Saudi firms sign agreements
Local firms and their Saudi Arabian counterparts yesterday signed preliminary agreements for seven deals worth more than US$2 billion. The deals, valued at 9.74 billion ringgit (US$2.19 billion), are to cover joint ventures and cooperation in several sectors, including oil and gas, Muslim finance, Shariah-compliant products, the halal industry and manufacturing, Minister of International Trade and Industry Mustapa Mohamed said at a news conference. State oil company Saudi Arabian Oil Co was yesterday also expected to sign a deal with Petroliam Nasional Bhd to invest US$7 billion in an oil refinery and petrochemical project in southern Johor.
US$26 trillion needed: ADB
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said developing countries in Asia and the Pacific will need to invest up to US$1.7 trillion per year, or US$26 trillion through 2030, to meet their infrastructure needs and maintain the region’s growth momentum — more than double the previous estimate in 2009. A substantial infrastructure gap remains, as more than 400 million people still lack electricity, 300 million have no access to safe drinking water and about 1.5 billion lack basic sanitation, the ADB said in a report released yesterday.
Pemex halves annual losses
Mexico’s state-run energy giant Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) on Monday reported losses of US$14.3 billion for last year, halving its losses in 2015, and said austerity measures were starting to pay off. Pemex, which has not posted a profit since 2012, has struggled through a period of low oil prices and sweeping energy reforms launched by Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. Pemex said it last year slashed operation costs by 26 percent and maintained production at 2.15 million barrels per day. Seeking to stave off a financial catastrophe, Pemex shelved US$3.6 billion in investments early last year and implemented US$5.5 billion in budget cuts.
Illicit forex operation busted
The government said it has broken up an underground banking operation that conducted US$7.3 billion in illegal foreign currency transfers, trumpeting the bust as a sign of its resolve to stem massive capital flight. The State Administration of Foreign Exchange late on Monday said in a statement that it had investigated six companies suspected of illegal forex transfers in Shenzhen. An unspecified number of other firms were found to have used false documentation, fabricated trades and other methods to funnel money out of the country, the regulator said. The country’s vast foreign exchange reserves last year fell to less than US$3 trillion for the first time in six years, as authorities spent heavily to prop up the yuan and reduce on outflows.
Unlimited data on horizon
Netflix Inc chairman and CEO Reed Hastings on Monday said that telecoms would offer data plans that give users unlimited video streaming to meet the rising popularity of watching TV and movies on mobile devices. The trend would take place in the next 10 to 20 years, Hastings said at the GSMA Mobile World Congress, the industry’s largest annual trade fair. He said he believed telecoms would eventually create a two-tier system, where video data is unlimited to meet the growing demand for watching TV series and movies on mobile devices.
SIZE MATTERS: Medium-sized hotels that do not have the support of parent groups are more vulnerable and are forced to take action, a REPro Knight Frank researcher said About 50 hotels across Taiwan are seeking to exit the market as they succumb to the bleak business outlook amid international travel restrictions imposed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Yomi Hotel (優美飯店) on Minsheng E Road, Sec 1, in Taipei is seeking to transfer ownership with an asking price of NT$950 million (US$32.15 million) and a pledge for a lease contract that guarantees a 3 percent return. The budget hotel, with room rates that start from NT$1,400 per night, maintains normal operations, but has been struggling since March, when the government placed restrictions on inbound and outbound travel. Occupancy rates for hotels in
With the US dollar expected to weaken in the next 12 months due to near-zero interest rates, investors should consider purchasing US corporate bonds, Standard Chartered Bank Taiwan Ltd (渣打台灣銀行) said on Thursday. The bank said that the US Federal Reserve since last month has been buying bonds issued by US companies to curb default rates. The US dollar is forecast to be weaker against the pound, the euro and the yen, as well as the Canadian dollar, the Swedish krona and the Swiss franc, as the greenback lacks high investment returns after the Fed in March slashed the benchmark interest rate
Polytronics Technology Corp (聚鼎科技) yesterday announced that it is buying Henkel AG’s thermal clad dielectric material (TCLAD) business division for US$26 million as the Taiwanese firm aims to improve its technology, product portfolio and revenue performance. Polytronics, headquartered in the Hsinchu Science Park (新竹科學園區), is a supplier of protection components and heat dissipation materials. The firm entered the metallic heat-dissipation substrate market in 2007 and developed a unique solventless production process. Its board of directors approved signing an agreement with Henkel to acquire the German chemical firm’s TCLAD division in the US. The purchase includes all assets and business interests, including equipment,
A Bollywood actor’s face tattooed on his arm, Sandeep Bacche’s devotion shocks few in India where stars enjoy semi-divine status, but even there the hallowed silver screen might be losing its shine to streaming services and pandemic fears. “Whenever things get better and theaters begin operations, I will watch three movies a day for sure just as a way to celebrate,” said the Mumbai rickshaw driver, who is recovering from the virus himself. However, others might not join the party. With cinemas shut for months due to a COVID-19 lockdown, and little prospect they will reopen soon, frustrated Bollywood producers have turned to