China state assets regulator says debt reduction, curbing risks still key

China’s Finance Minister Xiao Jie has tried to defuse concern over the country’s rising debt, saying government borrowing is below danger levels. (AP)
Updated 10 March 2018
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China state assets regulator says debt reduction, curbing risks still key

BEIJING: Reducing debt and curbing risks remain priorities for China’s state-owned firms, the head of the country’s state assets regulator said on Saturday, as Beijing continues its restructuring and deleveraging efforts.
State-owned firms would be pushed to improve their asset quality and boost their equity capital, Xiao Yaqing, chairman of the State Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, told reporters on the sidelines of China’s annual meeting of parliament.
The regulator also would seek to use debt-for-equity swaps to further reduce debt at state-owned companies, he added.
In 2015, Beijing introduced reforms to its state-owned industrial sector aimed at strengthening central government-owned enterprises, while introducing more professional management systems such as the adoption of boards of directors.
Xiao said those reforms would quicken.
The sector reported a rebound last year, with enterprises owned by China’s central government showing profit growth of 15.2 percent, to 1.4 trillion yuan ($221.2 billion), the fastest in five years.
Total profit from China’s central government-owned firms for the first two months of 2018 rose 22.6 percent from a year earlier to 266.7 billion yuan ($42.1 billion), Xiao said.


Boeing abandons 2019 outlook after 737 MAX aircraft groundings

Updated 25 min 38 sec ago
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Boeing abandons 2019 outlook after 737 MAX aircraft groundings

  • Boeing’s core earnings fell to $1.99 billion, or $3.16 per share
  • The planemaker said it faced $1 billion in increased costs in the first-quarter ended March 31

Boeing missed sharply-lowered Wall Street estimates for revenue and cashflow in the first quarter and suspended its 2019 outlook, as the world’s largest planemaker continued to suffer from the grounding of its 737 MAX jets.

The company said it faced $1 billion in increased costs in the first-quarter ended March 31, related to the 737 aircraft as it halted deliveries of the grounded planes to customers around the globe.

The company also said it was halting share buybacks.

The fallout of a second deadly crash within months in March has seen Boeing cut production of the jets to 42 aircraft per month, down from 52, and its operating cash flow in the first quarter was around $350 million lower than a year earlier.

Boeing is also spending on developing a fix for an anti-stall software known by the acronym MCAS, which has been a common link in the separate chains of events leading to the two crashes within a span of five months.

The company said it would be issuing a new forecast in the future when it has more clarity around the issues surrounding the 737 MAX.

First-quarter operating cash flow declined to $2.79 billion, from $3.14 billion, missing the Wall Street’s average estimate of $2.82 billion.

Revenue fell 2 percent to $22.92 billion, below analysts’ average estimate of $22.98 billion.

Excluding certain items, Boeing said its core earnings fell to $3.16 per share, in the quarter from $3.64 per share, a year earlier. Analysts had expected Boeing to earn $3.16 per share.