JDSE-TEK: The world's leading fibre optic equipment maker,
JDS Uniphase Corp, extended an aggressive expansion and unveiled plans to take over rival
E-TEK Dynamics Inc in an all-stock deal worth roughly $15 billion. Under the agreement,
E-TEK holders will get 1.1 shares of JDS for every E-TEK share.
Britain's Schroders Plc said that U.S.
financial giant Citigroup had agreed to buy its investment banking division for £1.35
billion, bolstering its European foothold.
Swedish telecoms group Ericsson
said it was selling its energy systems business for $725 million to U.S. Emerson Electric
Co in line with plans to focus on mobile and Internet.
Swedish SEB bank said its investment
banking arm, Enskilda Securities AB, had agreed to merge with Norway's Orkla Finans to
create the region's largest investment bank and a big equity player.
British software consultancy F.I. Group said it
would buy sectormate Druid Group for £670 million in shares, creating a £2.4 billion
($3.93 billion) group with ambitions to grow abroad.
BoeingHughes: Boeing Co on Thursday said it would buy the
space and communications business of Hughes Electronics Corp for $3.75 billion, making the
aerospace giant a leader in satellite communications.
Citigroup, the largest U.S. financial services firm,
said net income in the October-December period came to $2.62 billion, a 287 per cent jump
over the same quarter of 1998.
J.P. Morgan: J.P. Morgan, fourth quarter net income rose 472 per
cent over the same period of 1998 to reach $509 million.
Bank of America: Bank of America said it posted net profits of
$1.90 billion in fourth quarter 1999, a 63.8 per cent hike over the same period of 1998.
Motorola: The Schaumburg, Illinois-based maker of computer chips
and telecommunications equipment said operating profit excluding one-time items: rose to
$514 million, or 82 cents per share, from $159 million, or 26 cents per share, in the
AOL: America Online Inc. said its second-quarter earnings more
than doubled. America Online said it earned $224 million, or 9 cents per share, for the
quarter ended Dec. 31.
Apple: Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple Computer Inc. said net
income rose to $183 million, or $1.03 a share, in its first quarter ended Jan. 1, from
$152 million, or 95 cents, a year earlier.
Harley-Davidson: Motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson Inc. reported
its fourth quarter profits rose 22.8 percent. Harley-Davidson said net earnings for the
fourth quarter ended December 31, 1999 were $74.22 million, compared with $61.03 million.
Boeing: The Boeing Company on Wednesday reported a 42 percent
jump in fourth quarter net earnings to 662 million dollars compared with the same period
ABN rejigs retail service
The Netherlands' largest bank ABN AMRO announced big changes to its
retail service provision in the Dutch market to meet competition.
Unveiling its " Focus 2005 " initiative, the bank said it
will trim its Dutch branch network to 750 branches from 900 now and cut the Dutch
workforce by around 10 per cent or 2,500 jobs.
Philippine data mask slowdown
The Philippines reported a surge in its trade surplus, but economists
attributed it to weaker imports and said the figures betrayed a slow economy.
The National Statistics Office said that in November, the trade surplus
came in at $721 million compared with a surplus of $213 million a year earlier.
For the 11 months to November, the country notched up a surplus of
$4.02 billion compared with a deficit of $624 million for the same 1998 period.
Ringgit peg to remain
Malaysia's economic recovery is on track and the government and central
bank said there was no immediate plan to adjust the fixed ringgit it credits for helping
bolster exports and fuel growth.
But an IMF representative said good economic times provide an
opportunity to move away from the fixed rates, while other analysts said the financial
future was not without danger signals.
Hong Kong further opens up telecoms
Hong Kong, further liberalising its telecommunication market granted
five licences for fixed line network using wireless technology and 12 licences for
external telecom gateways using satellite.
The five local fixed telecommunications network services (FTNS)
licencees would all be able to offer high-speed voice and data services and compete with
the territory's four existing fixed-line telecoms operators.
The government also issued an FTNS licence to Hong Kong Cable TV a unit
of Wharf (Holdings) Ltd. to provide telecommunication services over its hybrid fibre
coaxial cable networks.
British drug majors tie knot at last
Glaxo Wellcome Plc and SmithKline Beecham Plc said they would merge to
form the world's biggest pharmaceuticals group, but their shares fell as cost savings
The two British companies which tried and failed to merge in
1998said the deal would give them the scientific and financial clout to be the most
efficient drug discovery and marketing machine in the industry.
The market, however, marked down the value of the combined group to
under £108 billion by the close of trade from £114 billion on Friday.
The new company, Glaxo SmithKline, will have a market share well ahead
of its rivals at 7.3 per cent, combined sales of £15 billion a year and a research budget
of £2.4 billion.
It will be headquartered in London but run day-to-day from a new
operational base'in the United States.
The merger, which is expected to be completed by mid-year, is
structured as an offer by Glaxo for SmithKline with new shares swapped for each SmithKline
share, valuing the transaction at around £44.3 billion.
Glaxo shareholders will own 58.75 per cent and SmithKline investors
41.25 per cent of the new group.
Jean-Pierre Garnier, currently number two at SmithKline, takes the key
role of chief executive while Glaxo head Richard Sykes will be non-executive chairman.
Glaxo's John Coombe will be finance director and SmithKline's Tadataka
Yamada head of research. Robert Ingram, currently Glaxo chief executive, will become chief
operating officer and president of pharmaceuticals, while Glaxo R&D head James Niedel
is named chief science and technology officer.
