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YANGON -- Japanese supermarket giant Aeon has become the first foreign retailer to enter Myanmar since the 2011 transition to civilian rule, a development that could herald change in a retail industry still dominated by traditional markets.
Aeon signage, a familiar sight to Japanese consumers, made its Myanmar debut Friday in a largely middle-class area along a major road in Yangon's North Okkalapa district. The store packs some 8,000 products into a relatively compact 613 sq. meters of sales-floor space. The lineup includes about 80 items imported from Japan, including selections from Aeon's Topvalu private brand. About 70% of the products are imported from Thailand or elsewhere, with the remaining 30%, mainly fresh foods, coming from Myanmar.
A slice of Japan
Upon entering the store, the first thing that catches the eye is a refrigerated case featuring neatly wrapped packages containing three or four slices of melon or watermelon, priced at 600 kyat to 800 kyat (47 cents to 63 cents).
"Foods from Japan like cup noodles can be eaten quickly and easily," a worker at a beverage plant noted. The 24-year-old praised the low prices, as well as the store's thoughtfulness in offering small servings of fruit that can be polished off before they go bad.
Refrigerated products are a rare sight in Myanmar supermarkets, since quality control is difficult. Produce is typically sold by the piece. Refrigerators are also relatively uncommon in households, so if a customer buys a watermelon, for example, it is usually eaten all at once. The Aeon store offers small packs of sliced fruit, meat and fish, giving customers the option of Japanese-style shopping -- buying only as much as they need, when they need it.
Another peculiarity is prepared foods such as boxed meals, which are almost unheard of in Myanmar supermarkets or convenience stores. Ahead of the supermarket opening, Aeon set up a central kitchen in Yangon, where about 10 Myanmarese staffers cook food tailored to local tastes. A lunch box with curry, rice and salad costs 1,280 kyat, while rice balls with pork or other fillings go for 550 kyat. By comparison, a noodle dish from a local vendor typically costs around 800 kyat.
Aeon announced in August a joint venture with Creation Myanmar Group of Cos., a local company which operates 14 supermarkets in the country under the Orange brand. The venture, Aeon Orange, aims to open 10 or so stores in five years. "This is a milestone in transplanting the Japanese values of convenience, security and safety," Aeon Orange President Yoshimitsu Kawato enthused.
An industry in transition
Modern retail is still a work in progress in Myanmar. Local player City Mart Holding, established in 1996, runs about 40 supermarkets in the country. But these stores serve mostly upper- and middle-class consumers in urban areas. Most people still turn to traditional public markets, known as zei. Modern retailers such as supermarkets account for just 10% or so of the retail industry....
State-owned energy giant Rosneft will be able to take part in the privatization of Bashneft, Russia's First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov has announced.
Rosneft's participation in the deal has been the subject of fierce debate in Russia. Although the company is not directly controlled by the Kremlin, the Russian state owns a 50.8 percent stake in the firm through its parent company, Rosneftegaz.
Both presidential aide Andrei Belousov and Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich have opposed the idea, with Belousov even labeling the idea “absurd.”
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev even agreed to postpone the prizatization because he and President Vladimir Putin could not decide on whether to grant Rosneft access to the deal. One government official said that Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin had “put a lot of pressure” on the government to grant him the permission he needed.
A turning point came when President Putin told Bloomberg that the Russian budget depended on selling Bashneft to the highest bidder- and that the state should not discriminate against any market participant.
One senior official revealed that Rosneft had promised to outbid its competitors, but declined to reveal the exact amount of the bid. The government has already given the 50.08 percent stake a preliminary value of from 297 billion ($4.7 billion) to 315 billion rubles ($5 billion).
Sechin has justified Rosneft's bid by claiming that the company will experience “significant synergy” — adding up to 160 billion rubles to the value of the company — by buying the Bashneft stake.
