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News from China
Merger OK latest progress in SOE reforms
30th June 2017

 CHINA’S state-owned asset regulator yesterday approved the merger of China National Machinery Industry Corp and China High-Tech Group Corp, a step to deepen the country’s reforms of state-owned enterprises.

 
Textile conglomerate China High-Tech has become a wholly owned subsidiary of Sinomach, as China National Machinery is also known, and will no longer be directly supervised by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, the regulator said in a statement.
 
Sinomach is China’s largest machinery group, covering full-scale services and production related to industrial equipment manufacturing. It ranked 293rd in the Fortune 500 in 2016, with 2015 profit totaling 4.8 billion yuan (US$708 million) on revenue of 222.7 billion yuan.
 
It has not released its 2016 annual report.
 
China High-Tech’s main business is textile equipment making. It reaped 43.4 billion yuan in sales and 100 million yuan in profit last year.
 
The merger echoes China’s calls for enhanced industrial concentration amid the SOE reforms, especially in thermal power, heavy machinery and steel industries.
 
China High-Tech’s revenues for several years have been relatively small compared with other centrally administered SOEs, said Li Jin, chief researcher at the China Enterprises Research Institute. China’s textile manufacturing output will shrink as the country upgrades its industrial sector, he said.
 
The industry’s output grew 5.5 percent last year, below national gross industrial output growth of 6 percent, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
 
Although China High-Tech’s textile machinery business may be softening, its other businesses such automobiles and heavy machinery could synergize with Sinomach — “a measure to help upgrade China’s manufacturing structure and technologies,” Li said.
 
The merger brings down the number of China’s central SOEs to 101.
 
SASAC Vice Chairman Zhang Xiwu said at the end of last year that the number of central SOEs would be cut to under 100 this year.
 
In March, China National Nuclear Corp and China Nuclear Engineering & Construction Corp announced their merger plans to forge a nuclear giant.
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 30, 2017
Toshiba to sue partner over chip unit sell-off
29th June 2017

 TOSHIBA Corp said yesterday that it is suing its joint venture partner Western Digital over the US company’s opposition to a plan to sell the Japanese electronics and energy giant’s memory chip unit.

 
Toshiba said in a statement that it was seeking a permanent injunction and 120 billion yen (US$1.1 billion) in damages for what it called interference in the effort to sell Toshiba Memory Corp.
 
Financially strapped Toshiba needs the cash from selling its flash memory unit to survive, but Western Digital contends its Japanese partner has no right to sell the memory chip unit without its consent.
 
Such sales can be sensitive because they involve the transfer of valuable technology.
 
Western Digital owns some SanDisk chip operations including the joint venture in Japan with Toshiba. It has submitted its own bid for the memory chip business, but last week Toshiba announced it had chosen a consortium led by a Japanese government-backed fund and Bain Capital Private Equity LP as the preferred bidder.
 
There was no immediate comment from Western Digital as 140-year-old Toshiba convened a shareholders meeting outside Tokyo.
 
Toshiba had said it hoped to reach agreement with the consortium on the proposed 2 trillion yen sale before that meeting.
 
But earlier in the day it said negotiations were taking longer than expected.
 
The lawsuit Toshiba filed in Tokyo District Court contends that Western Digital has exaggerated its right to a say in the planned sale.
 
“WD’s claims are false, designed only to interfere with the sale process, and have damaged Toshiba and TMC (Toshiba Memory Corp),” Toshiba said in a statement.
 
It also accused Western Digital of “improperly obtaining” trade secrets by transferring SanDisk employees holding confidential information into the US company.
 
Toshiba’s business includes everything from TV sets to high-speed trains. But losses have mounted in recent years, and its US nuclear unit Westinghouse Electric Co filed for bankruptcy protection in March.
 
In 2015, Toshiba acknowledged it had been falsifying its books since 2008, trying to meet overly ambitious targets. An outside investigation found profits had been inflated and expenses hidden. Toshiba risks having its shares delisted and is facing an August 10 deadline for getting auditors to sign off on its long-delayed earni
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 29, 2017
Industrial profit growth up in May
28th June 2017

 CHINA’S major industrial companies posted faster profit growth in May, supported by larger sales and better investment returns, the National Bureau of Statistics said yesterday.

 
Industrial companies reported profits totaling 626 billion yuan (US$92 billion) in May, up 16.7 percent year on year — a growth 2.7 percentage points faster than April.
 
The bureau tracks companies with annual revenue of more than 20 million yuan.
 
The bureau’s statistician He Ping attributed the acceleration to faster growth in sales, improved investment returns, faster increase of non-business income, a low base last year, and better profits in the power and tobacco industries.
 
These factors lifted industrial profits despite stable production and weaker price increases, He said.
 
The bureau’s data showed 38 of the 41 surveyed industries reported growth in profits, led by the coal and metal industries.
 
January-May total profits rose 22.7 percent to 2.9 trillion yuan, more than three times the pace in the same period of last year but slower than the 24.4 percent increase for the first four months of this year.
 
Profits at China’s state-owned enterprises were up 53.3 percent to 652 billion yuan in the January-May period, compared with a 58.7 percent rise in the first four months.
 
Private companies reported profits grew 14 percent to 963.1 billion yuan in the first five months, compared with 14.3 percent in the first four months.
 
CITIC Securities expects industrial profit growth to slow to 12 percent year on year in the second half amid slower price increases and stable production growth. That compares with the 8.5 percent full-year increase in 2016.
 
The industrial sector, which accounts for about a third of GDP, started to pick up last year after profits declined in 2015, helped by government efforts to cut overcapacity and a recovery of the property sector.
 
Major activity indicators, including industrial output, retail sales and trade, showed cooler growth in the second quarter but the May data beat expectations to reveal sound momentum in the economy.
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 28, 2017
SOHO in US$526m Shanghai estate sale
27th June 2017

 SOHO China said yesterday that it had sold a mixed-use office and retail complex in Shanghai’s Hongkou District to a group of buyers through equity transaction for 3.6 billion yuan (US$526 million).

 
It comes as the Beijing-based office developer continues its strategy to focus on prime office properties in Beijing and Shanghai.
 
Keppel Land China Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore-based Keppel Land Ltd, Alpha Investment Partners Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Keppel Capital Holdings Pte, as well as a co-investor, jointly bought Hongkou SOHO, a 90,000-square meter complex in the Sichuan Road N. commercial precinct.
 
The average selling price of the building, designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, was around 51,000 yuan a square meter based on leasable gross floor area — 53 percent higher than the cost, SOHO China said in a statement.
 
Launched in the last quarter of 2015, Hongkou SOHO is 97 percent occupied with major tenants including Panasonic, China Pacific Insurance and SOHO China’s shared office brand SOHO 3Q.
 
“Shanghai has seen the need for more high-quality, well located developments in the city,” said Christina Tan, Keppel Capital CEO and managing director of Alpha.
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 27, 2017

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