Joblessness fell last month
The labor market last month strengthened more than expected as the economy began to emerge from COVID-19 restrictions. The number of people on payrolls rose 97,000, and vacancies increased 13 percent, the Office for National Statistics said yesterday. The jobless rate in the first quarter fell unexpectedly to 4.8 percent as employment surged 84,000, the first gain since the COVID-19 pandemic struck. The jobs outlook has improved significantly in the past few months, with the government announcing plans to fully reopen the economy by June 21 and then extending wage support for furloughed workers until the end of September.
Alibaba invests in Vietnam
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴) and partners are investing US$400 million in Vietnamese conglomerate Masan Group Corp’s retail arm, a deal that would expand the e-commerce giant’s online groceries business in Southeast Asia. Alibaba and Baring Private Equity Asia are leading a consortium that would take a 5.5 percent stake in The CrownX, which holds Masan’s interests in Masan Consumer Holdings and VinCommerce, while the conglomerate would own 80.2 percent of the firm following the investment, a statement said yesterday. The deal implies a pre-investment valuation of US$6.9 billion for The CrownX, it showed.
Siemens buys Supplyframe
German industrial giant Siemens AG on Monday announced the US$700 million acquisition of US firm Supplyframe, a digital platform that specializes in connecting companies along the electronics supply chain. The deal, expected to close later this year, comes as industrial firms are scrambling to cope with global semiconductor shortages spurred by increased demand for consumer electronics during the pandemic. The acquisition would combine Siemens’ offerings with Supplyframe’s marketplace intelligence to “help customers to reduce costs, increase agility and make highly informed decisions,” Siemens said in a statement.
Tesla to help crash probe
Tesla Inc has pledged to work with Chinese authorities in the investigation of a crash involving one of its electric vehicles in which a policeman died. The California-based company said that it made a report to a government agency about the accident, which took place in the eastern city of Taizhou. One traffic policeman died after being injured in the accident, while a second officer injured in the crash is no longer in danger, the statement said. Another crash is still under investigation in China after a Tesla rear-ended a truck in Shaoguan in Guangdong Province on May 7, killing the driver of the vehicle, a Global Times report said. The cause of that accident is not yet clear.
Danone names new CEO
French food and beverages giant Danone SA on Monday said that it had named a new CEO to replace Emmanuel Faber, who was ousted by the board in March over complaints that his focus on social responsibility was holding back the firm’s profitability. His replacement, Antoine de Saint-Affrique, who currently heads the Swiss chocolate group Barry Callebaut AG, has spent the bulk of his career at the food and consumer goods conglomerate Unilever, heading up its food division from 2011 to 2015. He would assume the position in September, Danone said.
Alphabet Inc’s Google on Tuesday announced plans to buy a New York office building for US$2.1 billion, confirming its push into the US’ largest city despite the COVID-19 teleworking trend. This is the largest real-estate purchase in the US for an office building since the beginning of the global spread of COVID-19, the Wall Street Journal quoted Real Capital Analytics as saying. Google already rents the premises in Manhattan, which are located on the site of a former railroad terminal in the Hudson Square neighborhood. The Silicon Valley giant envisions a campus with a total surface area of 160,000m2 by mid-2023
‘CORE VALUES’: The contract chipmaker did not specify why the employees were dismissed, but media reports said they had leaked information about customer orders Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) has fired seven of its employees for violating the company’s “core values,” the world’s largest contract chipmaker said yesterday. While the company did not disclose exactly why it fired the seven employees, local media reports earlier in the day said that the employees had leaked confidential information about customer orders. In a statement, the company said that it fired the seven at once, adding that it released an internal notice last week to inform the entire company of the move ahead of the four-day Mid-Autumn Festival holilday, which ended on Tuesday. TSMC said it fired the seven
Cash-strapped developer China Evergrande Group (恆大集團) has begun repaying investors in its wealth management products with real estate, said Hengda Real Estate Group Co Ltd (恆大地產), its main unit. Evergrande, with more than US$300 billion in liabilities, is in the throes of a liquidity crisis that has left it racing to raise funds to pay its many lenders and suppliers. It has a bond interest payment of US$83.5 million due on Thursday. The company said on WeChat on Saturday that investors interested in redeeming wealth management products for physical assets should contact their investment consultants or visit local offices. Financial news outlet Caixin on
MILD ADJUSTMENT: Two previous efforts failed to curtail mortgage financing, although the new measures should not affect property prices, the central bank governor said The central bank yesterday tightened credit controls for second-home mortgages in specific areas and purchases of plots of land, especially in industrial parks. However, the nation’s top monetary policymaker kept its policy rate at a record-low 1.125 percent for the sixth consecutive quarter, despite revising up its GDP growth forecast for this year from 5.08 percent to 5.75 percent. “Board members factored in economic uncertainty at home and around the world,” central bank Governor Yang Chin-long (楊金龍) said, adding that growing inflationary pressure was a temporary phenomenon induced by bad weather and a low base effect for oil prices. International fuel price increases