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Asian Shares Mostly Lower Amid Geopolitical Tensions

Monday December 30 th 2019

(RTTNews) – Asian stocks ended mostly lower on Monday as investors exercised caution amid rising political tensions in North East Asia and violence in the Middle East.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at a ruling party meeting, called for “positive and offensive measures” to ensure security ahead of a year-end deadline he has set for denuclearisation talks with the United States.

The U.S. military carried out air strikes in Iraq and Syria on Sunday against Iran-backed militia group, while Turkey announced its plan to send forces to Libya to assist Al-Seraj government.

Chinese stocks rallied after the country’s central bank ordered lenders to adopt a new loan-pricing regime for all credit from next year, a move that could lower costs for some of the 152 trillion yuan (S$29.4 trillion) in yuan-denominated outstanding loans held by financial institutions and boost economic growth.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite index climbed 34.99 points, or 1.16 percent, to 3,040.02, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index ended up 0.33 percent at 28,319.39.

Japanese stocks fell sharply as caution prevailed ahead of the New Year holidays. Japanese financial markets will be closed from Tuesday through Friday.

The benchmark Nikkei dropped 181.10 points, or 0.76 percent, to 23,656.62 but ended 2019 with a gain of 18 percent on optimism about U.S.-China trade deal. The broader Topix index closed 0.68 percent lower at 1,721.36.

Casual clothing shop operator Adastria plunged 6.7 percent after its quarterly earnings and profit guidance for the year ending in February fell short of market expectations.

Australian markets edged lower as traders looked to square up positions ahead of the year-end.

The benchmark SP/ASX 200 index dropped 16.80 points, or 0.25 percent, to 6,804.90 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended down 14.70 points, or 0.21 percent, at 6,921.60.

Miners paced the decliners, with BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group falling between 0.6 percent and 1.1 percent.

Banks ANZ and Commonwealth ended little changed with a positive bias and Westpac rose 0.3 percent while NAB eased 0.2 percent.

Energy stocks such as Woodside Petroleum and Santos finished marginally lower despite oil prices hitting three-month highs on Friday.

Shares of Sydney Airport slumped 4.3 percent and Transurban Group lost 2.6 percent on going ex-dividend.

Seoul stocks closed lower in the final trading session of 2019. The benchmark Kospi slid 6.54 points, or 0.3 percent, to end at 2,197.67 after official data showed industrial production in the country declined a seasonally adjusted 0.5 percent month-on-month in November.

That follows the 1.7 percent drop in October. On a yearly basis, industrial production dipped 0.3 percent after dropping 2.5 percent in the previous month.

New Zealand shares gave up early gains to finish modestly lower. The benchmark SP/NZX 50 index ended down 45.67 points, or 0.39 percent, at 11,556.45. Electricity generation companies declined, with Meridian Energy down 3.1 percent and Mercury NZ declining 1.7 percent.

U.S. stocks fluctuated before ending mixed on Friday amid renewed optimism over a U.S.-China trade deal and positive reports on holiday shopping.

While the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the SP 500 inched up around 0.1 percent to hit new record closing highs, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite slid 0.2 percent.

Elkem Acquires Polysil, a Leading Chinese Silicone Elastomer & Resins Company

OSLO, Norway, Dec. 30, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Elkem ASA has entered into an agreement to acquire all of the shares in Polysil, a leading Chinese silicone elastomer resins material manufacturer with strong positions in baby care and food grade silicones, as well as silicone products for the electronics and medical markets. Polysil and Elkem’s complementary product and market positions provide a solid platform for further specialisation and growth in China and globally.

Polysil is a privately owned company with more than 350 employees located in Zhongshan in Guangdong, China. The company has leading technology positions in production and development of Heat Cured Rubber (HCR), Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR) and specialty resin and Pressure Sensitive Adhesives (PSA). Polysil has two production facilities and a research and development centre with more than 50 engineers.

In 2019, Polysil is estimated to generate a total operating revenue of RMB 612 million with an EBITDA of RMB 110 million.

The companies have agreed an enterprise value for Polysil of up to RMB 941 million, including potential bonus and earn-out depending on pre-agreed criteria.  

