first_imghermes is planning to clear out part of its retail portfolio and move into new sectors, which could include residential and continental Europe for the first time.The pension fund’s biggest disposal will be the Grosvenor Centre in Northampton, which is understood to be under offer to Legal & General for more than £80m. Hermes is shedding the centre because it feels that it is overweight in the Midlands. The deal will mark one of the largest shopping centre transactions in the past 12 months.Hermes is also to sell the Lion and Lamb Yard shopping centre in Surrey to Portman Investments for £12.3m and a portfolio of seven town-centre retail units to Dawnay Day for £13.5m.Richard Harrold, head of property, said that he hopes to complete the disposals in the next three months. A decision, he said, on whether to invest in the residential sector is likely to be made before the end of the financial year.However, Harrold said that a view on Europe would not be taken until the full effects of the euro had been assessed.Hermes is to maintain a neutral balance on its £1.5bn property portfolio.Of the recent sales, the Grosvenor Centre in Northampton comprises 39,019 sq m (420,000 sq ft) of retail and office space. The sale is expected to represent a 6.7% net initial yield.The Farnham centre comprises 6,596 sq m (71,000 sq ft) of retail space and the deal will represent a 7.7% net initial yield. The sale of the portfolio of seven town-centre units will represent a 9.1% net initial yield.Legal & General is also to move its property weighting from an overweight to a neutral position. But a spokesman said it is targeting business park and industrial holdings.Jones Lang Wootton acted for Hermes in Farnham and Northampton; CB Hillier Parker acted for Hermes on the retail portfolio. Cluttons Daniel Smith acted for Portman Investments while Lewis & Partners acted for Dawnay Day.last_img read more

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first_imgAXA Indonesia, the local arm of French multinational insurer AXA, has completed the merger of two general insurance subsidiaries in refocusing its business strategy.The company said in a statement on Tuesday that PT Asuransi AXA Indonesia’s (AGI) business permit had been officially revoked by the Financial Services Authority (OJK) on Feb. 17 following the company’s merger into PT Mandiri AXA General Insurance (MAGI). With the merger, AXA Indonesia now operates four subsidiaries, two of which provide health insurance, while one provides asset management services.“Returning AGI’s business permit is the final administrative step in the merger of MAGI and AGI,” said MAGI compliance director Benny Waworuntu, adding that the merger would allow the company to “improve services and reach more customers.” The restructuring is part of AXA Indonesia’s plan to focus resources on “areas of opportunity” in the domestic general insurance market such as health insurance, lifestyle protection and marine cargo protection.The OJK approved the AXA Indonesia merger in a letter dated Nov. 28 last year and the companies began merging operations in December 2019. The company noted that all existing AGI policies would remain valid until their respective expiration dates. Topics :last_img read more

first_img‘Times of hardship’ Khamenei advised Iranians that “everyone should follow the instructions” of the authorities to fight the epidemic “so that Almighty God will put an end to this calamity for the Iranian people, for all Muslim nations and for all mankind”.Jahanpour said Tehran province had reported 249 new cases and the central province of Yazd, where 84 new patients had been counted, “could become a new focus of the disease in the coming days”.To limit the spread of the virus, the authorities have asked people to refrain from travelling during the nation’s current New Year celebrations. In Iran “about 68 percent of deaths from COVID-19 disease are people over 60 years of age”, Jahanpour said, stressing that family trips “are generally risk factors for this age group”. Iran has a population of some 81 million and the disease is present in all 31 provinces. While it refuses to seek assistance from the American “Great Satan”, the Islamic Republic has not closed the door to international help. Iran said that by mid-March it had received medical equipment or financial aid from Azerbaijan, Britain, China, France, Germany, Japan, Qatar, Russia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. Aid group Doctors Without Borders (MSF) announced Sunday it would send a 50-bed inflatable hospital and a nine-person emergency team to Isfahan, Iran’s third largest city. “Iran is by far the hardest hit country in the region and Isfahan is the second most affected province in the country, and we hope that our aid will relieve, at least in part, the pressure on the local health system,” said Julie Reverse, MSF’s representative in Iran.  Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei said Sunday his country would never accept any aid to fight the novel coronavirus from arch-enemy and “charlatans” the United States, as Tehran announced 129 new deaths.Speaking in a televised address, Khamenei charged in a message directed at Washington: “No one trusts you. You are capable of bringing into our country a drug that will keep the virus alive and prevent its eradication.”Iran has been one of the countries worst hit by the COVID-19 illness along with Italy, Spain and China, and the latest fatalities raised the official death toll to 1,685, the health ministry said. More than 1,028 new cases in the past 24 hours meant a total of 21,638 people had now tested positive for the virus, said ministry spokesman Kianouche Jahanpour.US President Donald Trump — who has stepped up sanctions and a “maximum pressure” campaign on Tehran over its nuclear program — said on February 29 that Washington was ready to help Iran fight the virus if its leaders requested it. But Khamenei reiterated Iran’s rejection, charging that Washington, which whom it has had no diplomatic relations for more than 40 years, was “capable” of wanting to intensify the epidemic in the Islamic republic.”Today America is our most ferocious and vicious enemy,” Khamenei said in his address to the nation. “The American leaders are liars, manipulators, impudent and greedy … They are charlatans,” he said, also labeling them “absolutely ruthless” and “terrorists”.The American proposals “to help us with medicines and treatments, provided we ask for them, are strange”, he said, noting that the United States itself suffers from “a horrible shortage not only of disease prevention equipment but also of medicines”. Speaking to Washington, he added: “If you have something, use it for yourself.” Topics :last_img read more

first_imgTwenty percent of the survey’s respondents also said they had tried online grocery shopping for the first time in March.“Online sales of fast-moving consumer goods are usually low, but more people tried it. I think it can be the new normal to buy groceries online,” Lamba added.The survey also showed that 18 percent of respondents also reported doing sports or fitness activities more during the quarantine, while 13 percent of respondents said they tried an online fitness class for the first time during quarantine.“This is a good opportunity for fitness service providers to tap into online classes or to further promote their online products,” Lamba said.Consumers in Indonesia are reporting doing more handwashing and more fitness activities as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread. (Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and SurveySensum/-)A consumer shift toward a more hygienic and healthier lifestyle is concurrent with Google Trend’s data, which show an upward trend in searches for the “immunity” keyword since early March after the President announced the first two cases of COVID-19 in Indonesia.As people try to stay active and healthy to maintain good immunity, they are also staying indoors to comply with the government’s call for physical distancing. The survey also reported that weekend traveling had declined by 77 percent in March, while going to malls for leisure and watching movies in cinemas was down by 76 and 65 percent, respectively.The MMA questioned 500 people in five major cities across Indonesia from March 20 to 21 for the consumer survey while it is also monitoring 80 business to business respondents for the business sentiment survey.   Topics : “In the first week after COVID-19 spread to Indonesia, we saw people stocking up. But now we are not seeing that as much,” said SurveySensum founder and CEO Rajiv Lamba at a webinar on Friday.People are buying products from markets in bigger packages as they continue to stay at home more, Lamba said, in line with retailers’ report of a shift in consumer behavior to buy in bulk.The survey findings were also in line with retailers’ report of an uptick in demand for hygiene products as Indonesia declared a public health emergency over COVID-19 on March 31, imposing large-scale social restrictions. COVID-19 cases in Indonesia soared within a month from zero to 2,273 cases with 198 dead, among the highest death rates in the world.Read also: Staple foods safe, but masks, sanitizer gone from markets as consumer behavior shiftscenter_img A consumer survey in Indonesia has shown that people are buying more health and hygiene products and trying online fitness classes as the coronavirus continues to spread.In the survey, conducted recently by Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and SurveySensum, 85 percent of respondents reported doing more handwashing while 46 percent said they took vitamin supplements.The survey is backed by data from Nielsen showing that the value of liquid hand soap, for example, saw a 285 percent increase in March compared to the first two months of 2020. People are also buying more hand sanitizer, liquid antiseptic and wet tissues.last_img read more

