Bank and company updates 2018
LATEST UPDATE: June 15, 2018 - 2:54pm
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2 days ago

McDonald's says it will switch to paper straws at all its locations in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and test an alternative to plastic ones in some of its U.S. restaurants later this year.

The burger chain and other fast-food companies have been facing increasing pressure from customers and environmental activists to stop using plastic straws because they can end up in the ocean and harm sea turtles, birds and other marine life. Paper straws, unlike plastic ones, disintegrate in the environment. — AP

3 days ago

AT&T and Time Warner have completed their merger, one of the biggest media deals ever, just two days after a federal judge approved the combination over objections by the Trump Justice Department that it would hurt consumers.

The merger could shape the way consumers stream TV and movies and how much they pay, and may usher in a new era of accelerating change and deal making in the media and telecom worlds.

The deadline to complete the merger was next week, but the closing came swiftly after the Justice Department signaled it wouldn't ask the court to postpone the merger while it pondered an appeal of the judge's decision.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled against the government's attempt to block the megamerger on anti-competitive grounds. — AP

3 days ago

The Tokyo DisneySea theme park is getting a $2.3 billion overhaul and adding a section based on the wildly popular movie "Frozen" to its offerings, its operator says Thursday.

Oriental Land, which runs the ocean-themed park as well as the adjacent Tokyo Disneyland and hotels, said the 250-billion-yen ($2.3-billion) undertaking will be the most expensive expansion plan in the site's 35-year history.

The project will add attractions replicating the Kingdom of Arendelle from "Frozen", a tower inhabited by Rapunzel in the movie "Tangled", and a Neverland for Peter Pan and his friends, along with a new 475-room hotel.

Tokyo Disneyland, which has attracted huge crowds since it opened in 1983, is already going through a major upgrade to add new attractions. — AFP

3 days ago

Technology companies are racing to develop ultra-precise digital maps that can guide self-driving cars within inches of where they should be — a hurdle the industry needs to clear if it hopes to deliver on its promise of widespread use of driverless vehicles.

Japan's government is backing a three-dimensional mapping system developed by Mitsubishi Electric Corp. that includes a wealth of details such as trees and pedestrians. It promises to be off by no more than 25 centimeters (9.8 inches). — AP

June 13, 2018

A federal judge has approved the $85 billion mega-merger of AT&T and Time Warner, potentially ushering in a wave of media consolidation while shaping how much consumers pay for streaming TV and movies.

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon green-lit the merger without imposing major conditions as some experts had expected. The Trump Justice Department had sued to block the $85 billion merger, arguing it would hurt competition in cable and satellite TV and jack up costs to consumers for streaming TV and movies. — AP

June 8, 2018

Alexa for couch potatoes is coming: Amazon's new streaming TV device will let users shout out when they want to turn on the TV, flip channels or search for sitcoms — all without pushing any buttons.

The Fire TV Cube is not entirely hands-free yet, however. Some apps or streaming services may require viewers to pick up the included remote to rewind or stop a show. Amazon says it's working with those services to integrate voice commands. — AP

June 5, 2018

State-owned Air China is resuming flights to North Korea's capital, Pyongyang, amid preparations for a possible meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Air China's decision in November to suspend flights, blaming lack of demand, deepened the North's isolation amid mounting U.N. sanctions over its nuclear and missile programs. — AP

June 4, 2018

Alliance Global Group Inc. CEO Andrew Tan resigns as CEO, the company reveals in a Philippine Stock Exchange disclosure on Monday. Tan, who served as CEO of the group for 11 years, will remain as chairman of the board of directors.

"Dr. Tan has no disagreement with the Corporation on any matter relating to its operations, policies or practices," the company disclosure reads, citing "personal" reasons for Tan's resignation.

Tan's son, Kevin Andrew Tan, 38, has been appointed CEO of the group, whose subsidiaries include Emperador Inc., Megaworld Corp., Empire East Properties and the main franchise of McDonald's.

