Jet tax cut may be extended
The Ministry of Finance said that it is proposing that Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc extend a 30 percent cut in the jet fuel environmental tax through next year to help struggling airlines. The proposal follows the National Assembly’s approval earlier this month of the government’s plan to provide financial support to national carrier Vietnam Airlines JSC. The government is weighing providing the airline with loan guarantees and allowing its investment arm, State Capital Investment Corp, to invest in the carrier, state broadcaster VTV has said.
Rebels hit Aramco plant
Saudi Arabian Oil Co (Aramco) yesterday said that a strike by Yemen’s Houthi rebels on its plant in Jeddah tore a hole in an oil tank, triggering an explosion and fire that was quickly extinguished. The energy giant took reporters to the distribution facility where damage to the tank was visible the day after the attack, with the top rim left blackened by fire and the railings above buckled from the heat. Aramco said that the company was assessing whether the tank could be repaired.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Shareholder rules eased
The country has abolished the need for firms to have Emirati shareholders, local media reported, in a major shake-up of foreign ownership laws aimed at attracting investment into an economy reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic and a decline in oil prices. The amendments to the 2015 commercial companies’ law remove key provisions requiring that a firm be chaired by an Emirati national and for the board of directors to be majority Emirati, the National newspaper said. The rules come into effect on Tuesday next week, Gulf News said.
Novartis to buy back shares
Novartis AG plans to repurchase as much as US$2.5 billion of shares as the Swiss drugmaker expects its pipeline of new drug candidates to fuel sales growth. The pharma giant expects key data and advances on five experimental cancer medicines that are in mid to late-stage clinical trials next year, Novartis said ahead of a presentation to investors yesterday. Novartis said that it is on track to deliver US$2 billion in cost savings by year-end and another US$2 billion in the mid-term.
Credit Suisse eyes charge
Credit Suisse Group AG expects to book a US$450 million impairment charge on its stake in York Capital Management as the US firm winds down most of its hedge fund strategies. The charge, which could still change, would be booked in the fourth quarter, the Zurich-based bank said yesterday. Credit Suisse agreed in 2010 to take a stake of about 30 percent in the firm founded by Jamie Dinan, offering to pay at least US$425 million to give clients access to its investments.
Europe plans to cut prices
The European Commission wants to make it easier for patients to access cheaper, generic medicines, a draft EU document seen by Reuters showed, in a move that could cut the revenues of big pharmaceutical firms. The EU executive outlined its strategy for the sector in a document due to be published today, with the goal of making drugs more affordable and preventing the shortages seen in the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The Commission will consider targeted policies that support greater generic and biosimilar competition,” the document says.
From India to China to the US, automakers cannot make vehicles — not that no one wants any, but because a more than US$450 billion industry for semiconductors got blindsided. How did both sides end up here? Over the past two weeks, automakers across the world have bemoaned the shortage of chips. Germany’s Audi, owned by Volkswagen AG, would delay making some of its high-end vehicles because of what chief executive officer Markus Duesmann called a “massive” shortfall in an interview with the Financial Times. The firm has furloughed more than 10,000 workers and reined in production. That is a further blow
MOBILE SMART: The Dimensity 1200 is 22 percent better in terms of performance than its predecessor, and 25 percent more power-efficient, the handset chip designer said MediaTek Inc (聯發科) yesterday unveiled its premium 5G processors — the Dimensity 1200 and Dimensity 1100 — as it vies for a larger slice of the world’s rapidly growing 5G smartphone market. Manufactured using Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (台積電) 6-nanometer process technology, the Dimensity 1200 processor performs 22 percent better than the previous generation Dimensity 1000+ processor, and is 25 percent more power-efficient, MediaTek said. Chinese smartphone brands Xiaomi Corp (小米) and Realme Mobile Telecommunications (Shenzhen) Co (銳爾覓移動通信) are to be the first adopters of the latest Dimensity chips, the companies said during a virtual media briefing. Xiaomi plans to equip its first
Answering to a reported request by Germany to help address a chip shortage in its auto industry, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday said that it was in talks with domestic chip suppliers. Foreign media over the weekend reported that German Minister of Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier had sent a request to Taipei to ask Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) to cooperate more closely with German automakers to provide microchips and sensors, to bridge a shortage that has emerged over the past few months. The MOEA said that it had not yet received the request and could therefore not elaborate
FOCUS ON FOUNDRIES: An analyst said that some investors would be disappointed because they were expecting a larger announcement of a partnership with TSMC Intel Corp’s incoming chief executive officer Pat Gelsinger on Thursday pledged to regain the company’s lead in chip manufacturing, countering growing calls from some investors to shed that part of its business. “I am confident that the majority of our 2023 products will be manufactured internally,” Gelsinger said. “At the same time, given the breadth of our portfolio, it’s likely that we will expand our use of external foundries for certain technologies and products.” He plans to provide more details after officially taking over the CEO role on Feb. 15, but Gelsinger was clear that Intel is sticking with its once mighty