This is significant due to the 19.5 percent stake which the Russian government holds in Rosneft— although the Kremlin has planned to sell the shares for some time. Under Sechin's proposed scheme, Rosneft would first purchase Bashneft for a higher price than other bidders, thereby putting more money into the government coffers and raising the Rosneft's value. Only then would the government sell its 19.5 percent stake in Rosneft.
The Finance Ministry has budgeted 382 billion rubles ($6.1 billion) in privatization revenues in 2016, factoring in the sale of diamond company Alrosa as well as Bashneft. Yet the privatization of the Rosneft stake at this higher price could generate as much as an additional $11 billion of revenue.
Senior Rosneft managers stand to benefit from the plan as well. According to the Rosneft website, CEO Igor Sechin owns a 0.1273 percent share in the company, Deputy Chairman of the Board Matthias Warnig holds 0.0009 percent, Independent Director Donald Humphreys owns 0.0021 percent, and Management Board members Yury Kalinin, Didier Casimiro, Peter Lazarev, Eric Lion, Yury Narushevich, Zeljko Runje, and Andrei Shishkin own 0.0019 percent, 0.0043 percent, 0.0042 percent, 0.0051 percent, 0.00006 percent, 0.0036 percent, and 0.0036 percent respectively.
Yet the plan also has potential sticking points. Rosneft currently has a great deal of liquidity, but some are already concerned about where the money to buy the Bashneft stake will come from. “There should definitely be no state money in any form used in the deal,” one senior official warned....
Japan's Mizuho Financial Group and major life insurer Dai-ichi Life Holdings have set up a new company to integrate their asset management services. Asset Management One is one of the biggest firms of its type in Asia.
The company is set to handle about 50 trillion yen, or 500 billion dollars, in assets from individual customers, pension funds and others.
Company President Yasumasa Nishi told reporters that demand for financial products that offer stable returns is growing amid market volatility. He said his firm plans to deliver products that balance return and risk.
The move comes as financial institutions in Japan are reporting declining profits. The Bank of Japan's negative interest rate policy is squeezing their margins.
Many of these firms are counting on commissions from asset management as a stable source of income.
7th MBD Business Networking: "Mongolian Foreign Direct Investment: Challenges" (TOMORROW) www.mongolianbusinessdatabase.com
7th MBD Business Networking: "Mongolian Foreign Direct Investment: Challenges" (TOMORROW)
We are pleased to invite you to the 7th MBD Business Networking which will be target in "Mongolian Foreign Direct Investment: Challenges" subject on Tuesday Oct 04, 2016 between 16.00-18.30 at Executive Excellence Center https://www.facebook.com/EEIBC/?fref=ts.
16.00 - "Mongolian Foreign Investment: Challenges and opportunities" - Dr. Nigel Finch, Founder & Managing Director of Saki Partners and Honorary Consul-General of Mongolia in Sydney.
(Dr.Nigel is a Founder & Managing Director of Saki Partners where he provides advice on complex financial transactions, he was an Associate Professor in Accounting at the University of Sydney (Australia).
He has authored more than 100 publications on accounting and finance including numerous articles focused on emerging markets and extractive industries. Some of his books include Emerging Markets and Sovereign Risk (2014), Fundamentals of Corporate Finance (2010), Contemporary Issues in Mining (2012) and Best Practices in Management Accounting (2012).
Dr. Finch is Chartered Accountant, a Chartered Tax Adviser and a Fellow of CPA. He is a member of the Representative Council of CPA Australia, a director of the Australia Mongolia Business Council and a director of several companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.)
