International News 30/01

January 30, 2024 No. 13

Holcim plans to spin off and IPO its business units in the Americas.

Swiss cement company Holcim is planning to separate its North American business unit and take the company public on an American exchange, according to sources from the Wall Street Journal.  In the first half of last year, Holcim's North American business generated net sales of $12 billion, accounting for 40% of the group's total sales. During a meeting at the World Economic Forum, Holcim Europe's Head, Miljan Gutovic, stated that the United States and Canada remain attractive locations for the company. Holcim plans to increase capacity and explore mergers and acquisitions. Since merging with Lafarge, Holcim has engaged in several corporate activities, including the recent sale of its Indian business to Adani Group for $10.5 billion in cash.


The US government will provide subsidies to chip producers.

The US government is expected to announce subsidies worth billions of dollars for semiconductor companies that establish new factories in the country. President Joe Biden is likely to unveil these rules in his speech by 7 March. The implementation of the Cip and Science Act 2022 will play a significant role in this initiative, with a budget of $39 billion allocated to revitalize US manufacturing. Intel Corp and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) are expected to receive these subsidies. Intel is currently working on projects in Arizona, Ohio, New Mexico, and Oregon, with an estimated investment of $43.5 billion. Similarly, TSMC is building two factories near Phoenix, Arizona, with a projected investment of $40 billion. Samsung Electronics, Micron Technology, Texas Instruments, and GlobalFoundries are also potential candidates for these subsidies. The chip manufacturers may receive subsidies in the form of grants, debt, or loan guarantees, which are expected to cover 15% of the total project costs.


China and Thailand have signed a visa-free agreement.

Thailand and China have agreed to waive visa requirements for each other's citizens in an effort to boost travel and tourism between the two countries, which have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The joint visa exemption was signed by Thai Foreign Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-nukara and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and will come into effect on 1 March. Wang stated that this move will enhance the level of exchanges between the people of the two nations. China has historically been a major contributor to Thailand's tourism industry. However, the return of Chinese tourists to Thailand has been slow. In 2020, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Thailand dropped to 3.5 million from 11 million in 2019. In addition to the visa exemption, the two countries have pledged to expedite the construction of the China-Thailand railway and cooperate in combating transnational crime. During Wang's visit to Bangkok, he discussed a range of issues with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, including bilateral relations, Taiwan, and Iran.