Japan to restrict foreign ownership in high-technology sectors

Japan’s new foreign ownership rule will be applied to 20 sectors in information and communications industries. (Reuters)
Updated 27 May 2019
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Japan to restrict foreign ownership in high-technology sectors

  • Japan wants to prevent a leakage of technology deemed important for national security
  • The new rule will be applied to 20 sectors in information and communications industries

TOKYO: Japan’s government said on Monday that high-tech industries will be added to a list of businesses for which foreign ownership of Japanese firms is restricted.
The new rule, effective August 1, comes amid heightening pressure from the United States in dealing with cyber-security risks and technological transfers involving China.
The Japanese government made no mention of specific countries or companies that will be impacted by applying existing foreign ownership restrictions to the IT and telecoms industries.
The announcement came on the same day visiting US President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are holding talks in Tokyo on trade and other issues.
The United States has warned countries against using Chinese technology, saying Huawei Technologies could be used by Beijing to spy on the West. China and Huawei have strongly rejected the allegations.
“Based on increasing importance of ensuring cybersecurity in recent years, we decided to take necessary steps, including addition of integrated circuit manufacturing, from the standpoint of preventing as appropriate a situation that will severely affect Japan’s national security,” Japanese ministries said in a statement.
Japan wants to prevent a leakage of technology deemed important for national security or damage to defense output and technological foundation, they added.
The new rule will be applied to 20 sectors in information and communications industries, according to the joint statement by the finance ministry, trade ministry and communications ministry.
Under the foreign exchange and foreign trade control law, Japan brings certain industries such as airplanes, nuclear-related sectors and arms manufacturing under foreign capital controls.
The law requires foreign investors to report to the Japanese government and undergo inspection in case they buy 10 percent or more of stocks in listed Japanese companies or acquire shares of unlisted firms.
If the government finds any shortcomings, it can order foreign investors to change or cancel their investment plans.


Emirates NBD profit surges on asset sale and forex gains

Updated 32 min 45 sec ago
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Emirates NBD profit surges on asset sale and forex gains

  • Dubai’s largest bank reports 80 percent rise in net profit for second quarter

DUBAI: Emirates NBD, Dubai’s largest bank, reported an 80 percent rise in second-quarter net profit helped by the sale of a stake in Network International and strong non-interest income on foreign exchange gains.

The result included a gain of 2.1 billion dirhams ($572 million) from the sale of a stake in digital payment provider Network International in an initial public offering in London in April.

The earnings showed that top banks in the UAE have still withstood strains from a sluggish economy and a property downturn in Dubai.

Second-quarter net profit jumped 80 percent to 4.74 billion dirhams. EFG Hermes had expected a net profit of 4.06 billion in the second quarter.

The bank said net interest income rose 6 percent in the second-quarter from a year earlier, as growth in assets offset a drop in net interest rate margins.

Non-interest income surged 23 percent, helped by gains in foreign exchange income and investment banking activities.

Provisioning for bad debts more than doubled to 656 million dirhams in the second quarter from a year earlier.

The bank said the cost of risk had increased in 2019 to a more normalized level from relatively better credit quality conditions in 2018.

Cost of risk reflects the price a lender pays to manage its risk exposure. In 2018, Emirates NBD signaled that it expected cost of risk to revert to a long-term level of 80-100 basis points from the 63 basis points seen in 2018.

“The increased cost of risk of 82 basis points in H1 2019 is a result of an expectation of a reversion of credit quality to more normalized levels from the benign conditions in 2018, coupled with the expectation of lower write-backs and recoveries,” it said.

Credit-rating agency Moody’s had warned earlier this year provisioning charges for top banks in the UAE will increase in 2019 owing to pressure in the property and the retail sectors.

The Dubai lender said its net profit surged 49 percent in the first half of the year. “Core operating profit advanced 8 percent compared to the first half of 2018, helped by loan growth, higher foreign exchange income and increased investment banking activity,” the bank’s chief executive Shayne Nelson said in a statement.

Nelson said that the bank continued to make progress on the acquisition of Turkey’s Denizbank and expects this transaction to close in the third quarter of 2019.

Emirates NBD said in April that it was buying Denizbank from Russia’s Sberbank at a roughly 20 percent discount to a previously agreed price, after a steep fall in the Turkish lira.