first_imgBank Indonesia’s (BI) policy measures and a narrowing current account deficit (CAD) will likely support the rupiah amid unfavorable financial market conditions, however risks remain as Indonesia continues to record new COVID-19 cases while facing limited healthcare capacity, experts warn.Fitch Solutions has revised it outlook for the rupiah for 2020 to 15,500 per US dollar from its earlier projection of Rp 16,750 after the recent gains the currency booked. The rupiah appreciated 13 percent from a recent low of Rp 16,575, a level unseen since the 1998 financial crisis, to Rp 14,610 on Monday, Bloomberg data show.“We believe that BI’s policy measures will continue to cushion the rupiah in the short-term,” the researchers said. “Moreover, a forecast narrowing in CAD in 2020 due to slightly cheaper imports, will also add to investors’ confidence in Indonesia’s fundamentals.” The central bank has taken several measures to stabilize the rupiah, including by direct intervention in foreign exchange markets, purchase of government bonds in the secondary market worth Rp 166.2 trillion (US$11.34 billion) and strike currency swap lines with major central banks including a $60 billion repurchase agreement with the US’ Federal Reserve.“Dollar liquidity and BI’s bond market activity will help attract foreign investors back to the bond market in the short-term horizon, which will provide support to the currency,” Fitch said.The country recorded a CAD of US$3.9 billion, or 1.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in this year’s first three months, down from 2.8 percent of GDP in the previous quarter. Fitch Solutions expects the CAD to reach 2 percent of GDP this year, much lower than the 3.4 percent in a previous forecast, providing a lift to foreign exchange reserves that will help support the rupiah.Fitch Solutions, however, warned that the downside risks from COVID-19 could further erode the rupiah’s recent gains if the situation spiraled out of control, adding that downside risks remained elevated over the long-term due to a widened budget deficit. “The Indonesian government’s initial mismanagement of the COVID-19 outbreak led to a collapse in investors’ confidence in the country’s assets, including the rupiah,” it said.“Downside risks will continue to emerge from the COVID-19 outbreak in Indonesia. As we have noted, cases across Indonesia continue to rise at a rapid pace and the country has limited healthcare and financial resources to deal with a widespread outbreak.”The central bank now expects the currency to further gain against the greenback to “pre-pandemic levels” at around Rp 13,600 to Rp 13,800 per US dollar, BI Governor Perry Warjiyo said. It decided to hold its benchmark interest rate last week at 4.5 percent to maintain financial market stability.“We maintain our view that the rupiah remains fundamentally undervalued and will strengthen to reflect its fundamentals,” Perry told reporters in a streamed news conference on May 28.BI recorded a net outflow of $5.7 billion in the first quarter as foreign investors dumped Indonesian assets. From April 1 to May 14, however, the central bank booked $4.1 billion in net inflows, mainly in sovereign debt papers.The COVID-19 pandemic threatens the stability of Indonesia’s financial system, as it has weakened the country’s financial industry and macroeconomic outlook, as well as brought economic activity to a standstill, the Financial System Stability Committee (KSSK) said earlier this month.Economists have warned that nationwide loan restructuring programs and economic risks caused by the pandemic may tighten liquidity in several small banks and lead to higher non-performing loan ratios in the medium term, leaving banks in need of additional liquidity.Bank Central Asia (BCA) chief economist David Sumual said the central bank should aim to stabilize the currency to support the country’s weakening economic activity, adding that the rupiah’s fundamentals were currently around Rp 15,000 per US dollar.“The rupiah’s stability is the priority right now as the currency should be favorable for importers and exporters,” David told The Jakarta Post. “An over-strengthened rupiah may discourage economic recovery in the real sector.”Topics :last_img read more

