Ford eyes Indian growth
Ford Motor Co is aiming to expand its presence in the fast-growing auto markets of India and China with an eye toward increasing the number of vehicles it sells per year by 50 percent by the middle of the decade. A 50 percent sales increase by the middle of the decade would bring Ford’s annual vehicle sales to 8 million. Ford also said on Tuesday it would cut its debt by 15.7 percent to about US$14 billion by the end of this month, bringing it to less than half the US$33.6 billion it was carrying in 2009. Ford chief financial officer Lewis Booth said Ford planned to cut its overall debt to about US$10 billion by the middle of the decade.
Consolidation needed: IMF
Tokyo must tackle fiscal consolidation to reduce its debt burden in the long run in order to boost public confidence about the sustainability of its economy, the IMF’s acting chief John Lipsky said yesterday. The world’s third-largest economy will rebound from the damage of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in the coming year as supply networks are restored, Lipsky said. Recent data has already shown factory output is recovering, he added. The country’s public debt is already about twice the size of its US$5 trillion economy.
BYD eyes share sales
BYD Co (比亞迪), a Chinese car and battery maker backed by billionaire investor Warren Buffett, is moving ahead with a share offering meant to raise cash for a major expansion. BYD said yesterday in a notice to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that it was beginning price consultations with investors after receiving regulatory approval for the initial public offering on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. The company, which already has shares traded in Hong Kong, plans to list 79 million shares, or 3.4 percent of its enlarged capital.
Sanrio, Dutch firm end row
The Japanese company behind Hello Kitty announced on Tuesday it had agreed with the Dutch creator of bunny character Miffy to end a copyright row and instead donate legal costs of 150,000 euros (US$220,000) to victims of the March quake and tsunami. An Amsterdam court in November last year ordered Sanrio to halt production and sales of Cathy — Kitty’s rabbit friend — merchandise in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg after finding the Japanese bunny closely resembled Miffy, created by a Dutch children’s author in the 1950s.
Little to change: PRC makers
China’s wind energy turbine makers have said scrapping subsidies for the domestic sector will have little impact, even as US manufacturers hailed the move as a victory, state media reported yesterday. Beijing has stopped offering subsidies to the country’s wind power sector six months after the US lodged a complaint with the WTO, US officials said on Tuesday in Washington.
Citigroup, Axa make deal
Citigroup has agreed to sell a portfolio of private equity assets to Axa Private Equity for US$1.7 billion, the French insurer said yesterday. The portfolio comprises 207 stakes in various buyout funds as well as some direct stakes in companies, Axa said, adding that Citi — which has been looking to focus on its core businesses — was financing the purchase.