16.20 - "Foreign investment into to the mining sector: Present situation, trend and comments" – L. NARANBAATAR, Founder and Director General of Glogex Co.,LTD
(Naranbaatar is a mining engineer-economist and holds financial management masters degree. He is initiated and leads to organize an annual Goal Mongolia and Metals Mongolia International forum. He is a board member of "Mongolian Geology and Mining professional institution and Mongolian minerals resource reporting committee)
16.40 - "The new circle begins: How we should benefit from it" - A.BILGUUN, Director of MIBG and capital market analyst
(Mr. Bilguun joined MIBG as Chief Executive in the spring of 2012. Prior to joining MIBG Bilguun held several senior executive positions involved in corporate advisory, financing, and logistics within the mining and resources sector in Mongolia. These included Chief Executive and President of Monrud Mining Services LLC and Chief Executive of Discover Mongolia International Mining Investors Forum. In addition to Bilguun’s experience in Mongolia he has previously worked in investment banking at Toll Cross Securities, a Toronto based boutique specializing in mining and resources. He holds Bachelor of Commerce in Finance, Saint Mary’s University CFA Level-3 Candidate)
17.00 - "Foreign Investment into Capital markets: Present situation, trend and comments" -D.ANGAR Founder of Novel Investment and President of Mongolian Capital Markets Association
(Angar was CEO of Mongolian Stock Exchange in 2014-2015. He is now the 100% shareholder of “Novel Investment”, a member of the Mongolian Stock Exchange. The brokerage firm is the Mongolian market leader in the secondary market trading of Government Bonds and Treasury Bills, which accounts for 50% of all trades at the domestic bourse.
He has a bachelor’s degree in Finance from the University of Central Arkansas, USA, and a Master’s degree in International accounting and Finance from the University of Liverpool, UK.)
17.20 - "The recent foreign investment related policy changes: Lessons and comments - Ichinkhorloo SER-OD Founder and CEO of Mongolian Business Database MBD (NGO) and "Bridge of your Business (B2B Mongolia) Co.,LTD
(Ser Od graduated Mongolian National University's Law Institute and the Academy of American and International Law in Dallas Texas. He has been working in a leading business representative organizations, FDI, B2B communication sector for 15 years including Staff-Director of Foreign Relations Department of MNCCI and Vice Director of BCM. )
17. 40 -18.30 Networking served with light food and drinks.
For guests interested in attending this event and registration process please contact:email@example.com tel:77106611, 77109911.
Please register by 5.00pm 03 Oct, 2016 via email providing your full name, company position, tel number and e mail address.
EEIBC's meeting room capacity is limited, so it will be “first come and first serve” basis. (The fee is 30.000 tugrug per person. Please confirm your registration by your payment to "Монголын Бизнес Мэдээллийн Бааз" TBD Bank's 427001964 account before your arrival)
TOKYO -- Though the Lotte group has avoided the arrest of its chairman for now, all is far from well at the Japanese-South Korean conglomerate, with malfeasance allegations hanging over the founding family and a feud over the Japanese operations still simmering.
Chairman Shin Dong-bin, the head of the group's South Korean business, is suspected of inflicting losses on group companies during overseas acquisitions and being involved in slush fund creation at Lotte Engineering & Construction and elsewhere.
Seoul opened an investigation in June. More than 300 people have been questioned in addition to Shin himself, including Shin's father, Lotte group founder Shin Kyuk-ho, and older brother Shin Dong-joo.
Shin Young-ja, Shin Kyuk-ho's oldest daughter and executive director of the Lotte Scholarship Foundation, was arrested in July on charges of embezzlement and breach of trust, a move likely intended to help get a handle on where the money went. The investigation extended to people close to Shin Dong-bin. Lee In-won, vice chairman of Lotte's South Korean operations, apparently killed himself in August shortly before he was to be questioned by prosecutors.
With the investigation in its final stages, prosecutors sought an arrest warrant Sept. 26 for Shin Dong-bin on suspicion of embezzlement and breach of trust, since the slush fund issue had not been fully brought to light. A Seoul Central District Court judge turned down the request Thursday.
All in the family
Founded in Japan in 1948, Lotte initially focused on gum and chocolates before massively expanding its business portfolio after entering South Korea in the 1960s. It retained a relatively narrow focus in Japan, centering on confectionery and professional baseball. But in South Korea, it became a conglomerate involved in such wide-ranging fields as logistics, chemicals and food. Lotte now earns more than 20 times as much revenue in South Korea as in Japan.
