November 2008

US ho!
Tokyo Marine Holdings, Japan’s largest non-life insurer by sales, is buying Philadelphia Consolidated Holdings, an American non-life insurer, for US$4.7 billion.

Early death
Zhang Sheng Yu, 39, has become the latest of Chinese listed company CEOs to suffer an early death. The head of the venerable pharmacy chain Tong Reng Tang, listed in Shanghai, died of a sudden heart attack on July 22.

Loan shark days
The credit crunch has hit China so badly that some smaller companies and individuals are borrowing money at 600% per month, according to local media.

August 2008

Please wait
Australia will make a decision "in a few months" on whether Sinosteel Corp can take a stake in Murchison Metals, after Sinosteel made a A$1.36 billion (US$1.3 billion) bid for Murchison’s rival, Midwest Corp.

Empty space
Demand for prime office space in Japan has shown signs of waning as foreign financial institutions hold back expansion plans in the face of the fallout from the subprime crisis.

Video game winner
Almost written off two years ago, Nintendo has captured the top spot in Japan for "Innovation in Responding to Customer Needs" with its Wii in the Wall Street Journal Asia’s latest Asia 200 survey of readers.

July 2008


Japanese annual inflation hit 1.2% in March, the highest in a decade. This helped trigger a huge sell-off in yen bonds in late April after the figures were released.

Investors feared Japan had little immunity from price increases and its central bank might be forced to raise rates, despite a weak economy.

November 2008

Back to his roots
Ratan Tata has decided to make his Nano, the world's cheapest car, in Gujarat, the state where the Tata clan, of Parsi faith, made their first home in India after their ancestors fled Persia (now Iran). If all goes well Tata Motors will be given a 1,000 acre site near Sanand, 26 km from the western fringes of Ahmedabad, to build the first Nano plant. Completed cars, which seat four, would be sold around US$2,500. Tata Motors has pulled out of a planned plant in West Bengal due to protest by farmers and other residents.

And to America
Tata Consultancy Services will buy Citigroup's India back office unit for US$505 million and expects revenue to start flowing in from the acquisition as soon as the first quarter of next year, says TCS Chief Operating Officer N. Chandrasekaran.

Nomura in, Lehman out
Japan's Nomura will buy over the defunct Lehman Brothers' India operations, a move that would expand its workforce in India by 3,000, including 1,200 IT professionals.

August 2008

Mittal buys Dubai firm
ArcelorMittal, the biggest steelmaker in the world, has acquired 60% of privately held Dubai Steel Trading Company for an undisclosed sum. Dubai Steel, formed in 1986, has 50 staff and sells mainly to the construction market.

Sun power
Solar Semiconductor Private Ltd, a maker of photovoltaic modules based in Hyderabad, has signed a 10-year agreement to supply Deutsche Solar AG, a subsidiary of SolarWorld AG of Germany, worth US$1.2 billion.

Bra power
Triumph, arguably the most famous women underwear brand in the world, will invest Rs 100 crore (US$25 million) to open 100 stores in India in the next two years.