first_imgTopics : “The effects of the [COVID-19] pandemic continue to be felt, impacting prices and demand in some of our markets,” Srivastava said in an official statement on Monday.The miner’s coal sales volume rose 3 percent to 21.5 million tons in the first quarter, but higher sales were offset by a 6 percent drop in prices to US$49 per ton, said Srivastava. Prior to the pandemic, Bumi expected coal prices to remain between $51 and $53 per ton.Bumi booked a $35.1 million loss in this year’s first quarter, down from $48.5 million in profit in the same period last year, the company’s latest financial report shows. To alleviate the impacts of the pandemic, Bumi is also looking into metal mining and chemical production. Through subsidiary PT Bumi Resources Minerals (BRMS), the company plans to intensify its gold mining in Palu, Central Sulawesi, and zinc mining in Dairi, North Sumatra, starting next year, according to Srivastava.The firm also plans to become one of the coal suppliers to a multi-billion dollar coal-to-methanol processing plant in East Kalimantan. Methanol is commonly used in biodiesel production.The plant, being developed by affiliated financing firm Bakrie Capital Indonesia (BCI), is estimated to require 6 million tons of coal each year once operational in 2024.“There is strong momentum for this project, which will produce high-value methanol from abundant, low-value coal reserves,” said BCI chief executive officer Adika Nuraga Bakrie, in a joint statement on May 15.Developing downstream mining industries is part of the government’s vision to capitalize on Indonesia’s underground wealth.The government, through the new Mining Law, even plans to guarantee mining permit extensions for coal miners that develop downstream operations.Bumi recorded a 97 percent drop in profit last year, one of the steepest among coal miners publicly listed on the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX).The company’s profits this year were also pinched by rising production costs, as the company raised its strip ratio – the volume of waste material removed to obtain a given volume of coal – to produce higher quality coal. Production costs rose 38 percent year-on-year (yoy) to $238.17 million in the first quarter. Raising its strip ratio contrasts with Bumi’s competitors PT Adaro Energy and PT Bukit Asam, Indonesia’s first and second most profitable coal miners last year, which lowered their strip ratios to cut costs.center_img Indonesia’s most productive coal miner PT Bumi Resources has lowered its sales target for 2020 after its profits dipped into the negative in the first quarter this year, amid continued global market pressures.The publicly listed firm aims to sell up to 90 million tons of coal this year, down from an initial target of 93 million tons, the firm’s corporate secretary Dileep Srivastava told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.The lower sales target follows weakening coal prices and demand, particularly from partially-locked down India, Indonesia’s second largest coal buyer.last_img read more

first_imgTopics : Facebook on Tuesday removed almost 900 accounts associated with the far-right Proud Boys and American Guard, including those belonging to Proud Boys supporters who marched into a protest zone in Seattle Monday and confronted anti-racist demonstrators.Facebook told Reuters the takedowns of more than 500 Facebook accounts and more than 300 Instagram accounts followed a smaller round of suspensions two weeks ago.”We initially removed a set of accounts for both organizations on May 30 when we saw that both organizations started posting content tied to the ongoing protests,” said a Facebook spokeswoman who asked not to be identified. “We were continuing the work to map out the full network.” Facebook had previously banned the groups for promoting hate, but individual members continued to post images with weapons and urge others to attend protests that followed the Minneapolis killing of George Floyd in police custody.Facebook is under heightened scrutiny as provocateurs use it to coordinate and recruit. It has also acted to make it harder to find groups in the so-called Boogaloo movement.Boogaloo adherents believe a new civil war is looming and are often heavily armed. Some ally with right-wing militias and have sought to capitalize on the protests by instigating violence they hope will escalate into a broader conflict.On Tuesday, two adherents were charged in connection with the murder of a security guard on duty at a federal building during a protest in Oakland.center_img According to an affidavit supporting the criminal complaint, suspects Steven Carrillo and Robert Alvin Justus Jr. belonged to the same unidentified Facebook group and discussed attacking federal authorities on May 28.”It’s a great opportunity to target the specialty soup bois,” Carrillo posted, in a reference the FBI said was shorthand for three-letter agencies.The guard was killed the following night. After a later carjacking, the FBI said, Carrillo wrote “Boog” in his own blood on the vehicle.last_img read more