The two countries' operations are run by different management teams and have little to do with each other. The common thread was the leadership of Shin Kyuk-ho. The founder dictated "everything from the taste of products to promotional campaigns at stores," said a former Lotte staffer from the 1970s.
The aging patriarch, who was born in 1922, eventually passed on duties to the next generation, with older son Shin Dong-joo taking the reins in Japan and younger son Shin Dong-bin in South Korea. This arrangement was upended in January 2015, when Shin Dong-joo was ousted from positions including vice chairman of Lotte Holdings, putting leadership of both Lottes in the hands of Shin Dong-bin. The older brother tried to return to management, sparking a family feud that also swept up Shin Kyuk-ho.
Shin Dong-joo, effectively the largest shareholder of the unlisted Lotte Holdings, requested the dismissal of Shin Dong-bin and other officials and his own reappointment at an extraordinary shareholders meeting this past March as well as a regular meeting in June. The proposals were voted down by a majority at both meetings....
Aircraft lessor BOC Aviation Ltd (2588.HK) said on Monday it would buy five new planes from Air China (601111.SS), worth a combined $1.5 billion at list prices, and would lease them back to the carrier.
The Asia's second-biggest aircraft lessor, with a fleet of more than 260 planes, said it would buy three new Boeing B777-300ERs and two new Airbus A330-300 aircraft.
The company expects to take delivery of the aircraft before the end of 2016.
An expanding air travel market in Asia has helped many regional airlines improve their financial performance which in turn is fuelling growth in the leasing sector, BOC Aviation Chief Executive Officer Robert Martin said in August.
Leading German firms have rushed to defend Deutsche Bank amid concerns over the troubled lender's financial health.
Executives from Siemens, Daimler, Munich Re and BASF told German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung they backed the bank.
"We stand with Deutsche Bank," BASF chairman Juergen Hambrecht said.
Deutsche Bank is facing a $14bn ($11bn) fine in the US for mis-selling mortgage-backed bonds before the financial crisis of 2008.
Its shares fell sharply last week on fears the fine could cripple the bank, at one point dropping to their lowest level in 30 years.
Reinsurance giant Munich Re's chief executive, Nikolaus von Bomhard, told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung that he had followed the news, but saw no need to "reduce our business volume" with Deutsche Bank.
Dieter Zetsche, the chief executive of luxury car firm Daimler, also backed the bank, saying: "Deutsche Bank has a great tradition, a solid foundation and beyond that, a good future ahead. Of that I am convinced."
Siemens boss Joe Kaeser said that the bank's management "is pursuing the right goals and has our fullest confidence".
On Friday, Deutsche chief executive John Cryan insisted the bank's finances were strong, telling staff in an email that the lender had become the object of "hefty speculation" and that "new rumours" were causing the share price to fall.
Reports have also suggested the bank could be close to reaching a deal over a much lower fine of $5.4bn, boosting the shares.
Mr Cryan will attend this week's annual International Monetary Fund meeting held in Washington where he is expected to try and negotiate a deal with the Department of Justice over the fine.
Last week, the German government also denied reports that it was preparing a rescue plan for the bank - Germany's biggest lender - in case it could not afford to pay the US fine.
While Deutsche is a relatively small bank globally, it has significant trading relationships with all of the world's largest finance houses.
In June, the IMF identified it as a bigger potential risk to the wider financial system than any other global bank.
India, one of the world's largest greenhouse gas emitters, has ratified the Paris global climate agreement.
Under the deal, India has committed to ensuring that at least 40% of its electricity will be generated from non-fossil sources by 2030.
CO2 emissions are believed to be the driving force behind climate change.
Last December in Paris, countries agreed to cut emissions in a bid to keep the global average rise in temperatures below 2C.
The Paris deal is the world's first comprehensive climate agreement.
