Sat, Mar 05, 2011 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

MINING

Rusal refuses to sell stake

United Co Rusal rejected OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel’s offer to buy a US$12.8 billion stake it holds in the Russian nickel mining company, saying it wouldn’t be in the best interests of its shareholders. The board “approved the committee’s recommendation to reject the proposal to sell the company’s 20 percent stake,” Rusal said in a statement. Billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who owns 47 percent of Rusal, has rejected three offers since October to sell out of Norilsk, the world’s largest nickel producer, even as Rusal investors Mikhail Prokhorov and Viktor Vekselberg push for a sale.

FOOD

Bright Food promotes bid

China’s Bright Food Group (光明食品) has said a tie-up with France’s Yoplait would bring expansion opportunities in the massive Chinese market, as it promotes a bid for a stake in the French company. Switzerland’s Nestle and General Mills of the US are also among those interested in buying a 50 percent stake in Yoplait, which is owned by private equity firm PAI Partners, a person familiar with the situation said last month. Last year, the Chinese company failed in a bid for the sugar and biofuels unit of Australia’s CSR. It also reportedly abruptly ended acquisition discussions with US nutritional product retailer GNC and Britain’s United Biscuits.

BANKING

Goldman CEO may testify

Goldman Sachs Group Inc chief executive Lloyd Blankfein has agreed to testify for the prosecution at Galleon Group LLC co-founder Raj Rajaratnam’s insider-trading trial set to begin next week, according to a person briefed on the matter. Blankfein, 56, may end up not testifying because prosecutors often line up potential witnesses before a trial who are not called to testify, the person said. Rajaratnam is accused of earning US$45 million in illicit profits from information leaked by corporate insiders, hedge fund traders and others. He denies wrongdoing and said his trades were based on Galleon research.

ADVERTISING

WPP posts strong results

A rebound in the US advertising market allowed WPP, the world’s largest ad group, to follow its peers and post strong full-year results yesterday and a solid outlook for this year. WPP, whose ad agencies include JWT and Ogilvy & Mather, posted fourth-quarter organic revenue growth of 8.5 percent and said the solid performance had continued into January, with revenue up more than 8 percent. The strong finish to the year helped WPP to post a full-year figure of 5.3 percent, with both the fourth quarter and full-year figures ahead of forecasts. This year, it expects the key industry metric of like-for-like growth of 5 percent and operating margins to rise 0.5 margin points to 13.7 percent.

AVIATION

Bombardier, ICBC seal deal

Canada’s Bombardier, the third-largest aircraft maker in the world behind Airbus and Boeing, says it has secured an US$8 billion financing deal from a Chinese leasing firm. Under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by the two firms, ICBC Leasing will provide customers of Bombardier with advance payment financing, delivery financing and leasing solutions for some commercial and business jets. “This MOU provides mutual benefits to Bombardier and ICBC Leasing, since it addresses both parties’ objectives of providing optimized aircraft solutions to operators in China and elsewhere,” Bombardier Aerospace president Guy Hachey said in a statement on Thursday.

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