By Crystal Hsu / Staff reporter, in Nantou CountyLa Midi Hotel Chitou (溪頭米堤飯店) in Nantou County is undertaking major changes in a bid to cut losses this year and turn a profit next year. They acquired Le Midi Chitou and Le Midi Jungli (中壢米堤飯店) from the foreclosure market, but decided to keep them to expand their business reach. Lee said he had no choice but to shuffle top management positions at Le Midi Chitou to put the 243-guestroom hotel on the right track. NEW STRATEGYChiang, who served at the Grand Hotel Taipei (圓山飯店), Sheraton Grand Taipei Hotel (台北喜來登大飯店), San Want Hotel (神旺大飯店) and Sunworld Dynasty Hotel (台北王朝大酒店), is crafting a strategy to make La Midi Chitou profitable, Lee said. Average occupancy rates were less than 50 percent last year and the average daily room rate was NT$3,500, Chiang said.
BloombergThe International Air Transport Association (IATA) cut its profit target for the global aviation market this year, predicting lower returns than six months ago as rising fuel prices and labor costs eat into the industry. The new forecast compares with an all-time high of US$38 billion airlines made last year, which was boosted by special accounting, such as one-off tax credits, the IATA said. “At long last, normal profits are becoming normal for airlines,” IATA director-general and chief executive officer Alexandre de Juniac said in the statement referring to continued profits for the ninth straight year. While fuel costs top the list of expenses for most airlines, it is wages for US carriers. Full-year average cost of Brent is seen at US$70 a barrel, while jet fuel prices might rise to US$84 a barrel, it added.
Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US in 2016 pledged to phase out their support for fossil fuels by 2025. However, a study led by Britain’s Overseas Development Institute found they spent at least US$100 billion a year to support fossil fuels at home and abroad in 2015 and 2016. Britain scored the lowest on transparency for denying that it provided fossil-fuel subsidies, even though it supported tax breaks for North Sea oil and gas exploration, the report said. “We do not subsidize the production or consumption of fossil fuels,” a spokesman from the British Treasury said in e-mailed comments to the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “We are supporting other countries in phasing out their own fossil-fuel subsidies, as part of our commitment to the G20 and G7 pledges,” he added.
With all the required regulatory approvals in place, the Leverkusen, Germany-based company plans to close the deal on Thursday, while raising as much as 26 billion euros (US$30.41 billion) in shares and bonds. Bayer shares yesterday rose 0.6 percent to 104 euros at 10am in Frankfurt. Bayer plans to raise 6 billion euros in a rights offering and 20 billion euros from bond sales, it said on Sunday. Under the rights offering, shareholders would be able to buy two new shares for every 23 held at a price of 81 euros, Bayer said. To gain approval for the deal from the US Department of Justice, Bayer agreed to sell assets to Germany’s BASF SE.
Staff writer, with CNAThe annual Han Kuang military exercise is scheduled to begin in the nation’s northern, central and southern regions today, with a focus on joint anti-airborne operations at Taichung’s Ching Chuan Kang (清泉崗) Air Base. The drills would focus on joint air-sea combat operations, anti-landing operations in the north and south, and joint anti-airborne combat operations in the central regions, the ministry said. The troops would later head to the army’s Northern United Examination Center in Hsinchu County’s Hukou Township (湖口) and Joint Operations Training Base in Pingtung’s Hengchun Township (恆春) for live-fire training, it said. The joint anti-airborne operations in central Taiwan would be a key part of the eight-day Han Kuang military exercise, the ministry said, adding that reporters would be invited to observe the exercise in Taichung. Drones operated by civilian companies would also conduct joint surveillance missions during the anti-airborne exercise, the ministry said.
AFP, SAN FRANCISCOAfter a decade of sizzling growth, the smartphone market has suddenly cooled. Smartphone sales last year shrank slightly for the first time since the 2007 debut of the iPhone, surveys showed, while preliminary data this year pointed to further deceleration. “The market has peaked, that is the bottom line,” Technalysis Research analyst and consultant Bob O’Donnell said. “It is for sure not the death of the smartphone; it is the death of the growth of the smartphone market.”The smartphone market began to hit saturation in 2016, much the way the tablet and PC markets did years earlier. The smartphone market in China would flatten out next year, while sales in India are expected to continue to boom on low-priced handsets, IDC said.
One is the tropical depression system moving over the South China Sea toward China’s Hainan Province, which might strengthen into a tropical storm today, the bureau said. It is uncertain whether the system would develop into a tropical storm or how it would move, the bureau said. “The tropical depression system and the tropical disturbance would not directly affect Taiwan before Friday. Between tomorrow and Sunday, the tropical depression system to the south would move north, bringing southerly and southeasterly winds, it said. There are differences between the tropical depression system and the tropical disturbance in terms of intensity and areas that they could affect, Wu said.
BloombergNorth Korea will get relief from international sanctions only when it has shown irreversible moves toward denuclearization, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis yesterday said ahead of a summit next week between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. All UN Security Council resolutions on the regime must stay in place, he said. “North Korea will receive relief only when it demonstrates verifiable and irreversible steps to denuclearization,” Mattis said. Meanwhile, North Korea moved to replace its defense minister ahead of the pivotal negotiations, Japan’s Asahi Shimbun reported yesterday, citing people that it did not identify. No Kwang-chol, the head of the North Korean Workers’ Party’s second economic committee, was chosen to replace Pak Yong-sik, who had served as defense chief since May 2015.
