BASF to invest in Asia
The German chemical giant BASF said yesterday it would invest 2 billion euros (US$2.9 billion) by 2013 in the Asia-Pacific region to double its sales there by 2020. The group also said it would hire at least 5,000 new staff, bringing its total in the area to around 20,000, and generate 70 percent of its sales from local production. “The current economic situation does not change our positive expectations of the long-term potential of these dynamic markets,” a statement quoted BASF regional director Martin Brudermueller as saying.
Toshiba plans relocations
Toshiba Corp, Japan’s biggest memory chipmaker, plans to relocate as many as 700 engineers by next month to help cut semiconductor research spending. The measure is part of the company’s plan to cut development costs and help the chip operations return to profit in the current fiscal year. Toshiba said last month it aimed to cut research spending to ¥1 trillion (US$11 billion) over the three years to March 2012, from ¥1.17 trillion the previous three year period.
UBS keeping Paine Webber
UBS AG’s US wealth management unit Paine Webber is not a core part of the bank’s operations, but will not be sold at present, UBS chief executive Oswald Gruebel was quoted as saying in the Financial Times (FT). “We’ve had a lot of inquiries from potential buyers but it wouldn’t make sense to sell at current valuations,” Gruebel said, according to a report in yesterday’s FT. Gruebel also told the FT the bank wanted to cut ties with the Swiss government by buying its way out of a “bad bank” deal and aimed to return to health within a year.
BNP Paribas raising funds
BNP Paribas SA, France’s largest bank, said it would raise 4.3 billion euros (US$6.3 billion) in a rights offer to help repay government funds. BNP Paribas is offering existing investors 107.6 million shares at 40 euros each, or 29 percent below Monday’s closing price, the Paris-based bank said yesterday. The company will repay 5.1 billion euros it received from the French state as well as 226 million euros of interest, it said. After paying back the government, BNP Paribas’ tier-one capital ratio, an indicator of financial strength, will be above 9 percent, the company said.
British GDP contracts
The British economy contracted 0.6 percent in the second quarter compared with output in the first three months of the year, an improvement on the previous estimate of minus 0.7 percent, official data showed yesterday. GDP shrank 5.5 percent between April and June in recession-hit Britain, compared with activity in the second quarter of last year, unchanged from the previous estimate made last month, the Office for National Statistics said.
Russia cuts benchmark rate
Russia will cut its main refinancing rate by half a point to 10.0 percent, the country’s Central Bank said yesterday, in its latest bid to stimulate the country’s economy. The bank’s directors “decided to lower the Central Bank’s refinancing rate by 0.5 points to 10 percent, starting on Sept. 30,” the bank said in a statement. The decision was motivated by “the need for additional stimulation of economic activity,” it added.