Boeing 737 Max ‘safe’
Europe’s top aviation regulator said he is satisfied that changes to Boeing Co’s 737 Max have made the plane safe enough to return to the region’s skies before the end of the year, even as a further upgrade that his agency demanded would not be ready for up to two years. After test flights conducted last month, the EU Aviation Safety Agency is performing final document reviews ahead of a draft airworthiness directive it expects to issue next month, agency executive director Patrick Ky said. That would be followed by four weeks of public comment, while the development of a sensor to add redundancy would take 20 to 24 months, he said.
Daimler earnings snap back
Daimler AG’s earnings snapped back last quarter, with recovering vehicle sales and cost cuts giving the Mercedes-Benz maker the confidence to predict that momentum would last through end of this year. Earnings before interest and taxes surged to 3.07 billion euros (US$3.6 billion) for the three months ended last month, Daimler said on Thursday. The preliminary result far surpasses the average estimate for 1.61 billion euros among analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. “Given the development of the third quarter, Daimler also expects a positive impact for the remainder of the year,” the company said. The luxury-car maker said its outlook assumes that there would be no further lockdowns to contain the spread of COVID-19. Daimler coped with the biggest disruption to the auto industry in decades better than feared, though it suffered a 1.68 billion-euro operating loss in the second quarter.
Australian firm plans layoffs
Coal miner New Hope Corp Ltd yesterday said it would lay off up to 75 percent of its workforce from its corporate headquarters due to uncertainty around approvals for its environmentally contentious New Acland mine. The layoffs come as the outlook for Australian coal has worsened given China’s halt on coal imports from the country and prices that last month hit decade lows amid a COVID-19 pandemic demand slump and abundant cheaper natural gas alternatives. Under the restructuring, the majority of executives at the Brookwater, Queensland, office would be made redundant by the end of next month, the company said. Total cuts would equate to about 90 workers, it added. New Hope has already laid off 175 employees at New Acland while it awaits approvals for stage 3 expansion of its Queensland project.
Equity loans planned
Paris plans to raise 20 billion euros ($23 billion) in quasi-equity loans for small firms hit by the COVID-19 pandemic by offering investors a state guarantee against the first 2 billion euros in losses, officials said. Fearing failures among firms which were already saddled with record levels of debt before the crisis, the government wants the program up and running by early next year as it battles the economic impact of the pandemic. Under plans to be presented to the financial sector on Monday next week, banks would first lend to small and medium-sized firms and then sell on 90 percent of the loans to institutional investors, people familiar with the proposals said. That would limit banks’ risk exposure to 10 percent of the loans, while also steering funds to viable firms. Since a public guarantee is involved, EU state aid regulators have to give the program their blessing, particularly the interest rate that would be charged.
Luxury hotel Mandarin Oriental Taipei (文華東方酒店) plans to reopen its guestrooms in December to take advantage of a boom in domestic travel. The reopening would come six months after the five-star facility suspended room operations to cut costs as countries across the region impose border controls to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, diminishing demand for business travel. “We are delighted to share that Mandarin Oriental Taipei will resume room operations on December 1,” the hotel said in a statement yesterday. The hotel in Songshan District (松山) said it would adopt stringent health and safety practices to ensure the well-being of its guests and employees. It
HSBC Bank (Taiwan) Ltd (匯豐台灣商銀) has approved two sustainability-linked loans totaling NT$450 million (US$15.55 million) for Taya Group (大亞集團) and Sinbon Electronics Co (信邦電子), the bank said yesterday, adding that interest rates would fall if the borrowers’ sustainability performance improves. Those marked the first sustainability-linked loans granted by HSBC Taiwan, it said. While HSBC Taiwan has experience providing green loans for the nation’s developers of renewable energy sources to support their projects, the bank began focusing on sustainability-linked loans to meet rising demand from companies in other sectors planning to undertake sustainability programs, it said. “As we reward our clients who reach their
‘NEW TRAVEL MARKET’: The carrier initially planned to lay off about 8,000 people globally, but after government intervention reduced that to 18 percent of its workforce Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd (國泰航空) would cut 6,000 jobs and close its Cathay Dragon brand, the South China Morning Post reported, as part of a strategic review to combat the unprecedented damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Hong Kong-based airline is expected to officially announce the plan after the market close today, the newspaper said. It initially planned about 8,000 layoffs globally, but after government intervention reduced that to 18 percent of its total workforce, including about 5,000 jobs in Hong Kong, it said. The company, which posted a HK$9.9 billion (US$1.3 billion) loss in the first half, has for months
LEANNESS-ENHANCING DRUG: Assigning a commodity classification to meat containing ractopamine could come under scrutiny by the WTO, the economic affairs minister said Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) yesterday rejected opposition lawmakers’ calls to assign a product code for US pork and beef containing ractopamine. Facing a barrage of questions from lawmakers at a meeting of the legislature’s Economics Committee, Wang said that giving meat containing residues of ractopamine a commodity classification code would sow confusion and could come under scrutiny by the WTO. “Ractopamine is not a [meat] product, it is an additive,” said Wang, when questioned by Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Legislator Chiu Chen-yuan (邱臣遠). “If we had a serial code for every additive it would cause confusion. There is