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Virgin Australia reported on Friday that its first-half profits dropped by 48 percent, and said it would delay the delivery of new Boeing 737MAX aircraft following the drop in airfares because of tough conditions in the domestic aviation market.

The airline posted an underlying profit before tax of A$42.3 million ($32.55 million) for the 6 months ended December 31, versus the A$81.5 million it reported in the same period a year ago.

On a statutory basis, including restructuring charges associated with a cost-savings programme, it reported a loss of A$A21.5 million, compared with a A$62.5 million profit in the previous year.

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2018.04.23 03:26:00 UTC+00

Tencent Music Prepares for Massive IPO

China's biggest music-streaming firm, Tencent Music Entertainment Group, is gearing up for what would be the largest technology initial public offerings after the successful market debut of its European counterpart, Spotify Technology SA.

The digital-music unit of China's internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. is planning to scout potential underwriting banks over the course of next month, people privy to the matter said.

The IPO, which could be launched in the second half of the year, would one of the biggest deals of the year and is anticipated to raise billions in proceeds, according to sources. Tencent Music is anticipated to list in the U.S. stock markets, but it is unlikely to finalize its decision on a venue for several months, some of the people familiar to the proceedings said.

The offering could value the business at over $25 billion, sources stated. This was the firm's declared value in recent private transactions, according to a Wall Street Journal report last month. The figures are a sharp jump from its $12.5 billion valuation last last year when Spotify acquired a 9 percent stake in the firm under a share swap.

If investors designate the said figures in its IPO pricing, it would be the fourth-biggest U.S.-listed tech IPO on record, gauged by valuation at the time of the IPO, Dealogic said.

But there is still no guarantee that the firm will push on with a share offering in New York or in other location, and pre-IPO valuations could change until a firm sets a price on its shares.

Investors are anticipating Tencent Music's OPO due to its connection to Tencent Holdings, which has a stake of over 50 percent in Tencent Music, as well as its dominant position in the marketplace.

Morale among Japanese manufacturers worsened for a third consecutive month in April to a level unseen since early last year, the Reuters Tankan poll showed, as rises in the yen and crude oil prices threaten to support corporate profits.

The monthly poll, which tracks the Bank of Japan's (BOJ) closely watched tankan quarterly survey, found manufacturers' confidence was expected to improve a little over the next three months, although fears of a global trade war dim the outlook.

Trade tensions could hit Japan's export-reliant economy hard which could lead to financial market turmoil that would cause an unwelcome spike in the safe-haven yen.

In the Reuters poll of 542 large- and mid-sized companies, in which 253 firms responded on condition of anonymity, many complained about a profit squeeze caused by the strong yen and rising raw materials costs.

The Reuters Tankan sentiment index for manufacturers was at 21, down seven points from the previous month, weighed down by industries such as oil refiners, makers of chemicals, and exporters of cars and electric machinery.

The survey conducted over April 4-17 found the index was expected to improve to 23 in July.

The service-sector index increased to 36, up one point from March and matching a record high last seen in June 2015, led by retailers, suggesting a pick-up in private consumption that makes up about 60 percent of the economy.

The index is expected to fall slightly to 35 in July.

U.S. homebuilding grew in March amid a rebound in the construction of multi-family housing units. Separate data showed a strong rise in industrial production in the same month as cold weather raised utilities output and production at mines soared.

The reports highlight the economy's underlying strength even though growth in the first quarter is expected to have slowed after three consecutive quarters of brisk expansion.

According to data from the Commerce Department, housing starts increased 1.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.319 million units. Data for February was revised up to show a 1.295 million-unit pace instead of the previously reported 1.236 million units. Permits for future homebuilding rose 2.5 percent to a rate of 1.354 million units in March.

Demand for housing is being driven by a robust labor market, which is supporting the economy. Single-family home construction fell in the Northeast, South and West, but rose in the Midwest.

In a separate report, the Federal Reserve said industrial production grew 0.5 percent in March after jumping 1.0 percent in February.

It was boosted by a 3.0 percent surge in utilities production and a 1.0 percent increase in output at mines. Manufacturing production, however, rose only 0.1 percent after soaring 1.5 percent in February.

U.S. financial markets were little moved by the data. The dollar climbed against a basket of currencies, while U.S. Treasury prices fell marginally.