Friday, September 22nd, 2017


Bank Indonesia cuts key rate again to fire up growth

JAKARTA, Sept 22 — Indonesia’s central bank today cut its main interest rate for the second consecutive month, wrongfooting most analysts as it seeks to support sluggish lending and consumption holding back growth in South-east Asia’s…

Study: Carmakers face billions in European CO2 fines from 2021

FRANKFURT, Sept 22 — Big-name carmakers including Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler face fines running into the billions for failure to meet tough new European carbon dioxide emissions limits slated for 2021, a study has found. “Only four out of…

Wall Street flat as N. Korea tensions make investors risk-averse

NEW YORK, Sept 22 — US stocks were little changed today as fresh concerns over tensions between North Korea and the United States weighed on the mood of investors. North Korea said it might test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean in…

Ringgit boost for auto companies

Ringgit boost for auto companies

PETALING JAYA: The recent strength of the ringgit against the US dollar is expected to boost earnings of automotive companies exposed to the greenback in the fourth quarter of this year.

Ageing Asia needs more women in boardrooms, recruitment experts say

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 22 — Ageing Asia needs to put more women in the boardroom to maintain growth and competitiveness, a top recruiting agency said today, as new figures showed 80 per cent of top jobs in key parts of the region are held by men….

Time Inc says in talks to sell several assets

NEW YORK, Sept 22 — Magazine publisher Time Inc said it was looking to sell several assets, including Time Inc UK, Time Customer Service and a majority stake in the Essence magazine. The sale processes were at various stages and the company…

Uber stripped of its licence to operate in London

LONDON, Sept 22 — London’s transport regulator today stripped Uber of its licence to operate from the end of the month, affecting over 40,000 drivers in a huge blow to the taxi app. “Uber’s approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of…

China Post Bank raising US$7.3b via preferred shares to shore up capital

HONG KONG: Postal Savings Bank of China Co (PSBC) is raising US$7.25 billion through an issue of preferred shares to shore up its capital buffer and boost lending, becoming the latest Chinese bank to raise funds through the hybrid securities.

State-run PSBC's fundraising comes a year after it garnered US$7.63 billion in a Hong Kong IPO. The lender also unveiled plans in August for a share listing in Shanghai to raise US$785 million.

The deal will help PSBC “to enhance the overall competitiveness of the Bank, improve the capital structure and to achieve sustainable development,” it said in a statement on Friday.

The proceeds will be used to increase its so-called additional tier 1 Capital and support future business development, it said. PSBC's preferred shares will yield 4.5% a year and have a par value of 100 yuan each, it added.

Preferred shares have the characteristics of both debt and equity, and typically don't trade on the open market or carry any voting rights.

Listed companies can sell preferred shares to raise capital with minimal dilution in the value of shares held by existing stakeholders. China's regulator had previously stipulated that preferred share issues to the public must not contain provisions that allow these shares to be converted to common equity.

Chinese regulators implemented rules in 2014 that opened the door for banks to issue preferred shares in a bid to bolster the lenders' finances against an expected rise in bad loans as the economy slowed down. Banks also needed funds to comply with stricter capital adequacy requirements under the global Basel III rules.

Since then, several major lenders, including Shanghai Pudong Development Bank Co and Bank of China, have raised funds that way. China Citic Bank Corp said in November it plans to raise 35 billion yuan via a preferred share sale. — Reuters

Adecco targets faster growth as global economy recovers

ZURICH: Adecco Group is investing in digital technology to make it more attractive to employers seeking flexible workers, the world's largest staffing company said on Friday, as it targets faster growth as the global economy recovers.

The Swiss company said it wanted to grow four times faster than global GDP by 2020, up from a previous goal of three times. It also unveiled a raft of cost savings and digital investments ahead of its investor day in London.

Among its innovations is a mobile platform that enables employers to request temporary staff for hourly or daily assignments, which was developed together with Indian IT company Infosys.

Zurich-based Adecco said its investment in digital ventures along with a cost-saving programme would delay improvements to its operating margin in 2017 and 2018, but would pay off from 2019 onwards.

The company said it would be spending €245 million on restructuring, which aimed at eventually delivering productivity savings of €250 million per year by 2020. The cost savings are slated to improve its operating profit margin by 1 percentage point by 2021, Adecco said.

Previously the company had targeted an operating profit margin of 4.5% to 5%, which it has achieved this year. In its new targets, it said only that it wants “sustained EBITA profit margin improvement”.

“By strengthening the core of our business and leading in digital innovation, we will accelerate growth, enhance our margin and deliver increased total shareholder returns,” Chief Executive Alain Dehaze said in a statement.

Adecco is investing more in digital technology as employers increasingly seek more flexible staff to respond to swings in demand, and carry out more project-based work.

Staffing companies are seen as a bellwether for the health of the wider economy, with employers often taking on temporary staff at the beginning of a recovery before switching to permanent staff.

The new strategy comes as Adecco's growth lagged rivals Randstad and ManpowerGroup during the second quarter.

In an update about its third-quarter trading, Adecco said its organic revenues increased by 6% in July and August, when adjusted for trading days and currency swings, with September continuing at the same pace.

“We see the new targets as good news, particularly the reduction of the cost ratio,” said Marco Strittmatter, an analyst at Zuercher Kantonalbank. — AFP

S&P’s China downgrade is `wrong decision,’ finance ministry says

BEIJING, Sept 22 — China rebuffed the S&P Global Ratings downgrade of its sovereign credit rating, calling it a “wrong decision” that ignores sound economic fundamentals and development potential. The government is fully capable of…