AirAsia to suspend stock trading today
KUALA LUMPUR • Budget airline AirAsia yesterday said it will suspend trading of its stock pending an announcement, a day after denying reports that its founders were planning to take the company private.
AirAsia's shares would be suspended today pending a "material announcement", it said in the bourse filing. Trading in structured warrants will also be suspended.
An AirAsia statement said on Wednesday the carrier was not considering going private at this stage, after reports said founders Tony Fernandes and Kamaruddin Meranun would do so with a firm under China Everbright Bank. Reuters reported in October that the AirAsia founders were sounding out investors to take the firm private in a management-led buyout.
HK housing prices fall for 5th straight month
HONG KONG • Hong Kong housing prices in February posted their fifth consecutive monthly decline, government data released yesterday showed, while mortgage applications and approvals also fell.
Home prices declined 6.1 points in February, compared with the previous month, an index published by the government's Rating and Valuation Department showed, and 18.7 points from the same period a year earlier.
Housing rents also declined, dropping 4.9 points from January and 4.6 points from a year ago.
Analysts have been forecasting a 10 to 15 per cent decline in home prices in the city, where the property sector accounts for nearly a fifth of its economic output.
Mobius to step down from day-to-day management
NEW YORK • Mr Mark Mobius, a money-management icon who popularised emerging markets investing, will pass on his responsibilities of overseeing the Templeton Emerging Markets Group to Mr Stephen Dover as he steps down from day-to-day management.
The 79-year-old, known for a research-intensive style that has him crisscrossing continents more than 250 days a year, remains chairman of the group.
Mr Mobius will focus on publicising the prospects for emerging markets and attracting investors back to the asset class, where opportunities are arising again after years of declines, he said yesterday.
Mr Dover will take over some of Mr Mobius' responsibilities on April 15, the company said in a statement.
Bonuses at 4 Europe banks cut by a third: Barclays
LONDON • Four of Europe's major investment banks have reduced their bonus awards by a third since 2009, but deferred bonus payouts, which came in after the financial crisis, are on the wane, Barclays research analysts said in a note yesterday.
Bonus awards at Credit Suisse, UBS, Deutsche Bank and Barclays fell to €11 billion (S$17 billion) last year from €16 billion in 2009, or to 37 per cent of base salaries, down from 72 per cent.
Under a European Union cap, bonuses cannot now exceed 100 per cent of bankers' fixed salary, or twice that amount with shareholder approval. But banks have topped up basic pay by awarding allowances to senior staff and also hiked fixed salaries in some cases. European banks are still restructuring to try to revive profitability.