It will only come into force legally after it is ratified by at least 55 countries which between them produce at least 55% of global carbon emissions.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced last month that India would ratify the agreement on 2 October, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of the struggle for independence from Britain.
"India has deposited its instrument of ratification of the Paris Agreement with the United Nations," the UN said in a statement on Sunday.
The US and China - together responsible for 40% of the world's carbon emissions - both formally joined the Paris global climate agreement earlier this month.
India accounts for about 4.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and became the 62nd country to ratify the agreement.
The European Union is expected to do so in the near future, taking approvals past the 55% of emissions threshold.
Paris agreement: Key points
To keep global temperature increase "well below" 2C and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5C
To peak greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible and achieve a balance between sources and sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century
To review progress every five years
$100bn a year in climate finance for developing countries by 2020, with a commitment to further finance in the future
Once the deal comes into force, countries that have ratified it have to wait for a minimum of three years before they exit
The China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, or AIIB, is planning to ask former leaders from around the world to join an international advisory committee.
The AIIB was launched last year to assist in Asian infrastructure projects. The advisory committee is scheduled to hold its first meeting on October 19th.
Informed sources have told NHK that the new body will comprise 9 members. Former Japanese prime minister Yukio Hatoyama has accepted an offer to serve on the committee.
The sources say the AIIB is also considering appointments for former Pakistani prime minister Shaukat Aziz and OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria of Mexico.
Also among the candidates are former finance ministers of Sweden and East Timor.
The sources add that the former US executive director of the Asian Development Bank, Paul Speltz, will also join the committee.
Neither the United States nor Japan is participating in the AIIB. Observers say that by appointing panel members from non-member countries, the bank is apparently trying to stress its willingness to listen to various opinions.
What role the panel would play is likely to draw attention, as China greatly influences the AIIB, and holds the right to effectively veto major deals.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel cannot afford to bail out Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) given the hard line Berlin has taken against state aid in other European nations and the risk of a political backlash at home, German media wrote on Saturday.
The government denied a newspaper report on Wednesday that it was working on a rescue plan for Germany's biggest bank, as its shares went into a tailspin fueled by a demand for up to $14 billion from U.S. authorities for misselling mortgage-backed securities before the financial crisis.
Germany, which has insisted Italy and others accept tough conditions in tackling their problem lenders, can ill afford to be seen to go soft on its flagship bank, the Frankfurter Allgemeine wrote.
"Of course Chancellor Merkel doesn't want to give Deutsche Bank any state aid," it wrote in a front-page editorial. "She cannot afford it from the point of view of foreign policy because Berlin is taking a hard line in the Italian bank rescue."
The Munich-based Sueddeutsche Zeitung wrote that Merkel would be breaking a promise to taxpayers if she were to bail the bank out, which could spell disaster for her re-election bid next year as the anti-immigration AfD party gains ground.
The AfD is already benefiting from a backlash against Merkel's open-door refugee policy, making huge gains in two regional elections last month and hitting an all-time high of 16 percent support in an opinion poll last week.
"A state aid package would drive voters into the arms of the AfD," the Sueddeutsche wrote in an editorial.
"Domestic political considerations make it unlikely that Berlin would play this joker. Even more unlikely is that the European Commission would agree. The political risk would be simply too high."
Shares in Deutsche Bank recovered somewhat on Friday from a record low early in the day after a report that it was close to a cut-price settlement of $5.4 billion instead of $14 billion.
The bank, the U.S. Department of Justice and the German finance ministry all declined to comment on the report.
The crisis also prompted Deutsche Bank's normally reticent Chief Executive John Cryan to publish a letter seeking to reassure staff the bank was stable and hitting out at "forces" that wanted to weaken trust in the bank.
The Stuttgarter Zeitung wrote on Saturday: "Deutsche Bank has to win back ground here because as exaggerated as the reports of an existential danger to the bank may have been, just as obvious are its continuing difficulties."
"Trust is a bank's most important currency."
(Editing by David Clarke)