■ Real estate
Swiss Re sells London office
Swiss Re said yesterday it had sold its City of London office building known as the "Gherkin" for ?600 million (US$1.18 billion) to an affiliate of real-estate corporation IVG Immobilien AG. The reinsurer would make a book gain of approximately ?250 million on the deal, a spokeswoman said. Half of the gain would be booked in this year's income statement, the spokeswoman said. The other half would be booked over a period of 20 years. IVG says Swiss Re would remain a tenant at least until 2031, occupying 50 percent of the property's rentable space. The transaction was expected to close this month.
Nikon posts glowing profits
Nikon Corp said yesterday its group net profit jumped nearly 60 percent for the third quarter of the fiscal year ending in March on brisk sales of digital cameras and imaging devices. The maker of cameras and precision equipment posted a net profit of ?23.0 billion (US$190 million) in the October to December period, up from ?14.5 billion the same quarter a year earlier. The jump in profits came on a 21 percent rise in sales to ?234.3 billion for the third quarter, up from ?192.9 billion a year earlier. The Tokyo-based Nikon said its earnings rose as its two main divisions -- imaging devices and precision equipment -- posted brisk sales.
Prague airport for sale
Several international companies are eyeing the possible purchase of Prague airport for a price that could reach US$3 billion, yesterday's edition of the Czech weekly Tyden reported. Tyden said that the privatization of the Prague-Ruzyne airport had attracted the interest of Hochtief Airport, a subsidiary of Hochtief, the leader in the German building industry; another German firm Fraport, which runs Frankfurt airport; the Australian Macquarie Bank; Czech investment group PPF and Slovakian investors Penta and JT.
SingTel forms alliance
Southeast Asia's largest telecom company Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) said yesterday it had entered an alliance with Globe Wireless of the US to resell SingTel's services to the maritime industry. Globe Wireless is based in Florida and has a customer base of over 400 ship operators with a fleet of more than 5,500 ships, SingTel said in a statement. "Through SingTel's powerful integrated fixed and mobile satellite operations, Globe Wireless has found an experienced and reliable satellite operator in us who will supply airtime to run its suite of communications solutions," said Titus Yong, head of satellite at SingTel.
Pfizer loses round one
US drug maker Pfizer Inc has lost a round in its legal battles with Chinese rivals over rights to names for its popular anti-impotence drug Viagra, a court employee said yesterday. Pfizer and local drug makers were struggling over the Chinese patent and names for its "little blue pill." In the latest case, a Beijing court rejected Pfizer's request to block a Chinese drug company from using the name "Wei Ge" for one of its products. Pfizer said "Wei Ge," or "Mighty Brother," was a name used by many Chinese to describe Viagra, making it improper for another company to use the name.
Swedish Member of Parliament Hampus Hagman is pushing for changing the name of the nation’s trade office in Taipei to signal improved relations with “Asia’s perhaps foremost democracy.” Hagman on Wednesday last week proposed renaming the Swedish Trade and Invest Council to “Sweden’s Office in Taipei,” following similar changes by other nations. The Swedish Trade and Invest Council, part of Business Sweden, is owned by the Swedish government and Swedish industry. Taiwan and Sweden share important values such as respect for democracy, human rights, the rule of law and freedom of speech, Hagman said in the motion, adding that the two nations
TWO CASES: The five allegedly conspired with conglomerates, threatening the nation’s governance and subverting the rules of ethical conduct, a deputy chief prosecutor said Taipei prosecutors yesterday charged three legislators and one former lawmaker with contravening the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例) in a case linked to former Pacific Distribution Investment Co (太平洋流通) chairman Lee Heng-lung’s (李恆隆) battle with the Far Eastern Group (遠東集團) over ownership of the Pacific SOGO Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨) chain, while independent Legislator Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇) was indicted in a separate case involving two funeral services companies and a plot of land in a national park. Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Chen Chao-ming (陳超明) and Sufin Siluko (廖國棟), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) and former New Power Party legislator
PENGHU INSPECTION: Taiwan cannot let its enemies strut around in its airspace, Tsai said, one day after a Chinese spokesman denied a median line exists in the Taiwan Strait Following China’s assertion on Monday that there is no “median line” in the Taiwan Strait, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday pledged to defend the nation’s airspace during a visit to an air force base in Penghu, saying that Taiwan cannot allow others to flex their military muscle in its territorial airspace. Tsai praised the “heroic performance” of the pilots of the Indigenous Defense Fighters who have been intercepting Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force planes in recent days. “I have a lot of confidence in you. As soldiers of the Republic of China [ROC], how could we let enemies strut
EFFICIENCY: The rules for Philippine arrivals were revised after 17.6% of arrivals with symptoms tested positive, compared with 0.7% of those with no symptoms Starting today, Chinese spouses who hold a reunion permit can apply to enter Taiwan and travelers without symptoms from the Philippines do not need to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival, but are to be tested after a 14-day quarantine, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that from today, Chinese who are married to a Taiwanese citizen and hold a reunion permit can apply to the National Immigration Agency for entry into Taiwan. Chinese who are married to a foreign national and hold an accompanied reunion permit