FREMONT, Calif., Jan. 06, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — AXT, Inc. (NasdaqGS: AXTI), a leading manufacturer of compound semiconductor substrates, today announced that the second tranche of the private equity investment in its wafer manufacturing company in China, Beijing Tongmei Xtal Technology Co., Ltd. (“Tongmei”), was largely completed in December 2020. The second tranche investment was originally scheduled to fund in January 2021. In December, seven private equity firms invested approximately $25 million in the second tranche. An additional $1.5 million is expected to be invested in January 2021, closing the second tranche at approximately $26.5 million. The first tranche, totaling approximately $22.5 million, funded in November 2020. Upon the completion of the final $1.5 million investment, the capital raise will total approximately $49 million in exchange for an approximately 7.28 percent minority interest in Tongmei.
AXT previously announced on November 16, 2020 a strategic plan to access China’s capital markets and progress to an initial public offering by Tongmei on the Shanghai Stock Exchange’s Sci-Tech innovAtion boaRd (the “STAR Market”). To qualify for a STAR Market listing, Tongmei is required to have multiple independent shareholders. The first major step in this process is engaging reputable private equity firms in China to invest funds in Tongmei.
“We are pleased that the second tranche participants accelerated the investment schedule,” said Morris Young, CEO. “Their strong support and enthusiasm underscore the exciting applications and customer opportunities for which we are preparing this year, and their investment is an important milestone in Tongmei’s progress toward a STAR Market IPO in 2022.”
The process of going public on the STAR Market includes several periods of review and, therefore, is a lengthy process. Tongmei does not expect to accomplish this goal until mid-2022. AXT has posted on its website a brief summary of the plan and the process. The listing of Tongmei on China’s STAR Market will not change the status of AXT, Inc. as a U.S. public company headquartered in Fremont, California. It will continue to be listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol AXTI.
About AXT, Inc.
AXT is a material science company that develops and manufactures high-performance compound and single element semiconductor substrate wafers comprising indium phosphide (InP), gallium arsenide (GaAs) and germanium (Ge). The company’s substrate wafers are used when a typical silicon substrate wafer cannot meet the performance requirements of a semiconductor or optoelectronic device. End markets include 5G infrastructure, data center connectivity (silicon photonics), passive optical networks, LED lighting, lasers, sensors, power amplifiers for wireless devices and satellite solar cells. AXT’s worldwide headquarters are in Fremont, California where the company maintains its sales, administration and customer service functions. AXT has manufacturing facilities in China and, as part of its supply chain strategy, has partial ownership in ten companies in China producing raw materials. For more information, see AXT’s website at http://www.axt.com.
The foregoing paragraphs contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Federal securities laws, including, for example, statements regarding an additional $1.5 million that is expected to be invested in the second tranche in January 2021, completing other preliminary steps in connection with the proposed listing of shares of Tongmei on the STAR Market, being accepted to list shares of Tongmei on the STAR Market and the timing and completion of such listing of shares of Tongmei on the STAR Market. Additional examples of forward-looking statements include statements regarding the market demand for our products, our growth prospects and opportunities for continued business expansion, including technology trends and new applications, our market opportunity and ability to compete for business opportunities, elevating our manufacturing, enhancing our business processes and financial structure, our relocation and our expectations with respect to our business prospects and financial results. These forward-looking statements are based upon assumptions that are subject to uncertainties and factors relating to the company’s operations and business environment, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements contained in the foregoing discussion. These uncertainties and factors include, but are not limited to: the withdrawal, cancellations or requests for redemptions by private equity funds in China of investments in Tongmei, the timing of receipt of additional funds into Tongmei, the administrative challenges in satisfying the requirements of various government agencies in China in connection with the investments in Tongmei and the listing of shares of Tongmei on the STAR Market, continued open access to companies to list shares on the STAR Market, investor enthusiasm for new listings of shares on the STAR Market and geopolitical tensions between China and the United States. Additional uncertainties and factors include, but are not limited to, the timing and receipt of significant orders; the cancellation of orders and return of product; emerging applications using chips or devices fabricated on our substrates; end-user acceptance of products containing chips or devices fabricated on our substrates; our ability to bring new products to market; product announcements by our competitors; the ability to control costs and improve efficiency; the ability to utilize our manufacturing capacity; product yields and their impact on gross margins; the relocation of manufacturing lines and ramping of production; possible factory shutdowns as a result of air pollution in China; COVID-19 or other outbreaks of a contagious disease; tariffs and other trade war issues; the financial performance of our partially owned supply chain companies; policies and regulations in China; and other factors as set forth in the company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and other filings made with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Each of these factors is difficult to predict and many are beyond the company’s control. The company does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statement, as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
Chief Financial Officer
Green Communications Consulting, LLC
JPMorgan's profits jump as economy, investment bank recovers – BNN
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — JPMorgan Chase & Co., the nation’s largest bank by assets, said its fourth quarter profits jumped by 42 per cent from a year earlier, as the firm’s investment banking division had a stellar quarter and its balance sheet improved despite the pandemic.
The New York-based bank said it earned a profit of US$12.14 billion, or US$3.79 per share, up from a profit of US$8.52 billion, or US$2.57 per share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding one-time items, the bank earned US$3.07 a share, which is well above the US$2.62 per share forecast analysts had for the bank.
The one-time item was JPMorgan “releasing” some of the funds it had set aside last year to cover potential loan losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent recession. Banks had set aside tens of billions of dollars to cover potentially bad loans, and JPMorgan had been particularly aggressive in setting aside funds early in the pandemic.
