Indonesia boosts local coal
Indonesia’s state utility Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) yesterday said that together with the Indonesian Ministry of Energy it was strengthening a coal delivery monitoring system to ensure enforcement of domestic sales rules and energy security. The world’s biggest thermal coal exporter introduced an export ban on Jan. 1 as coal inventories at local power plants were at critically low levels, amid low compliance with a so-called Domestic Market Obligation (DMO). Under the DMO, miners must sell 25 percent of their output to the local market with a price cap of US$70 per tonne for power plants, below the current market price. Coal deliveries to local power plants will be monitored throughout the supply chain by PLN and a ministry department, while miners would receive automated warnings for any late shipments.
LG prices shares
LG Energy Solution priced shares to raise 12.75 trillion won (US$10.7 billion) in South Korea’s biggest initial public offering, setting aside concerns about battery fires that led to a mass recall of Chevrolet Bolt electric cars. At 300,000 won apiece, the shares were priced at the top of the marketed range, Seoul-based LG Energy said in a filing yesterday. The deal values the battery maker at about US$59 billion, ranking it the third-biggest company on the benchmark KOSPI, behind chipmakers Samsung Electronics Co and SK Hynix Inc. The offering was 2,023 times subscribed by institutional investors, LG Energy said. The firm is seeking to increase production capacity to meet burgeoning global demand for electric-vehicle batteries and improve the quality of its cells following a US$1.9 billion recall of General Motors Co’s Bolt EVs. It also wants to close the gap with market leader, China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co (寧德時代).
Economy gains ground
The economy in November surpassed its size from before the COVID-19 pandemic for the first time with surprisingly strong growth before the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 struck. GDP rose 0.9 percent from October, when it gained 0.2 percent, the Office for National Statistics said yesterday. Output was 0.7 percent above its level in February 2020, before the pandemic started. Growth was driven by stronger-than-expected gains in construction and manufacturing. However, economists are forecasting contractions last month and this month, when the virus led to unprecedented levels of staff absences.
Outbreak adds to stress
More global automakers have been caught in China’s latest COVID-19 outbreak in Tianjin, adding further stress to already strained supply chains. A production plant operated by Volkswagen AG’s (VW) joint venture with FAW Group (中國第一汽車集團) has been shuttered since Monday, along with a gearbox supplier controlled by the German automaker, VW said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. They join a Toyota Motor Corp factory that has been closed for five days. The closure of the VW plant might hit production of Tayron, Tayron X and Tayron plug-in hybrid models, and the Audi Q3, the company said. VW said that it expects to resume output “very soon” and catch up with lost production. Volkswagen has about 8,000 employees in Tianjin. The Toyota plant produces about 500,000 vehicles a year, including models such as the Corolla sedan and Rav4 SUV.
CLIENTS’ RIGHTS: Banking Bureau Deputy Director-General Lin Chih-chi said the buyer and Citibank Taiwan would need to disclose changes to branch operations DBS Bank Taiwan (星展台灣), the local unit of Singapore-based DBS Group Holdings Ltd, has reportedly won a bid to acquire Citibank Taiwan Ltd’s (花旗台灣) consumer banking business, but the two companies declined to confirm the report yesterday. Citibank Taiwan’s consumer banking business is to be sold for about NT$60 billion (US$2.17 billion) to DBS Taiwan, the Chinese-language Economic Daily News reported on Sunday. DBS Taiwan and its parent company are expediting the negotiations with the seller’s US-based parent company, while other local bidders, including Fubon Financial Holding Co (富邦金控) and Cathay Financial Holding Co (國泰金控), have dropped their bids, the report said. Citibank
Intel Corp yesterday said it has placed its first order with ASML Holding NV to purchase the semiconductor industry’s first TWINSCAN EXE: 5200 system, as the US chip giant aims to compete with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) in advancing to 2-nanometer process technology. The Dutch semiconductor equipment maker’s TWINSCAN EXE:5200 system is an extreme ultraviolet (EUV) high-volume production system with a high numerical aperture (NA) that can produce 220 wafers per hour, more than the 150 wafers that its previous generation TWINSCAN EXE:5000 system can handle. ASML aims to launch the new system in 2024. ASML president and chief
MediaTek Inc (聯發科), the world’s biggest 5G chip supplier, saw its ranking rise by one notch to No. 7 last year among world semiconductor vendors, as it benefited from the rapid 5G smartphone uptake in China after Huawei Technologies Co (華為) was forced to exit the market, Gartner Inc said in a report yesterday. MediaTek’s revenue soared 58.8 percent to US$17.45 billion last year from US$10.99 billion in 2020, outpacing the global semiconductor industry’s growth of 25 percent, according to Gartner’s tally. That gave MediaTek a 3 percent market share. The Hsinchu-based chip company ranked No. 8 in 2020, behind Texas Instruments
South Korea’s antitrust watchdog yesterday fined 23 domestic and foreign shippers a combined 96.2 billion won (US$80.84 million) for price-fixing, including three Taiwanese container shippers — Evergreen Marine Corp (長榮海運), Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp (陽明海運) and Wan Hai Lines Ltd (萬海航運) — the Central News Agency and Japan’s Nikkei Asia reported. Korea Marine Transport Co and Sinokor Merchant Marine Co instigated the collusion by raising freight rates for routes between South Korea and Southeast Asia, China and Japan, and they were later joined by other foreign and domestic firms, the Korea Fair Trade Commission said, citing the results of an