2 Oct 2014

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A Hong Kong tycoon has placed the biggest ever order for Rolls-Royce cars, agreeing to buy 30 Phantoms to chauffeur guests at a luxury resort he’s building in the global gambling capital of Macau.

Stephen Hung’s $20 million purchase surpasses the 14 Phantoms bought by Hong Kong’s Peninsula Hotel in 2006.

Hung and Rolls-Royce executives signed the deal Tuesday at the company’s Goodwood factory in England.

The Extended Wheelbase Phantoms will be used for guests at Hung’s “ultra-luxury” Louis XIII hotel, which is scheduled to open in early 2016.

Rolls-Royce said two of the cars will be the most expensive Phantoms ever commissioned, complete with “gold-plated accents” on the outside and interior.

Louis XIII Holdings Ltd. said it will pay the automaker a $2 million deposit, $3 million more by the end of the year and the remaining $15 million when the cars are delivered in the first half of 2016.

The Phantom’s base price in Britain is about 450,000 pounds ($734,000) including taxes, a company spokesman said, though prices vary by market and many buyers order custom features that push prices much higher.

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The market for small business cards is generally split between two types of products. On one hand, there are the basic business cards that have no annual fee and offer modest rewards and benefits. These cards are ideal for business users who are much more focussed on their bottom line than they are with receiving rewards or travel perks. In fact, we reviewed the top cards in this class last April when we awarded the Best Business Credit Cards With No Annual Fee.

Undoubtedly, these no-fee business cards offer tremendous value, but savvy business cardholders should also be weighing the costs and benefits of some of the premium business cards, which may offer them benefits that eclipse their annual fees. For example, businesses cardholders can earn cash back, valuable travel rewards, and receive access to airport business lounges where they can be productive while waiting for a flight.

What to Look for in a Business Rewards Credit Card

To a large extent, the best premium business card is the one that best reflects the needs of the cardholder. Som

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The ministry has said that ticket prices could fall by 7-10 percent, but the extent of the price reduction and when it will take effect will not be decided until the plan is reported to lawmakers in November.

A one-way ticket between Taipei and Zuoying in Kaohsiung in Southern Taiwan currently costs NT$1,630 , a price that many travelers see as excessively high.

Under the ministry’s proposal, that fare could be lowered to NT$1,490, roughly the level it was at before Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation hiked the price last October to boost revenue and help the financially troubled company whittle down its mountain of debt.

The price cut will be built around the ministry’s plan to rescue the company through a restructuring process, Chen said.

Local media have reported that the rescue plan could entail reducing the company’s capital by NT$39 billion through a redemption of preferred shares and then engineering a NT$30 billion capital increase that would exclude the company’s initial shareholders.

Such steps would be aimed at allowing the government to become THSRC’s controlling shareholder, after which the concession period of the system might be extended from the current 35 years to 75 years, local media reports said.

This plan, including an option for THSRC to go public in 2016, could be the company’s next move to restructure and rationalize its finances, pending a company board meeting scheduled for next month, THSRC spokesman William Hsu said.

According to the ministry, THSRC still had accumulated losses of NT$52.2 billion as of the end of 2013, despite having reported annual profits since 2011.

At that time, the assets of THSRC were valued at NT$500.6 billion, with liabilities totaling NT$457.5 billion, the ministry said.

I was in Manchester for a conference on Friday as the Scottish referendum results were coming in. Climbing the stairs to Virgins first-class lounge at Euston in search of strong coffee and somewhere to work on my speech, I heard what I thought was an MP on the radio or television, reacting to the early returns. Reaching the landing, I realised it was an MP in the flesh, reacting to the early returnsover his mobile phone, speaking presumably to abroadcasting outfit.

Completely fluent, no ums or ers.Say what you like about these professional politicians, they are certainly…professional.

Speeding north, my first thought was that I was rather glad not suddenly to have my countrys dimensions shrunk by several hundred miles – from Manchester, the “frontier” would have been only about another hour away by inter-city train.

My second was relief at our not having lost the Scottish economy. Forget the comments of South Britons about Scotlands “chronic welfare dependency” and clapped-out industries.

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The nation’s regular earnings averaged NT$38,460 in July, which was a 2.33-percent increase year-on-year and the largest rise since March 2012. Irregular earnings, which include performance-based bonuses and overtime pay, averaged NT$7,485 in July.

As such, average earnings in July registered at NT$45,945, which was a 7.95-percent rise month-on-month, and 6.75-percent rise year-on-year.

Average earnings between January and July were pegged at NT$49,708, which was a record high compared with the same period over the years.

However, after taking inflation into consideration, real earnings for the first seven months were pegged at NT$47,953, which was lower that the level 15 years ago, as the earnings level registered NT$48,376 in 1999. While earnings levels rose 16.43 percent from 1999, the consumer price index also rose 17.46 percent, said DGBAS officials.

About Half of Firms Plan to Give Raises: Job Bank

According to 104 Job Bank’s latest statistics, 48 percent of companies are currently considering giving raises to employees.

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Highlights for July

  • I just signed up for our 4th and 5th new credit card promotion opportunity this year. Since we have no plans to utilize our credit for other financing anytime soon, we plan to make a little money off our credit scores by taking advantage of these promotional opportunities. We have already earned $1,600 in gift cards from 3 of these opportunities in 2014. We are not spending extra, but focusing our spending on these new cards to earn the bonuses and doing some round trip transactions via Amazon payments.
  • Our properties are listed on our balance sheet based on their cost basis, not current market value. We have done this during the the real estate market highs and lows. I believe real estate is too illiquid to list based on recent sale transactions. For those interested, our July Zillow property estimates are: $202,649; $148,207; $315,570; and $208,748 (total: $875,174 vs $751,255 on balance sheet).
  • Cash savings finally ticked up this month.

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Tags: July, July 2014