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Regulator okays Allianz’s acquisition of PNB Life

The Insurance Commission has approved the acquisition by Munich-based Allianz SE of Germany of Philippine National Bank’s (PNB) shares in its life insurance subsidiary. In a statement, Insurance Commissioner Emmanuel F. Dooc, said they approved Allianz’s acquisition of Lucio Tan-led bank’s 12,750 common shares in PNB Life Insurance. Allianz had requested for the approval of the commission for it to acquire control over PNB Life Insurance, a wholly Filipino-owned and managed life insurance company. “The acquisition was a result of the joint venture agreement between Allianz and PNB which, according to Allianz, will operate under the name Allianz PNB Life Insurance, Inc.,” the commission said. “This transaction marks the re-entry of Allianz to the Philippine insurance market after its pull out from the Philippines after a fruitful five-year joint venture with the Pioneer Group, …

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Oil prices rise on expected Russia-Saudi meeting

Singapore – Oil prices rose on Tuesday with Brent breaking past $34 a barrel on expectations that energy heavyweights Russia and Saudi Arabia will discuss the global oversupply issue in a Doha meeting. At around 06:00 GMT, European benchmark Brent crude for April delivery was trading $1.30, or 3.89 percent, higher at $34.69. Its US counterpart West Texas Intermediate for March delivery was up $1.30, or 4.42 percent, at $30.74 compared to its Friday close. There was no settlement in the New York Mercantile Exchange on Monday due to a US public holiday. ''As representatives from major oil producers fly to Doha to meet, the bullish flames get fanned, causing prices to remain strong,'' said Daniel Ang, investment analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore. ''As much as we continue to believe that this is …

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RCBC profits jump 15% to P5.1 billion

Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) posted a 15.2 percent jump in unaudited consolidated net income to R5.1 billion last year from the R4.4 billion earned in 2014. The Banks said core income excluding trading gains and extraordinary income grew robustly by 43 percent. “RCBC clearly demonstrated its resilience in 2015 with Net Income and Core Income posting healthy growth. Steadily, the Bank has bolstered its core businesses by deliberately focusing on recurring and less cyclical sources of revenue,” said RCBC president Lorenzo V. Tan. He added that “the Bank’s combined Net Interest Income and fee-based income now comprise 87 percent of Gross Income. We will continue to focus on the quality of our earnings and growth as we continue to face a more challenging regulatory, interest rate, and global economic environment in 2016.” Reflective …

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Tokyo stocks stage strong rebound, surge 7.16%

Tokyo – Tokyo stocks soared Monday as a weaker yen and bargain-hunting drove a rebound from last week’s hammering on global equity markets. The benchmark Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange jumped 7.16 percent, or 1,069.97 points, to 16,022.58, clawing back from a loss of more than 11 percent last week. The broader Topix index of all first-section shares skyrocketed 8.02 percent, or 95.95 points, to end 1,292.23, marking its biggest one-day percentage gain since the 2008 global financial crisis. “Japan is massively oversold,’’ Andrew Clarke, Hong Kong-based director of trading at Mirabaud Asia, told Bloomberg News. “Everyone is scrambling to get back in. Long-only investors are coming in along with retail and hedge funds. Plus, I would say there’s a lot of short covering going on.’’ Tokyo also picked up a positive …

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Toyota looks to tap Daihatsu to crack Indian small car market

Noida, India — Toyota Motor Corp will start talks this week with its affiliate Daihatsu Motor to build and sell small cars in India, where it has so far struggled to crack the cheaper end of the market. The Japanese carmaker aims to double its share of India’s passenger vehicle market to 10 percent by 2025 and Daihatsu’s small cars will be key to achieving this goal, a company executive said. The launch of Daihatsu cars in India could help Toyota increase its share of the entry-level, no-frills car sector, that accounts for about two-thirds of total sales in the country and is dominated by rivals such as Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, and Honda. “To fight in the small car market we need more support from Daihatsu... Toyota by ourselves cannot develop it,” Kyoichi …

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Chicago Stock Exchange to be sold to a Chinese group

By Xinhua/China Daily News CHICAGO - The Chicago Stock Exchange announced on its website Friday that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by an investor group led by Chongqing Casin Enterprise Group (Casin Group). The Board of Directors of Chicago Stock Exchange has unanimously approved the transaction, the announcement said. But, it still needs to get regulatory approvals, and the final acquisition is expected to close in the second half of 2016. The terms of the transaction have not been disclosed. Chicago Stock Exchange CEO and President John Kerin said the acquisition is the best outcome for the clients, shareholders and the trading community as a whole "after an in-depth review of strategic alternatives for the exchange". It is learned that the Chinese company will preserve current business operations and proprietary trading platforms of Chicago Stock Exchange, and the management team will remain in place upon the closure of the transaction. Casin Group, headquartered in Chongqing, is a leading diversified holding company in China that has investments in financial services, real estate, and environmental services. It would be the first US stock exchange being purchased by a Chinese company. The 134-years-old stock exchange now handles about 0.5 percent of US stock trading.

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D&L expects faster 2016 export growth

D&L Industries, Inc., the country’s largest specialty plastics, food ingredients, and oleochemicals firm, expects its export business to bounce back to with a growth of at least 20 percent this year since the Manila port congestion has been resolved. “It is our BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) to grow our exports to about half of our total revenues,” said D&L executive vice president and chief finance officer Alvin D. Lao adding that this may actually be achieved in 10 years. Lao said exports currently account for 17 percent of D&L’s total revenues and has been growing steadily even though it also has to catch up with the growth of its local businesses which are also benefitting from the Philippines’ buoyant economy. He noted that exports have already been growing at an annual rate …

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Oil prices rebound in Asia

Singapore – Oil prices extended their rebound in Asia Thursday, buoyed by a weaker dollar, bargain buying and fresh speculation of a possible output cut by the OPEC producers' group. Traders brushed aside bearish data showing another increase in US commercial crude inventories, but analysts said any rally in a market awash with barrels of oil is bound to be short-lived. At around 0610 GMT, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in March was up 32 cents, or 0.99 percent, to $32.60 and Brent crude for April was trading higher by 27 cents, or 0.77 percent, at $35.31. Both contracts closed steeply higher Wednesday. The US Department of Energy said Wednesday that commercial crude stockpiles in the world's top oil consumer soared by 7.8 million barrels in the week ending January 29. That …

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8990 to operate malls after Waltermart quit

Top mass housing developer 8990 Holdings, Inc. may venture into the mall operations business after its partner Waltermart has backed out of their agreement to operate the malls in two of the developer’s mixed-use projects. In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, 8990 said “Waltermart has rescinded its partnership with 8990 to be the mall operator in the malls to be built in 8990’s project located at Vitas, Tondo and at Ortigas Avenue Extension.” “While we regret the turn of events, this presents an opportunity for us at 8990 to operate the mall ourselves, leading to a strong potential for enlarging our recurring income base,” 8990 investor relations officer Tani Basman said. According to 8990 president Jesus Januario Atencio, the malls of the two projects will have a total gross floor area …

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US crude price back to below $30 in Asia

Singapore – US crude stayed below $30 per barrel in Asia Wednesday as oil price losses deepened on expectations US petroleum stockpiles will rise further and exacerbate the already oversaturated global market. A rally last week driven by speculation that Russia and members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries would reach an agreement to slash output in the oversupplied market has fizzled out amid scepticism such a deal would be reached. Traders are expecting more bearish news when the US Department of Energy releases its weekly inventory on commercial crude stockpiles later Wednesday, with analysts expecting the inventories to rise. An increase typically means softer demand in the world's top oil consumer. At around 0615 GMT, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in March slid 16 cents, or 0.54 percent, …

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