Aegon posts 161m euro loss
Aegon NV, the Dutch insurer, reported a 161 million euro (US$229 million) loss for the second quarter yesterday due to impairment charges and announced plans to issue up to 1 billion euros in new shares. The company had a net profit of 276 million euros for the same period last year. This year’s loss included 393 million euros in impairment charges, mostly on investments related to the US housing market, and a 353 million euros loss from the sale of the Taiwanese activities. Aegon said it planned the share issue in order to repay part of the 3 billion euros in bailout money it received from the Dutch state last year.
AB InBev Q2 profit up 13%
Anheuser Busch InBev (AB InBev) said on Wednesday that its second quarter profit rose 13 percent to US$1.1 billion, helped by sales of stakes in brewing companies, but cautioned the recession was flattening beer consumption in key markets around the world. The figure compared with a US$850 million profit in the same period a year earlier. AB InBev reported a 1.1 percent drop in global sales in the second quarter with Carlos Brito, the company’s chief executive, saying “the beer industry ... is not immune to economic pressures.” AB-InBev saw a net profit of US$1.92 billion for the first half of the year, up from US$1.25 billion in the same period last year.
KNOC, Aussie firms to drill
South Korean and Australian firms will conduct exploratory drilling for oil and gas in the Sea of Japan in early 2011, officials said yesterday. The exploration follows joint surveys by Australia’s Woodside Energy and state-run Korea National Oil Corp (KNOC) in two blocks off the east coast. “After analyzing joint surveys, we concluded that there is a possibility of discovering oil and gas,” a KNOC spokesman said. “However, we are still unsure that we can discover commercially viable reserves.” Woodside is the first foreign firm to join an exploration around the Korean Peninsula since 1994, when a British firm pulled out after failing to discover oil and gas.
Vietnam picks bullet train
Vietnam plans to use Japanese bullet train technology for a transnational rail link, the chief executive of state-owned Vietnam Railways Corp was quoted yesterday as telling Japanese media. The government had already given basic approval for the Shinkansen system, although it still required financing and formal consent from the prime minister, Nguyen Huu Bang reportedly told the Nikkei Shimbun. Funding for the US$56 billion project remained riddled with uncertainties, the report said, with Hanoi seeking Japanese aid and funds from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.
Toyota plans new hybrid
Toyota Motor Corp will start selling a new hybrid automobile in 2011 that is more fuel-efficient than its Prius, in a bid to keep pole position in environmentally friendly vehicles, the Yomiuri Shimbun said yesterday. The new hybrid, based on Toyota’s Vitz compact car, will have a fuel economy of more than 40km per liter, against 38km for the third-generation Prius, the newspaper reported, without citing sources. It will have a price tag of about ¥1.5 million (US$15,600), cheaper than Toyota’s existing hybrids, and is expected to be sold in Japan, Europe and the US, the report said. A Toyota spokeswoman declined to comment.
SCHEDULE: The delegation is due to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen this morning and witness the signing of an MOU on bilateral health cooperation in the afternoon US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar yesterday arrived in Taipei aboard a US government plane at the head of a delegation that is the highest-level visit by a US official since Washington switched diplomatic recognition to China in 1979. Azar’s flight landed at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) at 4:48pm, nearly one hour earlier than scheduled, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The apron where it landed is reserved for military aircraft, the Songshan Air Force Base Command said. The members of Azar’s delegation included HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec, HHS Chief of Staff Brian
ALEX AZAR: The first visit by a head of the Department of Health and Human Services would strictly observe the CECC’s special regulations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar is to lead a delegation to Taiwan — the highest-level visit by a US Cabinet official since the two sides cut formal relations in 1979. The plan was announced yesterday morning by the US Department of Health and Human Services and confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Beijing has expressed its concerns to Washington, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) said later yesterday. Taiwan and the US only issued statements saying that the visit would happen “in the coming days.” MOFA said that due to security concerns, it would
‘CROSS-STRAIT CONSIDERATIONS’: Groups said that the Ministry of Education’s policies excluded Chinese and students should not be blocked over political issues The Taiwan International Student Movement yesterday said it would protest today outside the Ministry of Education in Taipei against a policy that excludes some Chinese students from returning to Taiwan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Since June 17, the ministry has allowed foreign students from 19 “low risk” and “medium-low risk” countries and regions to enter Taiwan. On July 22, it announced that it was relaxing restrictions to include students from all countries and regions who are graduating this semester and on Wednesday it further expanded entry to students enrolled in degree programs. A letter sent by the ministry on Wednesday to universities did
PARTNERSHIP AND LEARNING: A Princeton University health policy researcher said that the nation would be a ‘treasure trove’ of information for the US health chief US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar on Friday said he wants to learn about Taiwan’s “incredibly effective” response to COVID-19, even though the nation did things that the US has fumbled, such as having a unified strategy and citizens willing to wear masks. Azar leads a US delegation arriving today for a three-day visit to Taiwan. They are to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and health system leaders, and Azar is to give a speech to public health graduates. “The message of this trip is about Taiwan,” Azar said in an interview, deflecting a question about China.