Before stepping up for the CEO role, Kevin Andrew Tan was SVP at Megaworld Corp.

June 2, 2018

 Visa says a problem that left people across Europe unable to use their cards was caused by a hardware fault, not a cyberattack.

The card payments company says services are back to normal and its systems are working at "full capacity" on Saturday.

It says the problem was caused by "a hardware failure within one of our European systems" and wasn't the result of "unauthorized access." — AP

June 1, 2018

Luggage maker Samsonite says its CEO has stepped down following a report by a short-seller questioning his credentials and the company's accounting.

Ramesh Tainwala resigned for personal reasons, which Samsonite's board decided was in the best interests of the company and its shareholders, the company says in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange. — AP

May 29, 2018

Starbucks, trying to put to rest an outcry over the arrest of two black men at one of its stores, is closing more than 8,000 stores for an afternoon of anti-bias training, a strategy some believe can keep racism at bay.

After the arrests in Philadelphia last month, the coffee chain's leaders apologized and met with the two men, but also reached out to activists and experts in bias training to put together a curriculum for its 175,000 workers.

That has put a spotlight on the little-known world of "unconscious bias training," which is used by many corporations, police departments and other organizations to help address racism in the workplace. The training is typically designed to get people to open up about implicit biases and stereotypes in encountering people of color, gender or other identities. — AP

May 26, 2018

The European Union's budget commissioner says he hopes Italy's prospective new government will master a "big learning curve," and cautions that the eurozone's rescue fund wouldn't be able to stabilize the country.

Law professor Giuseppe Conte is trying to form a government of two populist parties. Nervousness about what could be an administration hostile to fiscally sound measures has rattled bond markets.

EU budget chief Guenther Oettinger told Germany's Funke newspaper group Saturday the currency union's rules on debt are "crystal clear."

The German conservative was quoted as saying that "the rescue mechanism ... could hardly stabilize such a large economy as Italy. So I hope very much that the governing parties will master a big learning curve."

Oettinger said an Italian euro exit is "not at all likely." — AP

May 26, 2018

A source says the Trump administration has told Congress that it's reached a deal that would allow Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE Corp. to stay in business.

A resolution of the ZTE case could clear the way for the United States to make progress in its high-stakes trade talks with China. But news of the agreement drew immediate fire on Capitol Hill.

Under the agreement, ZTE would oust its management team, hire American compliance officers and pay a fine. The fine would come on top of the roughly $1 billion ZTE has already paid for selling equipment to North Korea and Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions. — AP

May 8, 2018

A Los Angeles judge has issued a final ruling requiring coffee to carry cancer warning labels in California.

Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle issued his decision Monday that Starbucks and other coffee companies failed to show that benefits from drinking coffee outweighed any risks.

The ruling mirrors Berle's tentative decision issued in March that was expected to stand. — AP

May 5, 2018

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba announces a massive 47 percent leap in net profit for the fiscal year 2017/2018, helped by a rise in smartphone and tablet transactions on its shopping platform.

Profit climbed to 63.985 billion yuan ($10.2 billion), boosted by a 60 percent rise in revenue from its core business, the online retailer said. — AFP

May 1, 2018

Pfizer is reporting strong first-quarter profits, but revenue is short of Wall Street expectations.

The New York company had a net income of $3.56 billion, or 59 cents per share. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs, came to 77 cents per share, 3 cents better than industry analysts had expected, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research.

Revenue was $12.91 billion, short of the $13.09 billion that analysts had projected,

The drugmaker expects full-year earnings between $2.90 and $3 per share, with revenue in the range of $53.5 billion to $55.5 billion.

Shares of Pfizer Inc. fell 3 percent before the opening bell Tuesday. — AP

April 21, 2018

The U.S. government is looking into whether AT&T, Verizon and telecommunications standards organization GSMA worked together to suppress a technology that lets people remotely switch wireless companies without having to insert a new SIM card into their phones.