Releasing those funds goes straight to a bank’s bottom line when it reports its results, but it’s not money that the bank generated from loans, customers or borrowers. It’s just funds that were effectively put into escrow and are no longer in escrow.
The US$1.9 billion release is only a fraction of what JPMorgan set aside last year, and with the pandemic raging across the globe and particularly here in the U.S., it’s uncertain how much more the bank will release in the upcoming quarter.
“While positive vaccine and stimulus developments contributed to these reserve releases this quarter, our credit reserves of over US$30 billion continue to reflect significant near-term economic uncertainty,” said JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon in a statement.
The driver of JPMorgan’s profits this quarter was the investment banking business. The corporate and investment bank posted a profit of US$5.35 billion compared with US$2.94 billion in the same period a year earlier. JPMorgan said it saw higher investment banking fees — money banks collect to advise companies on going public or buying other companies — as well as higher fees from its trading desks.
Shares in China’s Xiaomi tumble after US investment ban – Financial Times
Shares in China’s Xiaomi sank after the US government added the smartphone group to an investment blacklist, in a move that is likely to thin its ranks of American shareholders.
The Beijing-based company’s stock dropped 10.3 per cent in Hong Kong trading on Friday, hours after the Pentagon added it to a list of companies with suspected ties to the Chinese military. That, in conjunction with a separate executive order, will block US investors from buying its shares 60 days from now and will require Americans to eventually sell their holdings.
The move marks a significant blow for Xiaomi, which had been a big beneficiary of Washington’s campaign of sanctions against Chinese competitor Huawei. That had helped Xiaomi’s sales to surpass US group Apple’s, making it the world’s number three phonemaker by units sold in the third quarter.
Its shares soared 227 per cent last year, pumping up its market value at the end of 2020 to $108bn. Large Xiaomi shareholders include US fund managers BlackRock, Vanguard, Fidelity and State Street, according to Bloomberg data. Friday’s share price fall cut Xiaomi’s market capitalisation by more than $10bn.
State Street declined to comment on its Xiaomi holdings. Vanguard, Fidelity and BlackRock did not respond to requests for comment.
“Xiaomi’s political risks have dramatically increased,” said Wu Yiwen at Strategy Analytics, adding that the blacklisting could threaten the company’s “aggressive expansion plan and affect partners’ confidence”.
An executive order from US President Donald Trump in November targeted US investments in Chinese businesses alleged to have ties to the country’s military. The Pentagon’s list included China’s three big state-owned telecom carriers, prompting the New York Stock Exchange to de-list the companies.
S&P Dow Jones Indices, MSCI and FTSE Russell all removed China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom from their global equity indices. But State Street decided that its $13.4bn fund that tracks Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index, which contains two of the telecom groups, could continue trading in securities of the sanctioned companies.
Wendy Wysong, a partner at the Hong Kong office of law firm Steptoe & Johnson, said the Trump executive order did not apply to foreign subsidiaries of US companies. However, she added that “a US company cannot evade the prohibitions by directing their Asian subsidiary to deal in the securities”.
The US defence department said the move against Xiaomi and eight other newly listed Chinese companies aimed to counter the country’s “military-civil fusion development strategy” but offered no evidence of the smartphone maker’s involvement in this.
Xiaomi said in a statement to the Hong Kong bourse on Friday that it was not controlled by, or affiliated to, the Chinese military and that it was “reviewing the potential consequences of this to develop a fuller understanding of its impact on the [company]”.
China’s foreign ministry said on Friday the US was abusing its state power, adding that it would “take necessary measures to protect the legitimate interests of Chinese companies”.
Analysts say the case against Xiaomi is thin and could be reversed under the incoming Biden administration.
“Although it won’t be Biden’s priority to undo each and every one of Trump’s outgoing moves, the Xiaomi investment ban’s deadlines could be postponed — most likely for a few weeks at first, then possibly more durably,” said Andrew Bishop, head of research at policy risk consultancy Signum Global.
CK Lu, an analyst at research firm Gartner, said the investment ban would not affect Xiaomi’s products or supply chain but could hit its ability to raise capital if US shareholders could not buy its shares.
Nian Liu contributed reporting from Beijing.
Couche-Tard Plans $3.6 Billion Investment in Target Carrefour – BNN
(Bloomberg) — Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. plans to pump 3 billion euros ($3.6 billion) into Carrefour SA as the Canadian convenience-store operator seeks to defuse mounting French political concerns over the proposed $20 billion takeover of the French retailer.
Couche-Tard plans to spend that amount over five years, prioritizing investment over cost cuts or job reductions, according to a person familiar with the situation who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.
Carrefour shares fell as much as 5.2% after French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Friday that he was prepared to give a “clear and definitive no” to the deal. He previously cited concerns about a French supermarket chain falling into foreign hands, saying the country needs to maintain domestic control over its food supply.
Bloomberg reported Thursday that the finance ministry is ready to study the proposal once the Canadians officially present it, citing people familiar with the matter who didn’t want to be identified. They said President Emmanuel Macron’s administration plans to take as long as needed to assess its impact on jobs and the sector.
Carrefour employs around 100,000 people in France and is the country’s largest private employer. The company has been implementing a turnaround plan under Chief Executive Officer Alexandre Bompard that involves investments in online shopping and organic food. Analysts point to the absence of geographical overlap between the companies.
The investment plan was reported first by Les Echos, which is owned by Bernard Arnault’s LVMH. Arnault also controls a 5.5% stake in Carrefour.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
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