Asia

Hutchison Whampoa Ltd has made a revised 2 billion euros ($2.6 billion) bid for eircom, the Irish phone company granted court protection from creditors six weeks ago, according to sources familiar with the deal. Hutchison, the parent company of 3 Mobile, amended its offer after the court-appointed examiner overseeing Eircom's reorganization rejected an initial bid over the conditionality attached to it, Reuters reported. A tweaked bid, with some technical adjustments and no conditions, has been resubmitted, but it is still subject to due diligence said a source.
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While financial authorities continue to push forward their efforts to clean up Korea’s messy secondary banking sector, it remains to be seen whether they could properly finish what they started, The Korea Times reported. In its latest attempt to purge secondary lenders that were crippled by exposure to the country’s toxic property sector, the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) suspended the Solomon Savings Bank, Mirae Savings Bank, Korea Savings Bank and Hanju Savings Bank Sunday. This extended the list of savings banks shelved by financial regulators to 20.
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Despite relatively strong economic growth, risks for banks are growing in Asia. Among the risks are a big increase in lending in recent years, rising individual debt levels in the region, headwinds from the European debt crisis and a slowdown in China. Investors and analysts are watching the numbers closely, and while only a few see a big spike in bad debts, many are worried profits may be squeezed, particularly if there are more hiccups in the global economy. Bankers across Asia agree losses will rise but only modestly.
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The prosecution said Thursday it will launch an investigation into savings banks subject to business suspension as early as next week. Now, up to four savings banks are expected to face administrative measures imposed by the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), prompting concerns over another bank run, The Korea Times reported. “Basically, we will launch a probe at the request of the financial regulator after they announce the list of savings banks for business suspension,” a prosecutor said.
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A group of bondholders of bankrupt Japanese semiconductor maker Elpida Memory Inc have threatened to thwart the auction of the company's assets if trustees agree to a reported selling price of 150 billion yen ($1.9 billion), Reuters reported. In a filing to a Tokyo district court on April 27, the bondholders said they could submit a rival reorganisation plan if the bankruptcy trustees agreed to a low-ball bid that would "unintentionally transfer great value to the winning sponsor".
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China's Hony Capital plans to sell or outsource the operations at Elpida Memory's Hiroshima DRAM plant to Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC) if its bid for the bankrupt Japanese chipmaker is successful, the Nikkei business daily said on Tuesday. The scenario involving Hony, which is bidding along with fellow private equity firm TPG Capital, and China's top chipmaker, was drawn up by the Chinese government, the Nikkei said citing a banking source, and is one of a few being mentioned surrounding the takeover of Elpida.
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Veteran investor Jack Rodman has had enough. After waiting 11 years for China to sell its rising pile of bad bank loans, he is quitting and going to Spain instead. His pull-out exposes a pressing failing in China's booming financial sector: it does not properly dispose of a growing store of bad loans from banks' profligate lending, keeping risks pent up within the world's second-biggest economy, Reuters reported in an analysis.
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The Chinese government is pushing in two directions as it seeks to slow price growth while avoiding a collapse. It’s lowering borrowing costs for first-time homebuyers to encourage purchases while Premier Wen Jiabao keeps curbs in place to stem the speculators who have helped drive home prices up by as much as 140 percent since 1998, Bloomberg reported. China’s 18 percent first-quarter drop in home sales contributed to the slowest economic growth in almost three years.
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Elpida Memory Inc.’s bankruptcy is fueling concern the company could be a burden to an acquirer, with shares of SK Hynix Inc. and Micron Technology Inc. declining on takeover speculation, Bloomberg Businessweek reported. Investors aren’t keen on a full or partial takeover by Hynix or Micron because “they would need funds to buy Elpida’s assets, and even after an acquisition, they would need a lot of money to keep operations going,” said Yuichi Ishida, a Tokyo-based analyst at Mizuho Investors Securities Co.
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The Chinese city of Chongqing accumulated tens of billions of dollars in liabilities during Bo Xilai's term as local Communist Party chief, as it juiced growth that helped launch the former high-flyer's campaign for a top political post.
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