Tsang warns of inflation
Financial Secretary John Tsang (曾俊華) yesterday said the economy bounced back strongly last year, expanding by 6.8 percent thanks to strong growth in China and the rest of Asia. However, he forecast inflation of 4.5 percent this year, while GDP growth would ease to between 4 percent and 5 percent. He said the government would release more land for development to reduce the risk of a property bubble. As Tseng spoke, protesters outside the Legislative Council urged the government do more to ease the wealth gap.
PetroChina pays Quito
Ecuador has received a billion dollars from PetroChina (中石油) as prepayment for crude oil sales, Ecuadorean Finance Minister Patricio Rivero said on Tuesday. Rivero did not say how much oil was involved but that it was a two-year contract that would begin in August. It was the second time Quito used the prepayment regime with China. Ecuador pumped 486,000 barrels per day last year of which 62 percent were moved by Petroecuador and the rest by foreign firms such as China’s CNPC (中國石油天然氣).
Grupo Carso buys stake
The Grupo Carso consortium controlled by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim said on Tuesday it was buying a 70 percent stake in an oil exploration and production company. Carso says it has reached an agreement to take a majority stake in Tabasco Oil Co LLC, which has an exploration concession on a field in Colombia. The consortium did not say how much it was paying for the stake.
Imerys eyes Rio Tinto’s talc
Global mining giant Rio Tinto said yesterday that it has received an offer for its talc business, Luzenac, from French industrial minerals group Imerys. “Rio Tinto has received a binding offer from Imerys to acquire its talc business for an enterprise value of US$340 million,” the British-based resources company said in a statement. Luzenac is the world’s biggest producer of talc, a mineral used in a vast array of products, including animal feed, cosmetics, fertilizers, paints, pharmaceuticals, plastics, roofing — and talcum powder.
No windfall for Lehman
Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc’s hurried sale of much of its US operations to Barclays PLC at the height of the financial crisis was fair, and its bankruptcy estate is not entitled to recover an US$11 billion “windfall,” US Bankruptcy Judge James Peck ruled. The long-awaited ruling followed a trial in which Lehman said Barclays got a sweetheart deal in acquiring its US investment banking and brokerage operations. Lehman agreed to sell that business for about US$1.85 billion on Sept. 20, 2008, just five days after the company filed for Chapter 11.
Moller-Maersk profits up
Danish container shipping and oil group A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S yesterday said it made 26.5 billion kroner (US$4.84 billion) in net profit last year. It said earnings were boosted by rising freight rates and higher volumes in its container activities. Revenue soared to 315.4 billion kroner from 260 billion kroner a year earlier.
RECORD BUDGET: TSMC does plan to raise its proposed capital expenditure a lot, and could benefit if Intel outsources more of its production to foundries, analysts said Intel Corp’s earnings conference call on Thursday is expected to clarify the US semiconductor giant’s outsourcing production plans, which would be crucial regarding Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) performance, analysts said. “TSMC stands to benefit if Intel outsources more of its fabrication to foundries,” SinoPac Securities Investment Service Corp (永豐投顧) analysts said in a note on Friday. Yuanta Securities Investment Consulting Co (元大投顧) was more cautious, saying that Intel’s contribution initially would be limited, but its outsourcing plans would still highlight TSMC’s leadership in technology, it added. “Intel will continue to manufacture server or high-end central processing units [CPUs], which have higher
MediaTek Inc (聯發科) yesterday announced it would give incentive bonuses totaling NT$1.7 billion (US$59.7 million) to its employees and those at the firm’s major subsidiaries, after the smartphone chip supplier’s revenue hit US$10 billion last year. This is the biggest incentive bonus the Hsinchu-based handset chip designer has ever distributed in its 23-year history. About 17,000 full-time employees of MediaTek and five of its subsidiaries, including Richtek Technology Corp (立錡科技) and Airoha Technology Corp (絡達科技), would receive a “red envelope” of NT$100,000 each, the company said. “Surpassing US$10 billion is just the beginning. We will continue to [grow] on this basis,” MediaTek
TO SPUR REVENUE: The contract chipmaker expects its profit to grow 15 percent this year, outpacing the foundry industry’s projected advance of about 10 percent Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday raised its projected capital spending for this year by 62 percent, a new high, in an attempt to satisfy customer demand for advanced technologies in the production of central processing units, high-performance-computing (HPC) devices and 5G applications. After investing US$17.24 billion last year, TSMC this year plans to spend US$25 billion to US$28 billion on manufacturing equipment and new facilities, including a fab in the US. About 80 percent of the budget would be allocated for developing advanced technologies including 3, 5 and 7-nanometer technologies, the company said. The larger-than-expected capital spending prompted speculation
Norway’s oil and gas reserves have made it one of the world’s wealthiest countries, but its dreams for deep-sea discovery now center on something different. This time, Oslo is looking for a leading role in mining copper, zinc and other metals found on the seabed and in hot demand in green technologies. The country could license companies for deep-sea mining as early as 2023, the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy said, potentially placing it among the first countries to harvest seabed metals for electric vehicle batteries, wind turbines and solar farms. However, that could also place it on the front line of