Asian Markets Overview of April 1: Tokyo Gas (TYO:9531) to Join BG Group's (LON:BG) LNG Project in Australia

Wall Street overnight fell on the unexpected drop of the private sector employment data, which raised investors' concern over the key nonfarm payroll figures to be released on Friday. Asian markets were mostly lower Wednesday. Japan's Nikkei index closed slightly lower with a 0.1 per cent fall on the last day of the current fiscal year for most Japanese companies. China's Shanghai Composite and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index both lost 0.6 per cent. Today China is due to release PMI figures for the manufacturing sector.

Company News

Sony Corp (TYO:6758) said it plans to sell its LCD TV plant in Slovakia to Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry (TPE:2317) as part of its effort to restructure its portfolio of factories amid the intense competition in LCD panel market. Sony will sell a 90 percent stake in its LCD TV assembly plant in western Slovakia to Hon Hai for an undisclosed sum by September, with Sony keeping the remaining 10 percent. The company will use the Taiwanese contract manufacturer to produce its televisions for the European market. Sony also will sell a small-sized LCD panel factory in western Japan to electric parts maker Kyocera Corp (TYO:6971).

Tokyo Gas Co. (TYO:9531) has reached a basic agreement with British energy giant BG Group PLC (LON:BG) to join a project in Australia, which is described as the world's first project to extract and liquefy natural gas from coal seams. The Japanese gas distributor agreed to acquire a 1.25 percent interest in the reserves in some tenements of BG Group's Australian unit as well as a 2.5 percent equity interest in one of the firm's two liquefaction facilities.

Singapore-listed Fortune Real Estate Investment Trust (SIN:F25U) said it plans to list on the mainboard of the Hong Kong stock exchange on April 20. The property trust has received regulatory approval by introduction in Hong Kong after agreeing to adopt precautionary measures to maintain stable trading in two markets. Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd. (HKG:0001), which owns 31.6 per cent of the firm, will transfer 15 per cent of its shareholding from Singapore to Hong Kong.

Australia's sugar and building material company CSR Ltd (ASX:CSR) said Thursday it will start talks with China's Bright Food Group after the Chinese food producer raised its offer to buy the CSR's sugar arm by 17 percent to A$1.75 billion, including debt. But CSR also said there is no certainty that a deal will be struck. Bright Food is in a position to lodge an application with Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board immediately.

Michelle Liang
Asia Business News Asia Bureau
Tel: +61-2-9247-4344


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