SOHO to buy property
Property developer SOHO China said it has agreed to buy a top Shanghai office building from US investment bank Morgan Stanley for around 2.45 billion yuan (US$358.7 million). The 52-story office and retail complex, Dong Hai Plaza, is located on downtown Shanghai’s Nanjing Road, one of the world’s busiest shopping streets, SOHO China said in a statement late on Tuesday. The deal came as office vacancy in China’s financial hub hovers at record high levels as cost-conscious companies remain reluctant to rent more space due to ongoing global economic uncertainty.
Air France drops CSA bid
Air France-KLM Group, Europe’s largest airline, said it’s pulling out of the bidding for Ceske Aerolinie AS (CSA), the Czech Republic’s state-controlled carrier. In the current economic environment, Air France “believes that CSA might focus on developing and implementing a stand-alone recovery plan aimed at restoring its profitability,” the Paris-based carrier said in a statement yesterday. The Czech finance ministry received four bids in March for a majority stake in CSA, including from OAO Aeroflot’s Darofan AS, as well as Air France. The ministry said then that the only criterion in a second round of bidding would be price. The Czech government estimated that its 91.5 percent stake would fetch between 3 billion koruna (US$165 million) and 5 billion koruna.
Mirax assets frozen
A Moscow court yesterday froze the assets of major developer Mirax, including a landmark skyscraper being built in the main business district, over the company’s failure to repay a US$242 million loan to Alfa Bank. Dmitry Tafintsev, spokesman for the Moscow Arbitration Court, said the court froze several assets of Mirax in the Moscow City business district, including the massive Federation Tower. Federation Tower, to be one of the symbols of Moscow City, is to be completed next year and host the offices of Russia’s largest private bank VTB. VTB says it has no immediate plans to move to the new offices.
Financial services executives believe business conditions will bottom this year before a recovery in the sector and broader economy occurs next year, a new study from KPMG LLP showed. About 70 percent of the 130 executives polled believe revenue and profitability in the financial services sector will improve next year, according to the business climate survey conducted by the audit, tax and advisory firm. However, respondents were split about whether a recovery among financial firms will lead or lag a rebound in the broader US economy. More than half of the executives surveyed said the downturn made it more difficult to raise capital or receive financing to operate businesses.
BAT appoints Burrows
British American Tobacco (BAT), the world’s second-biggest cigarette maker, said yesterday it had appointed Richard Burrows, who resigned as head of ailing Bank of Ireland Group, as its new chairman. The Irishman succeeds Jan du Plessis, who leaves BAT to become chairman of Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto. Burrows takes up his new post on Nov. 1, the maker of Lucky Strike and Dunhill cigarettes said in a statement.
SAFETY RISK: The government is working to categorize countries based on their COVID-19 cases and prevention efforts, which would determine quarantine periods The government plans to rank countries based on their COVID-19 risks to determine how to treat tourists and other travelers from those nations once Taiwan reopens its borders, but it is still working out the categories, a top health official told lawmakers yesterday. “We would divide countries around the world into several categories. One category would comprise those countries with very few confirmed COVID-19 cases, such as New Zealand and Palau. Travelers from the countries in this category would only need to practice self-health management,” Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) told a Legislative Yuan seminar hosted by
China would attack Taiwan if there is no other way of stopping it from becoming independent, Chinese General Li Zuocheng (李作成) said yesterday. Speaking at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on the 15th anniversary of China’s “Anti-Secession” Law, Li, who is chief of the Joint Staff Department of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Central Military Commission, left the door open to using force. The 2005 law is China’s legislative basis for military action against Taiwan. “If the possibility for peaceful reunification is lost, the people’s armed forces will, with the whole nation, including the people of Taiwan, take all necessary steps to
SECURITY CONCERNS: The Telecom Technology Center ran black-box tests for the Executive Yuan on devices and software from Chinese, US and South Korean firms Network devices from several Chinese manufacturers are insecure and allow personal information to be leaked, testing commissioned by the Executive Yuan has shown. A variety of devices and software, including apps, from Chinese, US and South Korean manufacturers that are used by government agencies at the central and local level were subjected to black-box testing — in which the functionality of an application is examined without knowing about its internal structure, an information-security official said yesterday on condition of anonymity. The Telecom Technology Center conducted the tests, which simulated cyberattacks, to determine their resilience to the attacks, the official said. The center
RELATIONSHIP ‘TERMINATED’: US Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the president’s action was ‘an act of extraordinary senselessness,’ a tone Chinese media echoed US President Donald Trump on Friday announced that Washington would withdraw funding from the WHO, end Hong Kong’s special trade status and suspend visas of Chinese graduate students suspected of conducting research on behalf of their government. Trump said in a White House announcement that Chinese officials “ignored” their reporting obligations to the WHO and pressured the organization to mislead the public about the outbreak. “We have detailed the reforms that it must make and engaged with them directly, but they have refused to act,” he said. “Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be