Rail overhaul unveiled
The country yesterday unveiled a radical overhaul of its COVID-19-plagued privatized rail sector that would see franchises replaced with concessions subject to tougher scrutiny and greater state involvement. “Ministers today ended rail franchising after 24 years as the first step in bringing Britain’s fragmented network back together. The new system will create a simpler, more effective structure and will take shape over the coming months,” the Department for Transport said in a statement. The government in March decided to take on franchise holders’ revenue and cost risks, as the COVID-19 pandemic decimated passenger demand for rail travel.
Superdry outlook murky
Superdry PLC cofounder Julian Dunkerton would have to wait to see whether his turnaround plan is working, as the UK apparel chain was hit hard by the pandemic. The retailer, known for outerwear emblazoned with Japanese characters, lost about ￡42 million (US$54 million) on an underlying basis in the year through April, compared with a profit of ￡38 million the prior year. Write-downs related to its real-estate holdings contributed to the shortfall. Superdry said business this year is improving, with online sales nearly doubling year-on-year in the first quarter, but said there is a “material uncertainty” over the outlook.
Airline struggles with refunds
Philippine Airlines Inc said that it has received refund requests totaling 15.9 billion pesos (US$329 million) amid the COVID-19 pandemic, seeking customers’ understanding, as it has only paid back 80 percent of the amount. The carrier has canceled more than 60,000 flights since March, affecting more than 1.3 million passengers, it said in a statement. Asia’s oldest airline has restored nearly 15 percent of its local and international network and plans to ramp up flights as travel and quarantine restrictions ease.
Iliad to buy Polish telecom
Iliad SA has agreed to buy Polish telecom Play Communications SA for 2.2 billion euros (US$2.6 billion) as it expands across Europe. French billionaire Xavier Niel’s Iliad has offered 39 zloty per share for Play, and has received binding commitments from two controlling shareholders for their 40 percent stake, the companies said in a statement yesterday. The offer is a 39 percent premium to the company’s closing share price on Friday. Play Communications, which is the youngest of Poland’s four biggest mobile telecoms, started operating in 2007. It is controlled by Greece’s Olympia Development SA and Iceland’s Novator Partners LLP.
Financial bill planned
The country plans to buttress the City of London’s global competitiveness and openness once it moves outside the EU with new financial services sector legislation. Although the country left the EU in January, its unfettered access to the bloc for banks and other financial firms does not end until December, when transition arrangements expire. Economic Secretary to the Treasury John Glen yesterday said that the new Financial Services Bill would create a modern, flexible and robust system of financial regulation. The EU, the City of London’s biggest customer, has said it would give British clearing houses temporary access.
Contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) is expected to remain the third-largest IC supplier this year, unchanged from last year, IC Insights said yesterday. IC designer MediaTek Inc (聯發科) is expected to become the 11th-largest, up from 16th last year, the semiconductor market research firm said. TSMC is expected to post US$45.42 billion in sales, up 31 percent from last year, IC Insights said in a report released on its Web site. TSMC’s sales growth is largely due to a surge in orders from Apple Inc and HiSilicon Technologies Co (海思半導體) — two of its major clients — which
SETTING AN EXAMPLE: The commission suspended the bank’s two top executives as ‘a warning to all banks,’ while the fine is the biggest to be given to a bank in a single case The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) yesterday fined E.Sun Commercial Bank (玉山銀行) NT$20 million (US$693,698) over a theft scandal and punished the bank’s two top executives. A customer relationship manager surnamed Pan (潘) at the bank’s branch in Kaohsiung’s Fengshan District (鳳山) stole NT$140 million from 41 clients over the past seven years, the commission said. Pan secretly transferred the stolen money to accounts belonging to her and her family members by using clients’ debit cards, passwords or documents that were stamped using the clients’ personal stamps between July 2013 and June this year, the commission said. The commission suspended Ben Chen (陳炳良), the
HARD ASK: At a meeting held by the MOEA to talk about the RCEP trade deal, trade associations said that they expect the government to push for more free-trade deals Business representatives yesterday urged the government to slow the appreciation of the New Taiwan dollar, saying that some Taiwanese industries have been undercut by rivals due to unfavorable foreign exchange rates. The government should also assist local industries to expand their domestic market, and push for more bilateral trade deals so that Taiwanese companies can enjoy zero or preferential tariffs on exports, following the nation’s exclusion from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) which was signed by 15 Asia-Pacific nations on Nov. 15, they said at a meeting with the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA). Some participants said that the NT dollar’s
BREATH OF LIFE: The firm said the under-utilized plant should start mass production in the first quarter, timed to coincide with Intel Corp’s release of its Ice Lake server chip Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) plans to assemble key components for Google servers at its plant in Wisconsin, people familiar with the matter said, finally breathing life into a factory that US President Donald Trump hailed as crucial to bringing manufacturing back to the US. The company has decided to locate production for this new contract at the existing complex rather than make the components at home or in China, the people said, asking not to be identified. The under-utilized plant should start mass production in the first quarter, timed with the release of Intel Corp’s Ice Lake server chips,