partner was initially expected on Thursday but reports said the Italian government was split on whether to sell Alitalia to Air France-KLM or to AP Holding, which operates Italy's second biggest airline, Air One.
The new investigation may merge with a probe already opened into Air One's actions, ANSA said. Air One took part in a failed government auction earlier this year.
The government owns 49.9 percent of Alitalia and is seeking to sell a controlling stake to a partner that can relaunch the ailing airline.
Gome plans more acquisitions
Gome Electrical Appliance Hold-ings Ltd (國美電器控股有限公司), China's largest electronics retailer, plans to continue making acquisitions of retailers to boost sales of information technology, communications and digital products.
Gome said on Friday that it would finance the 3.6 billion yuan (US$488 million) acquisition of Beijing Dazhong Electronics Ltd (北京大中電器).
A partner was given the finances to purchase the company and Gome may buy it later, giving it time to understand Dazhong and seek regulatory approvals, Gome president Chen Xiao (陳曉) said.
Hong Kong-based Gome's financing of Dazhong's purchase comes after Suning Appliance Co (蘇寧電器有限公司) scrapped its bid for the Beijing-based retailer on Thursday.
KEEP AWAY: People should wear a mask in places where they cannot follow social distancing rules, the CECC said, adding that it would publish detailed guidelines today The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced 16 new cases of COVID-19, including two domestic cases, as it urged people to practice social distancing in public spaces by keeping a distance of at least 1m when outdoors and 1.5m indoors. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that seven of the new cases tested positive upon their arrival at the airport, four were under home quarantine, one was under home isolation and two were under self-health management, while the two domestic cases sought treatment on their own. The domestic cases are a man in his
Taiwan will negotiate with the WHO about its participation without Beijing’s help and intervention as more countries, including Australia and Japan, are partnering with Taiwan to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a telephonic roundtable with reporters on Monday also supported Taiwan’s role in the WHO, saying the US Department of State would do its best to assist Taiwan’s “appropriate role” in the world’s highest health policy setting body, Voice of America reported. In a Japan Business Press report published on Sunday, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Kong Xuanyou (孔鉉佑) said
Malaysian authorities have advised women to wear makeup, not to nag their husbands and speak with a cartoon character’s soothing voice during the virus lockdown, sparking a flood of mockery online. Like many countries, Malaysia has ordered all citizens to stay at home to stem the spread of COVID-19, which, as of yesterday, had killed at least 39,070 people globally. In a series of online posters with the hashtag #WomenPreventCOVID19, the Malaysian Ministry of Women and Family Development issued advice on how to avoid domestic conflicts during the partial lockdown, which began on March 18. One of the campaign posters depicted
Japan’s ruling party yesterday proposed the nation’s biggest-ever stimulus package of ￥60 trillion (US$554 billion) as the COVID-19 pandemic locks the economy in a recession. The sum includes ￥20 trillion in fiscal measures with private initiatives and other elements likely making up the rest, the proposal by the Liberal Democratic Party showed. More than ￥10 trillion, or the equivalent of a 5 percentage point cut in the sales tax rate, would be handed out to the public in a combination of cash, subsidies and coupons, the plan showed. The proposal puts an initial figure on a stimulus package that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo