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from DealZone:

DealZone Daily

Prudential shares rise -- modestly -- after UK newspaper reports that its largest shareholder -- Capital Group -- is working on a plan to split the group up. The U.S. investor is not happy with Pru's planned $35.5 billion acquisition of AIA, the Asian life insurer. It is working with Clive Cowdery's acquisition vehicle Resolution, insurer Aviva and a third, unknown group, the reports say. An unlikely scenario? Perhaps, but it does show some serious discontent among shareholders.

HSBC has denied talk in the market that it may renew its bid for a $3.9 billion stake in Korea Exchange Bank. When asked whether the bank was bidding for LoneStar's KEB, the bank's Chief Executive Michael Geoghegan said: "No, we are not". Right, that's settled then.

Deutsche lends credibility to its ambitious targets with quarterly earnings that beat forecasts. The earnings benefit from strong results in debt trading -- and the absence of markdowns in areas such as leveraged loans. More on investment banking later, when Goldman Sachs appears before the U.S. Senate.

For all other Reuters stories about deals & investment banking, click here. In other media (some links may require subscription rights):

from DealZone:

DealZone Daily

Rather predictably,  the probe into Goldman Sachs overshadowed the group's first quarter results on Monday. Somewhat less predictably, Goldman's rivals have been using the furore to elbow in front of the leading Wall Street bank. As an example, rival investment bankers have been lobbying authorities in China to drop Goldman as an underwriter for the more than $20 billion IPO of state-owned Agricultural Bank of China.

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) is preparing to bid for Lone Star's $4bln controlling stake in Korea Exchange Bank, the nation's sixth largest lender. The news of the arrival of unexpected contender for the U.S. private equity firm's stake helped send shares in the bank 3 percent higher.

from Financial Regulatory Forum:

S.Korea sees no need for US-style reform of banks

FINANCIAL/KOREA-CAPITAL    SEOUL, Feb 3 (Reuters) - It is not desirable for South Korea to adopt U.S.-style banking reforms because the local industry and markets are still small and in the developing stage, the head of the top financial regulator said on Wednesday.
   "The new U.S. regulatory initiative called the 'Volcker's rule' provides a lot of indications to us but whether it can apply here is another matter," Chin Dong-soo, chairman of the Financial Services Commission, said in a prepared speech for an international seminar.
   South Korea has already been applying strict regulations on the sector and maintaining a clear division between commercial banks and investment banks, he said.
   "It is desirable (for South Korea) to maintain its previous stance of supporting development of the financial industry while taking measures to fix structural weakness identified during the current financial crisis," he said. (Reporting by Yoo Choonsik; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner)
 ((choonsik.yoo@thomsonreuters.com; +82 2 3704 5580; Reuters Messaging: choonsik.yoo.reuters.com@reuters.net)) ((If you have a query or comment on this story, send an email to news.feedback.asia@thomsonreuters.com)) Keywords: BANKS KOREA/REGULATION
   
Wednesday, 03 February 2010 01:00:09RTRS [nTOE61200A] {C}ENDS

from Raw Japan:

SMFG banking on Asia?

The bulk of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group's  up to $9.7 billion share issue will go to meet stricter capital requirements, but sources say the bank will use some money to hunt for more opportunities in Asia.

Asian expansion is increasingly important for Japanese lenders, saddled with low profit margins and few opportunities for growth at home. Sumitomo Mitsui already has stakes in Vietnam's Eximbank, South Korea's KB Financial and Hong Kong's Bank of East Asia, and wants to benefit more from the region's growing economies.

from DealZone:

Volvo’s Chinese journey

News that Ford expects to finalize the sale of Volvo to China's Geely in the first half of 2010 caps a year that saw China overtake the United States as the world's biggest auto market, something that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago. With Geely rival BAIC announcing its intention to harvest intellectual property from Saab, Chinese automakers are going into high gear in both their short-term goal of serving the high-octane domestic market and their longer-term ambition of retooling their manufacturing base to better serve the global automotive market.

Geely is China's largest private automaker. Its charismatic founder, Li Shu Fu, is known as the Chinese Henry Ford. He has shown global ambitions and has pushed for Geely to become a global brand.

from Financial Regulatory Forum:

S.Korea says to guide banks to retain more profits

    SEOUL, Dec 10 (Reuters) - The South Korean government will guide local banks to retain more profits next year, instead of paying dividends to shareholders, to help bolster their capital.
   "In order to prepare for a possible increase in bad loans and to undertake swift restructuring, (banks) need to replenish their capital to a substantial extent," the government said on Thursday in a joint statement from the economy ministry.
   The government will also come up with measures to control banks' loan-to-deposit ratio to stabilise their funding structure.
    (Reporting by Kim Yeon-hee; Editing by Ken Wills)
  ((yeonhee.kim@thomsonreuters.com; +82 2 3704 5646; Reuters Messaging: yeonhee.kim.reuters.com@reuters.net))
  ((If you have a query or comment on this story, send an email to newsfeedback.asia@thomsonreuters.com))
Keywords: KOREA BANKS/ 
  
Thursday, 10 December 2009 08:56:40RTRS [nTOE5B909S] {C}ENDS

from Photographers' Blog:

Being a bird

South Korea’s Armed Forces Day is an annual event held on October 1.

seconddive

The country’s military puts on a variety of displays that include performances by military bands, drills by honor guard contingents and martial arts displays by special warfare units. There are also air shows with helicopters and fighting planes. One of the highlights of the event is a skydiving performance by South Korea’s Special Warfare Command soldiers.

The South Korean Defence Ministry invited the media for an opportunity to cover the airdrop exercise from their helicopters. I was one of the pool photographers. I’ve covered these type of helicopter missions several times before, but I was still excited albeit with some tension.

from Financial Regulatory Forum:

S.Korea bank supervision law clears hurdle; regulator upset

    SEOUL, Dec 7 (Reuters) - A bill to hand South Korea's central bank a role in supervising banks cleared a big hurdle on Monday, earning immediate rebuke from the top financial regulator.
   The National Assembly's powerful finance committee gave its blessing to the bill allowing the Bank of Korea to conduct its own probe into banks as part of a new role aimed at maintaining financial stability.
   The central bank lost its powers to supervise financial institutions in the aftermath of the 1997/98 Asian financial crisis. They were handed to the newly created regulator, the Financial Services Commission (FSC).
   "It is a pity and it is regrettable that the revised Bank of Korea act passed the finance committee," FSC chairman Chin Dong-soo told reporters. "The government is opposed to this revised act."
   Banks also criticised the bill, saying it would add to their burdens. [ID:nSEO127240] [ID:nSEO194897]
   "Giving grounds for the Bank of Korea to require a joint investigation in relation to financial market stability will increase banks' workload and harm their management efficiency," the Korea Federation of Banks said in a statement.
   The bill still has to be approved by the judiciary committee before a full parliamentary vote.
   Under current law, the central bank must go through the FSC and its implementing agency, the Financial Supervisory Service, if it wants access to detailed information on financial firms, including their foreign securities holdings and other investments.
   Pressure to change the law comes after criticism last year that the authorities were slow in dealing with market jitters about the foreign debt exposure of local banks. (Reporting by Kim Yeon-hee and Seo Eun-kyung; Editing by Jonathan Thatcher & Jan Dahinten) ((yeonhee.kim@thomsonreuters.com; +82 2 3704 5646; Reuters Messaging: yeonhee.kim.reuters.com@reuters.net))
  ((If you have a query or comment on this story, send an email to newsfeedback.asia@thomsonreuters.com))
Keywords: KOREA BANKS/REGULATION
   . Keywords: KOREA BANKS/REGULATION
  
Monday, 07 December 2009 10:23:38RTRS [nTOE5B60A8] {C}ENDS

from Financial Regulatory Forum:

South Korea to push for naked short selling of bonds

By Cheon Jong-woo and Seo Eun-kyung
SEOUL, Nov 20 (Reuters) - A top South Korean regulator said on Friday the authorities would take steps to encourage local and foreign banks to use naked short selling of bonds, a move analysts said could trigger a flood of foreign buying.

Kim Jong-chang, governor of the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), said in a revised statement that the regulator would discuss guidelines on naked short selling of bonds, when an investor sells a bond that has not yet been borrowed.

from Financial Regulatory Forum:

S.Korea restricts trading in FX forwards

   By Seo Eun-kyung and Cheon Jong-woo
   SEOUL, Nov 19 (Reuters) - South Korea announced measures on Thursday aimed at tightening control over foreign exchange liquidity to make the banking system less vulnerable to the capital flight seen during the financial crisis.
   The Financial Services Commission, a financial watchdog, said the measures would enhance the soundness of banks' foreign currency assets in Asia's fourth-largest economy that is heavily reliant on exports.
   But the regulator said the country would not try to directly control foreign currency liquidity conditions at foreign bank branches in the country, although the branches would be subject to new regulations on forward deals.
   Authorities appear to be looking at ways to avoid a repeat of the capital flight that occurred during the global financial crisis, partly triggered by worries about the ability of companies to roll over their foreign debt liabilities during the global credit crunch.
   One measure called on banks to hold at least 2 percent of their total foreign assets in foreign treasury bonds rated A or above, or set aside a certain amount of safe foreign assets, such as treasuries, in proportion to the value of liabilities maturing within a year.
   The measure will not apply to foreign bank branches in the country. However, restrictions were placed on both local banks and foreign bank branches in trading foreign exchange in forward markets.
   "Exporters' excessive FX hedging boosted short-term foreign currency debts worsening the credit crisis last year. As the economy heavily relies on external factors, we may face the same situation if we experience another crisis," said Jeong My-young, a currency strategist at Samsung Futures.
   "The authorities are showing their determination to minimise the potential impact from hedging practices," she added.
   The steps are expected to weaken bets for a firmer won <KRW=> as exporters will be less aggressive in buying the local currency, traders said.
   A large chunk of foreign currency debt relates to forward currency hedging by shipbuilders -- South Korea is home to the world's three biggest such as Hyundai Heavy Industries <009540.KS> and Daewoo Shipbuilding <042660.KS> -- to cover billions of dollars in new ship orders.
   Banks have had to borrow short-term dollars to square their foreign-currency positions after taking up dollar/won forward offers from shipbuilders.
   For a FACTBOX on the measures, click here. [ID:nSEO196381]
   "Next year, the won will not necessarily rise further," said a currency trader at a foreign bank in Seoul.
   Reflecting the view, the won turned lower with falling as much as 0.4 percent in the morning, although it is up almost 9 percent since the start of the year. (Additional reporting by Kim Yeon-hee; Editing by Neil Fullick) ((jongwoo.cheon@thomsonreuters.com; +82 2 3704 5665; Reuters Messaging;jongwoo.cheon.reuters.com@reuters.net)) ((If you have a query or comment on this story, send an email to news.feedback.asia@thomsonreuters.com))
Keywords: KOREA ECONOMY/CONTROL 
  
Thursday, 19 November 2009 05:35:09RTRS [nSEO238632] {C}ENDS

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