“We are continuing to deliver on our growth and specialisation strategy. Acquiring Polysil will strengthen our position in selected specialised silicones segments in China. There are considerable synergies in leveraging Elkem’s upstream capabilities to supply raw materials and intermediates, and in combining both the product portfolio and the domestic and global market positions of Polysil and Elkem,” says Michael Koenig, CEO of Elkem.

Approximately 90 per cent of Polysil’s revenues are generated in China, primarily in South China. Elkem’s presence and positions in other parts of China and internationally provide a solid platform for Polysil’s products and for further growth.

“Polysil is very pleased to become part of the Elkem group and looks forward to working closely with Elkem in achieving common goals. Elkem’s products, knowledge and brand complement the Polysil product range and will benefit Polysil customers going forward,” says Hanxi Ma, the largest shareholder of Polysil.

“Polysil’s products and market positions in food, baby care, electronics and medical markets are complementary to Elkem. Polysil has particularly strong positions in the fast-growing South China market where approximately half of all Chinese silicone rubber consumption is. There is significant potential in utilising Polysil’s high-end liquid silicones rubber and pressure sensitive adhesives specialty positions and in further developing both products and markets. Polysil’s strong research and development capabilities will be very important for development of products for both the Chinese market and globally,” says Frederic Jacquin, Senior Vice President Elkem Silicones.

Completion of the acquisition is subject to final regulatory approvals. Closing is expected by end of first quarter 2020. 

In connection with this transaction, Elkem was advised by Alantra, Wikborg Rein Advokatfirma AS, and EY, whilst the sellers were advised by Han Kun Law Offices.

For further information:
Frederic Jacquin
SVP Silicones
Telephone +33-(4)-72-13-1929
E-mail frederic.jacquin@elkem.com

Odd-Geir Lyngstad
VP Finance and Investor Relations
Telephone +47-976-72-806
E-mail odd-geir.lyngstad@elkem.com

Alternative performance measures (APMs)

An APM is defined as a financial measure of historical or future financial performance, financial position, or cash flows, other than a financial measure defined or specified in the applicable financial reporting framework (IFRS).

The APMs presented herein are not measurements of performance under IFRS or other generally accepted accounting principles and should not be considered as a substitute for measures of performance in accordance with IFRS. Because companies calculate the APMs presented herein differently, Elkem’s presentation of these APMs may not be comparable to similarly titled measures used by other companies.

In this announcement the following APM is used

  • EBITDA is defined as profit (loss) for the period, less income tax (expenses), finance expenses, foreign exchange gains (losses), finance income, share of profit from equity accounted financial investments, other items, impairment loss and amortisation and depreciation.

About Elkem ASA

Founded in 1904, Elkem is one of the world’s leading suppliers of silicon-based advanced materials with operations throughout the value chain from quartz to specialty silicones, as well as attractive market positions in specialty ferrosilicon alloys and carbon materials. Elkem is a publicly listed company on the Oslo Stock Exchange and is headquartered in Oslo. The company has 6200 employees with 29 production sites and sales offices in a total of 28 countries worldwide. In 2018 Elkem had revenues of NOK 25.9 billion. To learn more, please visit www.elkem.com 

This information was brought to you by Cision https://news.cision.com

https://news.cision.com/elkem/r/elkem-acquires-polysil–a-leading-chinese-silicone-elastomer—resins-company,c2999606

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SOURCE Elkem

TAL Education Group to Announce Third Quarter of Fiscal Year 2020 Financial Results on January 21, 2020

Friday December 27 th 2019

BEIJING, Dec. 27, 2019 /PRNewswire/ – TAL Education Group (“TAL” or the “Company”) (NYSE: TAL), a leading K-12 after-school tutoring services provider in China, today announced that it will release its unaudited financial results for the third quarter of fiscal year 2020 ended November 30, 2019, before the market opens on Tuesday, January 21, 2020.

The Company will host a corresponding conference call and live webcast at 8:00 a.m. U.S. Eastern Time (9:00 p.m. Beijing Time) on Tuesday, January 21, 2020.

The dial-in details for the live conference call are as follows:

A live and archived webcast of the conference call will be available on the Investor Relations section of TAL’s website at https://ir.100tal.com/.