World's six leading chip firms in landmark tie-up
The world's six leading semiconductor firms announced a revolutionary
alliance in technology development aimed at setting a global standard for nex tgeneration
The firms which agreed to the landmark tie-up included U.S.based Micron
Technology Inc and Intel Corp, Infinion Technologies of Germany, Japan's NEC Corp, and
South Korean Samsung Electronics Co and Hyundai Electronics Industries Co.
EU revalues drachma by 3.5pc in ERM
European Union officials revalued the Greek drachma's central rate in
Europe's exchange rate mechanism by 3.5 per cent, preparing the way for Greece to join the
euro single currency next year.
After a nearly four-hour meeting of senior European finance ministry
and central bank officials in Brussels, the EU announced the new central rate of the
drachma in the exchange rate mechanism had been set at 340.750 to the euro compared to the
old central rate of 353.109.
The drachma closed on Friday at about 331.20 to the euro, well above
its theoretical ERM central rate.
"This revaluation of the central rate of the Greek drachma will
support the authorities in their efforts to keep the economy on a path of sustainable
growth with price stability," an EU statement said.
The drachma's fluctuation band of plus or minus 15 per cent around the
central rate was led unchanged.
In Athens, Greek Finance Minister Yannos Papandoniou said the
revaluation reflected the "strength and vitality" of the Greek economy.
The long-expected revaluation will allow Greece to slash interest rates
in preparation for joining the euro, which it hopes to do in January next year.
The central rate chosen is almost certain to be the same rate at which
the drachma is locked to the euro from next year.
The 3.5 per cent revaluation was in the middle of forecasts by analysts
who had expected a revaluation in the central rate of between two to five percent.
IDB set to introduce $l.5b fund
The Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) will launch a $1.5
billion fund in the next few months for investment in infrastructure projects of its
53-member countries, an adviser to the fund said.
"In the next few months, probably by early summer, the fund will
be functional," Moeen Qureshi, who heads the Washington-based Emerging Markets
Partnership, said in Karachi.
Qureshi said the IDB was the principal sponsor of the Bahrain-based IDB
Infrastructure Fund while Dar Al-Maal Al-lslami Trust (DMI) would act as the lead sponsor
and DMI's investment banking arm, the Bahrain-based Investment Co of the Gulf, would be
the adviser of the fund.
U.S. redeeming $4.2b of 30-year bonds
The Treasury Department said on Friday it was redeeming $4.2 billion of
U.S. government 30-year bonds before maturity, the first time it has redeemed debt early
It was one of a series of related moves by the government to take
advantage of mounting budget surpluses and reduced borrowing needs to cut its debt.
On Thursday, the Treasury said in a separate announcement that it would
buy back up to $30 billion of debt in the bond market this year.
In Friday's announcement, the Treasury said it would take advantage of
its right to repurchase or "call" the debt up to five years early. A Treasury
official said that the government can save $800 million in interest payments.
Gates hands over reins to Ballmer
The world's richest man got a new job on Thursday.
Microsoft Corp co-founder Bill Gates handed over the reins of the
world's biggest software company to his No. 2, Steve Ballmer who will take over as chief
Gates, 44, who has served as Microsoft's chief since its birth 25 years
ago, said he was staying on as chairman. He also crowned himself "chief software
architect", a new job in which he will map the company's vision for the Internet age.
Nasdaq Europe to be launched
Nasdaq said the European piece in its global stocks puzzle will be
slotted into place on time by the first quarter of next year, with initial dealings
focused on a clutch of new listings.
Asian counterpart Nasdaq Japan will also start handling live trades at
the same time to complete the world's second biggest stock exchange's global ambition.
UK to offer radio Net licences
Some say mobile phones are the future of the Internet, others that it's
super-powerful cable, but the British government offered a third wayradio.
Indonesia sets up panel to help IBRA
The Indonesian government has set up a committee in co-operation with
the World Bank and the IMF, to help the country's bank restructuring agency (IBRA), a
senior minister said.
Co-ordinating Minister for the Economy, Finance and Industry Kwik Kian
Gie told a news conferencc that the financial sector policy committee's role will be to
help speed up difficult debt restructuring cases.
Malaysia to set up $789m gold refinery
Malaysia will set up its first gold refinery in a venture with a South
African firm, which is expected to fetch profits of about 3 billion ringgit ($789.5
million) a year, news reports said on Thursday.
The 46 million ringgit plant will be built in Tanjung Malim town in
northern Perak state by the third quarter of this year and will provide jobs for about
1,000 skilled workers.
The joint venture involves the Perak state government, a local firm
Quantum Refinery Sdn Bhd and Inochem (Pty) Ltd of South Africa. The agreement for the
venture was inked Wednesday in Perak.
The plant will extract gold and other metals such as silver from
discarded electroplates and wastes from the electronics industry, as well as take on
orders from Asian countries to process gold impurities.
Perak chief minister Tajol Rosli Ghazali said the plant, which can
produce about six tons of gold and three tons of silver a month, would lead to increased
downstream activities in jewellery production.
Yahoo Japan hits ¥100 mln, record for Japan stock
Internet firms in Japan are feeling like a hundred million yen these
days and none more so than Yahoo Japan, whose stocks on Wednesday became the nation's
first to spring through that level.
Shares in Japan's most popular search directory were trading at 101.4
million yen ($959,600) in late morning trade, continuing a seven-day rally partly inspired
by a planned two-for-one share split unveiled last week.
The move the firm's third share split in the past year was aimed
at feeding investors much-needed liquidity in Japan's core Internet stock, which has
staged a stunning 30-fold jump over the past year.