The Times, citing six anonymous people familiar with the inquiry, reported that the investigation was opened after at least one device maker and one other wireless company filed complaints. — AP

April 20, 2018

 ZTE Corp., one of China's biggest tech companies, warned Friday that a ban on access to U.S. technology threatens the company's survival and said it is looking for a legal solution.

Washington imposed the ban Monday in a case involving exports of telecoms equipment to Iran and North Korea. U.S. companies are barred from selling technology to state-owned ZTE for seven years. — AP

April 18, 2018

Starbucks, moving swiftly to confront a racially charged uproar over the arrest of two black men at one of its stores in Philadelphia, plans to close more than 8,000 U.S. stores for several hours next month to conduct racial-bias training for nearly 175,000 workers.

The announcement Tuesday comes after the arrests sparked protests and calls for a boycott on social media. A video shows police talking with two black men seated at a table. After a few minutes, officers handcuff the men and lead them outside as other customers say they weren't doing anything wrong. Philadelphia-area media said the two were waiting for a friend. — AP

March 30, 2018

Shares rose in Asia on Friday after technology and consumer-focused stocks led an overnight rally on Wall Street, marking a dramatic end to the market's most volatile quarter in more than two years. Most world markets were closed for Good Friday.

Banks and industrial stocks also lifted the market and recent laggards such as Facebook and Boeing rose. Even so, the solid gains didn't prevent the stock market's first quarterly loss since the third quarter of 2015. — AP

March 30, 2018

Huawei Technology Ltd., the Chinese maker of smartphones and telecom equipment, said Friday its profit rose 28.1 percent in 2017, boosted by strong enterprise and consumer sales.

Huawei said it earned 47.5 billion yuan ($7.6 billion) for the year, a marked improvement over the previous year, when profit rose just 0.4 percent due to higher spending on research and marketing.

Total revenue rose 15.7 percent over 2016 to 603.6 billion yuan ($96.2 billion). — AP

March 30, 2018

A Los Angeles judge rules that Starbucks and other coffee sellers must include cancer warnings on coffee sold in California.

Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle says the coffee companies failed to show that benefits from drinking coffee outweighed any risks. He ruled in an earlier phase of trial that companies hadn't shown the threat from the chemical was insignificant.

The Council for Education and Research on Toxics, a nonprofit group, sued Starbucks and 90 other companies under a state law that requires warnings on a wide range of chemicals that can cause cancer. One is acrylamide, a carcinogen present in coffee. (AP)

March 27, 2018

Maybank Kim Eng Group CEO Dato John Chong opens flagship conference Invest ASEAN 2018 with a theme of "ASEAN Inside Out" in Singapore, reports The STAR's Lawrence Agcaoili.

March 12, 2018

Luxury homes developer Revolution Pre-crafted led by CEO Robbie Antonio announces at a news conference the inking of a $3.2-billion deal with luxury property developer Seven Tides International for a Dubai project, the STAR's Catherine Talavera reports.

Also at the briefing is Seven Tides CEO Abdulla Bin Sulayem.

March 9, 2018

Raising an unsolicited proposal, Dennis Uy's Chelsea Logistics seeks to develop Davao and Panglao airports through a P67-billion deal. The company says it sees potential in the two destinations' passenger growth of 15 million for Davao and 2.1 million for Panglao. — with report from Iris Gonzales

March 9, 2018

Aboitiz Power Corp.'s income rose to 2 percent from P20 billion in 2016 to P20.4 billion in 2017. — Danessa Rivera

February 26, 2018

The term of BDO Unibank Inc. president and CEO Nestor Tan extended until March 1, 2023. BDO is the Philippines' largest bank in terms of total resources, loans, deposits and assets.

The Henry Sy-led BDO Unibank books a 7-percent rise in earnings to a record P28.1 billion in 2017 on strong growth across all business segments. — Lawrence Agcaoili

UnionBank’s City Savings Bank spends P902.2 million to acquire the 33.73-percent stake of International Finance Corp. in the Philippine Resources Bank. — Lawrence Agcaoili

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