Staff writerCPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC, 台灣中油) and Formosa Petrochemical Corp (台塑石化) yesterday said they would lower fuel prices this week after three consecutive weeks of price increases. The two refiners said in separate statements that they would cut gasoline and diesel prices by NT$0.4 per liter, effective today, as global crude oil prices weakened amid reports that major producers Saudi Arabia and Russia might ease their oil output curbs in the second half of this year. Rising production in the US has contributed to the market sentiment that crude prices might not climb any higher, CPC said. The market was last week also roiled by political uncertainty in Italy, Formosa said, which ended on Friday with the appointment of Giuseppe Conte as prime minister.
Staff writer, with CNAThe nation welcomed 883,072 foreign visitors in April, down 4.72 percent from the same period last year, Tourism Bureau data showed. The number of visitors from Hong Kong and Macau was 122,583 in April, plunging 35.75 percent from a year earlier, the data showed. The number of South Korean visitors also fell 21 percent annually to 66,555, the data showed. The decline was attributed to the deadly magnitude 6.0 earthquake that struck Hualien on Feb. 6. The number of Chinese visitors also rose, growing 6.33 percent annually to 227,749, the data showed.
By Lisa Wang / Staff reporterSolar module manufacturer Solartech Energy Corp (昇陽光電) reported a 50 percent year-on-year decline in revenue for last month, as demand from India slumped after the country proposed a 70 percent tax on solar manufacturing equipment imports. Revenue plunged to NT$299 million (US$10.01 million) from NT$598.75 million in May last year, the company said in a filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange on Friday last week. “A delay in solar module shipments dragged the company’s revenue down last month,” Solartech said. “Solar wafer demand lost steam last month as a solar system installation spree in China did not happen ahead of the expiration of June 30 as we expected,” Danen said in a statement. Danen said it remains conservative about polysiliocon solar wafer outlook, as demand remains bleak and prices are still falling.
By Kuo Chia-erh / Staff reporterYuanta Securities Investment Consulting Co (元大投顧) yesterday gave an optimistic outlook for the nation’s steelmaking industry because of an uptrend in global steel prices, despite rising trade protectionism. Taiwanese makers have lowered their proportion of exports to the US, as the US government had already announced a series of anti-dumping duties on steel imports, the report said. In the report, Yuanta said upstream steelmakers would outperform downstream suppliers, partly because of a broadening spread of hot-rolled steel products, given that the average hot-rolled steel price last year returned to 2013 levels, but the average price of iron ore was only half the 2013 level. “Overall, we believe the industry dynamics favor upstream hot-rolled steel makers like China Steel Corp and Chung Hung Steel Corp (中鴻鋼鐵), compared with downstream steel sheet makers, such as Yieh Phui Enterprise Co and Sheng Yu Steel Co (盛餘鋼鐵),” Lee said. Hot-rolled products account for about 70 percent of Chung Hung’s total revenue.
By Lin Chia-nan / Staff reporterEnvironmental Protection Administration (EPA) Minister Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) yesterday invited industrial representatives to sign a “green” deal showing their resolve to create a circular economy. Plastics Industry Development Center president Hsiao Yao-kuei (蕭耀貴), representing the Marine Plastic Waste Circular Economy Alliance, said that alliance members have used plastic waste and fishing nets gathered from ocean cleanups to produce sunglasses, clothes, computers and cellphone bags. Taiwan Concrete Institute vice chairperson Chan Yin-wen (詹穎雯), representing the Construction Resources Circulation Alliance, said alliance members have been recycling coal ash from power plants and steel slag to produce concrete for 20 years. However, the government should reduce legal barriers that obstruct the circulation of recycled materials and products with “green marks,” Chan said. In a bid to seek international collaboration on working toward a circular economy, EPA and other government agency officials are to visit the Holland Circular Economy Week from June 11 to June 14, EPA Department of Waste Management Director-General Lai Ying-ying (賴瑩瑩) said.
The government’s Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program has earmarked a further NT$5 billion for efforts on AI in the next four years, Chen said. Construction of telecommunications equipment rooms for the AI platform is scheduled to be completed in August, and the cloud host and software are to be installed in September and October respectively, the NCHC said. Many Taiwanese high-tech giants are investing in AI amid fears that any delay could leave them behind the global innovation curve. Earlier this week, HTC Corp’s (宏達電) healthcare division DeepQ unveiled the DeepQAI platform at Nvidia’s GPU Technology Conference in Taipei, aiming to facilitate the creation of AI healthcare technology. Some multinational technology firms are also participating in the nation’s AI development, with Google in March unveiling a “Smart Taiwan” program in cooperation with the government, schools and businesses to foster AI talent in the nation.
By Chen Yi-chia and Jake Chung / Staff reporter, with staff writerFor the second consecutive year, no one with a doctoral degree has passed Chunghwa Post Co’s recruitment process. The company hired 1,483 people who passed and 576 who were on a waiting list, the company said, adding that none of the three people with doctorates made it past the interview stage. Chunghwa Post last hired people with a doctoral degree in 2015, as 15 doctoral degree holders who applied in 2016 all failed to make it past the written test, company data showed. The examinations and the process of recruitment adhere to rules laid down in the general recruitment pamphlets, Yang said. One person hired by Chunghwa Post with a master’s degree said that interested candidates should consider the connection between their thesis topic and their prospective job.