Imperial buys Altadis
Imperial Tobacco Group Plc, Europe's second-biggest cigarette maker, agreed to buy Altadis SA for 12.8 billion euros (US$18 billion) to gain the Gauloises brand and Cuban cigars. Imperial will pay 50 euros a share, 29 percent more than Altadis' price the day before the British company made its first bid in March. The offer is worth 16.2 billion euros including debt, the companies said in a statement. Imperial will raise up to ?5.4 billion (US$11.1 billion) in a rights offering to pay for the purchase. Industry takeover activity has intensified since Japan Tobacco Inc agreed in December to pay ?7.5 billion for Gallaher Group Plc.
Delta approaches Sainsbury
J Sainsbury PLC, Britain's third-largest supermarket group, said yesterday it received a potential takeover approach from Delta Two Ltd, a Qatari investment group. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed, but the Financial Times reported that Delta Two's offer would value Sainsbury at US$24.5 billion. Delta Two announced on June 15 that it had raised its stake in the grocer to 25 percent. In April, Sainsbury fended off a private equity bid that valued the company at US$20 billion.
Thailand cuts key rate
The Bank of Thailand yesterday cut its key interest rate by 25 basis points to 3.25 percent amid growing pressure from the army-backed government to take some measures to curb the rising baht. It was the fifth consecutive rate cut this year and came amid government calls on the bank to tame the volatile baht, which has reached 10-year highs against the US dollar. Following the announcement, the baht was quoted at 33.45-46 to the US dollar, slightly down from Tuesday's close of 33.35-37. "The policy rate cut will help halt the baht's appreciation," Suchada Kirakul, an assistant central bank governor, told reporters.
Rio Tinto iron output soars
Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto yesterday reported record iron ore output during the second quarter, up 15 percent on the same period a year ago. The company, which last week launched a US$38.1 billion takeover bid for Canada's Alcan, said the rise in iron ore production reflected expansion to meet consumer demand. The world's second-largest miner said mined copper production fell 10 percent in the quarter, while refined copper production was up 20 percent. It said a recovery in market conditions led to a 6 percent increase in hard coking coal production, despite problems with infrastructure on Australia's east coast.
ON THE LOOKOUT: A Lockheed EP-3 reconnaissance plane was yesterday seen flying southwest of Kaohsiung, according to Twitter account ‘Aircraft Spots’ A Twitter account that tracks military aircraft movements has indicated an increase in US military activity near Taiwan, coinciding with an increase in Chinese military activity in the area. Planes from the US Seventh Fleet have been sighted frequently above the South China Sea in the past several days, and a US Navy EP-3 reconnaissance plane was seen flying close to Taiwanese airspace southwest of Kaohsiung yesterday, according to posts by the Twitter account Aircraft Spots. The EP-3 was seen circling above the same area, Aircraft Spots said, adding that other planes from the fleet were seen in the past few days
A Taipei resident who had breached his home quarantine order was found on Tuesday night in an Internet cafe and fined NT$1 million (US$32,976), Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) said yesterday, as the Taipei City Government announced a short-term COVID-19 relief plan. Huang on Tuesday afternoon publicized the name of the man, Chen Tse (陳冊), who on Saturday last week returned from Beijing and was ordered to undergo 14-day home quarantine. However, city monitoring officials were unable to contact him by mobile phone or at his home. Chen was found by police at an Internet cafe on Nanyang Street, Huang said
ACCLIMATION: Chen Shih-chung said that only ‘soft’ policies have been carried out so far, but ‘hard’ measures would be implemented if the coronavirus situation worsens The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday recommended that indoor events of more than 100 people and outdoor events with more than 500 people should be canceled, as 19 new imported cases of COVID-19 were announced, bringing the total number in Taiwan to 235. “The center recommends that from now, indoor events of more than 100 people and outdoor events with more than 500 people should be suspended to reduce the risk of COVID-19 community transmission,” said Deputy Minister of the Interior Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥), deputy head of the center. Event organizers should refer to six indicators listed in the response guidelines
US President Donald Trump on Thursday signed the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act of 2019 into law, before he talked with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) by telephone about the COVID-19 pandemic. The TAIPEI Act authorizes the US government to increase economic, diplomatic and security engagements with nations upgrading relations with Taiwan, or reduce such engagements with nations taking actions that seriously undermine Taiwan. The act calls on Washington to advocate for Taiwan’s membership, or observer status, in international organizations, while encouraging the US trade representative to further strengthen trade and economic relations with Taiwan. It is the second