UK to hold major RBS stake
The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) said yesterday that the British government would end up with a 57.9 percent stake in the bank after a share issue to raise funds to help it cope with the financial crisis. RBS said that ordinary shareholders had agreed to take up only 0.24 percent of the share issue, with the government then taking up the balance, as provided for in its recapitalization plan for the British banking system. Last week, shareholders approved plans to raise £20 billion (US$29.5 billion) in fresh capital as part of a state rescue deal for Britain’s banking sector. Under the plan, RBS was to raise £5 billion directly from the government in return for preference shares.
Q4 revenue to miss goals
STMicroelectronics NV, Europe’s largest semiconductor maker, said fourth-quarter revenue and gross margin will miss forecasts after a slowdown in demand from the wireless, automotive and computer peripherals industries. Sales will be US$2.2 billion to US$2.35 billion, down 13 percent to 18 percent from US$2.7 billion in the previous quarter, the company said in a statement yesterday. The company had predicted sales being unchanged or falling 8 percent. The gross margin will be about 38 percent, down from a forecast of 38.8 percent, both allowing moves of plus or minus 1 percentage point. STMicroelectronics will cut output further to adjust to lower demand and reduce sourcing from third-party contractors. Because of the increased idle capacity, the Geneva-based company’s gross margin will be lower than anticipated on Oct. 28.
Drug firms block generics
Drug companies are delaying or blocking the entry of cheaper generic medicines in Europe, pushing up bills for taxpayers and reducing the incentive for innovation, an EU report said yesterday. EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said preliminary results of a probe showed competition in the pharmaceuticals industry did not work as well as it should. Practices such as multiple patent applications for the same drug, litigation and settlement deals delayed generics going on sale, the EU executive said. Based on a sample of medicines facing patent expiry in 17 EU states, the EU executive estimated that delays in getting those generics on the market had cost healthcare providers some 3 billion euros (US$3.9 billion) between 2000 and last year.
FSC plans more job cuts
Fujitsu Siemens Computers Holdings (FSC) plans to slash around 700 jobs in Germany — 12 percent of its workforce in the country, it said on Thursday. FSC is Europe’s biggest maker of personal computers and employs about 10,500 worldwide, most of whom are in Germany. It said the job cuts were not a result of its new ownership structure but rather a move to improve profitability and competitiveness. Management began talks with union representatives about the plans on Thursday, it said
Chinese-made plane tested
China tested its first home-made commercial airliner yesterday, with the pilots praising the handling of the Advanced Regional Jet for the 21st Century (ARJ21), the China News Service said. The one-hour maiden flight of the ARJ21 took place in Shanghai, the report said. The maiden flight, which did not rise above 900m in altitude, had been expected earlier this year, the report said. So far only six ARJ21 have been produced, it said.
FORCED LABOR: Customs officials have seized a 11.8 tonne shipment of products made from human hair on suspicion they were produced by people facing human rights abuses Federal authorities in New York City on Wednesday seized a shipment of weaves and other beauty accessories suspected to be made out of human hair taken from people locked inside a Chinese internment camp. US Customs and Border Protection (CPB) officials said that 11.8 tonnes of hair products worth an estimated US$800,000 were in the shipment. “The production of these goods constitutes a very serious human rights violation, and the detention order is intended to send a clear and direct message to all entities seeking to do business with the United States that illicit and inhumane practices will not be tolerated in
JUST QUESTIONS: Expelled reporter Ai Kezhu said that every member of Southeast Television had complied with the law and had not appeared on any talk shows Two Chinese reporters yesterday left Taiwan after the government revoked their accreditation and ordered them to leave amid a probe into allegations that several Chinese media outlets have set up studios and produced political talk shows in Taiwan. The two reporters — Ai Kezhu (艾珂竹) and Lu Qiang (盧薔) — worked for Fujian Province-based Southeast Television and arrived in Taiwan in December last year. The Mainland Affairs Council has launched an investigation after local media reported that Chinese broadcasters — including China Central Television, Southeast Television and FJTV — had set up studios in Taipei and produced political talk shows. Council Deputy Minister
UPTICK IN NUMBERS: The Taipei deputy mayor said the city has services to assist new immigrants, but has established an office specifically to help those from Hong Kong The Taiwan-Hong Kong Services and Exchanges Office today officially opens, where it is to provide humanitarian assistance to Hong Kongers, after Beijing yesterday passed a controversial national security law for the territory. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) expressed dismay over China’s passage of the law, saying that Beijing has broken its pledge to allow Hong Kong to maintain a high degree of autonomy for at least 50 years following its handover from the UK. “I feel extremely disappointed [about the law’s passage], which means China did not keep its promise to Hong Kong,” Tsai said in Taipei. Beijing’s “broken promise” also
‘BASELESS ACCUSATIONS’: Ker Chien-ming said it was not possible to drop Chen Chu’s nomination, while KMT lawmakers accused their DPP rivals of ‘homicidal behavior’ The Legislative Yuan is to vote on President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) nominations for the Control Yuan on July 17 after Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators regained access to the legislative chamber yesterday after it was occupied by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers for about 19 hours. The Legislative Yuan had been scheduled to meet yesterday morning to discuss its planned extraordinary session, but more than 20 KMT lawmakers on Sunday afternoon broke into the main chamber and occupied the legislative speaker’s podium to protest Tsai’s nomination of former Presidential Office secretary-general Chen Chu (陳菊) to be Control Yuan president. The KMT caucus