A telephone replay of the conference call will be available through 7:59 a.m. on January 29, 2020, U.S. Eastern Time (8:59 p.m. on January 29, 2020, Beijing Time).

The dial-in details for the replay are as follows:

About TAL Education Group

TAL Education Group is a leading K-12 after school tutoring services provider in China. The acronym “TAL” stands for “Tomorrow Advancing Life”, which reflects our vision to promote top learning opportunities for Chinese students through both high quality teaching and content, as well as leading edge application of technology in the education experience. TAL Education Group offers comprehensive tutoring services to students from pre-school to the twelfth grade through three flexible class formats: small classes, personalized premium services, and online courses. Our tutoring services cover the core academic subjects in China’s school curriculum as well as competence oriented programs. The Company’s learning center network currently covers 69 key cities in China.

We also operate www.jzb.com, a leading online education platform in China. Our ADSs trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “TAL”.

For further information, please contact:

Echo Yan
Investor Relations
TAL Education Group
Tel: +86 10 5292 6658
Email: ir@100tal.com

Caroline Straathof
IR Inside
Tel: +31 6 5462 4301
Email: info@irinside.com

 

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SOURCE TAL Education Group

Nissan November Global Vehicle Sales Down 10.3%

Wednesday December 25 th 2019

(RTTNews) – Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. reported that global sales for the month of November 2019 declined 10.3 percent to 417,913 vehicles from a year earlier. Global production for the month also decreased 14.1 percent year-over-year to 427,948 vehicles.

Monthly vehicle productions in Japan were 65,092 units, down 17.8 percent from the previous year. Sales including Minivehicles in Japan declined 16.7 percent to 37,992 units from a year earlier.

Earlier today, Nissan said that its executive officer and vice chief operating officer Jun Seki has decided to step down from his position.

Jun Seki reportedly plans to join the Japanese manufacturer Nidec Corp. as president and chief operating officer.

Trump raises smoking age and funds gun violence research in $1.4 trillion spending measure

Saturday December 21 st 2019

In this Dec. 5, 2019, photo, President Donald Trump speaks at a luncheon with members of the United Nations Security Council in the Cabinet Room at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)Associated Press

  • President Donald Trump signed into law a $1.4 trillion set of spending measures.
  • They include sweeping policy initiatives that stem from both sides of a divided Congress.
  • The approval came in the same week that Democrats moved forward to impeach Trump. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump signed into law a $1.4 trillion set of spending measures on Friday, finalizing a flurry of bipartisan policy changes around the same time that Democrats moved forward with efforts to impeach him. 

The move funds the government through next fall, averting a fiscal crisis that would have shuttered numerous federal agencies just before Christmas for a second year in a row. Short-term funding was set to dry up at midnight. 

The eleventh-hour legislation came at a historic moment in Washington. On Wednesday, the House voted to impeach Trump after a September whistleblower complaint asserted that he pressured Ukraine to investigate political rivals. 

The legislation was separated into two packages to appease Trump, who has said he would not sign a so-called omnibus that would have included all 12 bills. Across more than 2,300 pages of text, the packages finalize sweeping policy initiatives that stem from both sides of a divided Congress. 

Trump has touted the $1.38 billion the measure allocated for the construction of a wall along the southern border, which has been at the center of a bitter dispute between the White House and Democrats. That amount was short of the $5 billion the president had originally demanded but no restrictions were included on his ability to transfer money from Pentagon accounts for the project. 

Against a backdrop of concerns about vaping, the US also banned the sale of tobacco to individuals under 21 years old. Republicans have increasingly sided with Democrats who wanted to raise the legal smoking age from 18. 

“This legislation will have an enormous positive impact on public health in America, and it’s needed now more than ever as we grapple with the youth e-cigarette epidemic,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. 

Under the legislation, the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will receive $25 million to conduct research on gun violence. That came after a more than two-decade block on such research at a federal level. 

“I am proud that we were able to come together, negotiate our differences, and reach a bipartisan agreement that makes investments to strengthen our nation and give every American a better chance at a better life,” House Appropriations Chair Nita Lowey said.

The legislation also permanently repealed taxes on high-cost insurance plans and medical devices, a move that the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated could add $500 billion to the national debt over a decade. The taxes were designed to fund the Affordable Care Act but had not fully taken effect yet.