Ford to revamp plant
Ford Motor Co said on Thursday it would invest US$600 million to upgrade a Kentucky plant into the US maker’s highest-volume plant in the world. Ford said it would transform its plant in Louisville into a state-of-the-art facility that will start building the next-generation Escape sport utility vehicle (SUV) late next year. Ford said its Louisville Assembly Plant, which has been building the Ford Explorer SUV since 1989, will close during the upgrade and its production shifted to Chicago. When the plant reopens late next year, it will operate on two production shifts, instead of the current one.
Dell eyes Compellent
Dell Inc is close to acquiring data storage provider Compellent Technologies Inc for about US$876 million, the computer maker said on Thursday. Dell fell short in its effort to expand in the storage business earlier this year when it lost the bidding for 3Par Inc to rival Hewlett Packard Co, which ended up paying US$2.35 billion. Now, Dell said it has a tentative agreement to buy 3Par competitor Compellent Technologies Inc, which is based in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, for US$27.50 per share. The company cautioned that a deal may still not happen.
Borders Q3 loss doubles
Borders Group Inc said on Thursday its third-quarter loss roughly doubled as its traditional book sales continued to fall because of tough competition from online retailers and discount stores and growing challenges from electronic books. Borders reported a loss of US$74.4 million, or US$1.03 per share. That compares with a loss of US$37.7 million, or US$0.63 per share in the quarter a year earlier. Its revenue fell 18 percent, to US$470.9 million from US$571.4 million. The report comes two days after activist investor William Ackman offered to finance a Borders bid for its much larger rival, Barnes & Noble Inc. Borders CEO Mike Edwards reiterated earlier statements that he welcomes Ackman’s participation.
MasterCard seals purchase
MasterCard Worldwide is buying the prepaid cash-card business of foreign exchange group Travelex Ltd for ￡290 million (US$459 million), boosting its presence in a fast-growing financial services segment. The deal is MasterCard’s second effort this year to expand its international and emerging market business, where it has more room to compete against arch-rival Visa Inc. In October, MasterCard paid US$520 million for the British online payment services company DataCash. Prepaid cards are one of the fastest growing segments of the financial services industry. MasterCard forecast prepaid volumes would reach more than US$840 billion by 2017.
Industrial output accelerates
The country’s industrial output accelerated sharply in October, spurred by a robust manufacturing sector and higher demand during the country’s religious festival season, data showed yesterday. Output from the country’s factories, mines and utilities jumped by 10.8 percent in October from a year earlier, according to the statistics office, beating financial market expectations of an 8.5 percent rise. The data marked a strong pick-up from 4.4 percent year-on-year industrial output growth announced in September. The data came days after India’s government forecast economic growth this fiscal year to March 31 next year, could cross the 9 percent mark.