Business & Finance News

Japan’s economic conditions likely to stay tough in current quarter, finance minister says

TOKYO (Reuters) – Economic conditions in Japan will likely stay tough in the current quarter, Finance Minister Taro Aso said on Tuesday, also promising that the government would ensure support for employment and help firms stay in business.

The world’s third-largest economy fell into recession for the first time in 4-1/2 years in the quarter through March, data on Monday showed, putting it on course for its deepest postwar slump as the coronavirus crisis wrecks businesses and consumers.

The government also pushed back its schedule for working out budget requests and looked to adopt its mid-year policy guidelines at a later-than-usual time as it focused on responses to the coronavirus.

Speaking to reporters after a cabinet meeting, Aso said the finance ministry will push back the deadline for budget requests to Sept. 30. Ministries usually make budget requests around August.

Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura at a separate news conference said

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Sony To Buy Finance Unit for $3.7 Billion Following Strategic Review

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Japanese electronics to entertainment giant Sony is to offer up to $3.7 billion (JPY400 billion) to take full control of its finance division. The move would shore up its profits.

Sony president and chief executive Kenichiro Yoshida made the announcement as part of an hour-long presentation on group strategy on Tuesday afternoon, Tokyo local time. The Nikkei newspaper carried some details of the take private transaction earlier in the day. Sony shares in Tokyo closed up 3.25% at JPY6,902 ahead of the strategy presentation.

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Sony Corp. currently owns 65% of Sony Financial. It will make a tender offer of JPY2,600 per share. The unit controls assets of $13.5 billion (JPY14.5 trillion) and last year made profits of $1.21 billion (JPY130 billion).

Finance industry commentators said that Sony is following in the tracks of other media-tech companies Apple and Alibaba and

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Luggage firm Antler collapses as pandemic hits business travel and holidaymakers

Luggage seller Antler has crashed into administration and slashed 164 jobs, becoming the latest coronavirus victim.

The company, which operates 18 stores, said it has called in administrators from corporate finance firm KPMG.

KPMG said the company has had to make the vast majority of the firm’s 199 staff redundant after it was “profoundly impacted” by the coronavirus pandemic.The luggage industry has been hit hard by the grounding of planes and people have stopped travelling for work or holidays.

KPMG partner and joint administrator Will Wright said: “Like so many companies across the retail and travel sectors, Antler has been profoundly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Although the business was trading well prior to the virus outbreak, restrictions imposed at the start of the lockdown period prompted the closure of Antler’s retail and wholesale outlets, while the impact on international travel has also significantly affected sales.

“With uncertainty over the

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Sony Aims to Take Finance Arm Private for Up to $3.7 Billion

(Bloomberg) — Sony Corp. said it intends to take full control of its finance unit for about 395.5 billion yen ($3.7 billion), buying out one of its most lucrative businesses to inject more stability into a largely electronics and entertainment-focused operation.

The Japanese giant will offer 2,600 yen a share for the part of Sony Financial Holdings Inc. it doesn’t already own, it said in a statement Tuesday. That’s a premium of about 26% to Monday’s close. Shares in the finance unit surged 19% Tuesday, while Sony itself gained more than 3%.

Sony last week warned that operating profit could fall 30% or more this fiscal year because of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on production and consumption. The financial services business, one of its most profitable, had seen a deterioration because its sales people can’t go out to pitch customers on insurance and other products, it said. The difficulty in

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