Asahi makes big purchase
Japan’s Asahi Group Holdings announced in Tokyo it had decided to buy Independent Liquor of New Zealand for about ￥100 billion (US$1.3 billion) as it expands in Asia and Oceania, a report said yesterday. Asahi, known for its popular “Super Dry” beer, will soon announce the deal, which will be its biggest acquisition, the Nikkei Shimbun said. Asahi already has a foothold in the Australian soft drinks market through Schweppes Australia. Asahi said last month it had entered into a binding share purchase agreement to buy 100 percent of the shares of mineral water and juice maker P&N Beverages Australia, the third-largest soft drinks company by volume in Australia.
Addax to sell petroleum unit
Swiss commodities trader Addax & Oryx is looking to sell its petroleum and gas trading and distribution business, Swiss newspaper Le Matin Dimanche reported yesterday. The Geneva-based firm is “looking for a buyer or a partner interested in taking over and developing in the long-term the group’s unique trading platform, storage and distribution of petroleum and gas in Africa,” Karen Saddler, spokeswoman for group, told the newspaper. The group posted revenues of about US$7 billion last year and employs 800 people in 20 countries, Le Matin Dimanche said. Addax in 2009 sold its petroleum exploration and production unit Addax Petroleum Corp to China’s state oil giant Sinopec (中國石化) for more than US$7 billion.
Groupon subscribers grow
Groupon Inc subscribers have more than doubled to 115 million so far this year, a person familiar with the situation said. Groupon had 50.58 million subscribers at the end of last year. That jumped 64 percent to 83.1 million at the end of the first quarter. Since then, the number of subscribers has climbed to 115 million, the person said. That means subscribers are up about 38 percent since March 31. Groupon filed plans in June for a US$750 million initial public offering that may value the company at as much as US$20 billion.
Everbright profits brighten
China Everbright Bank Co (光大銀行), the lender that delayed a Hong Kong share sale this month, said first-half profit rose 35 percent as loans and fees increased. Net income climbed to 9.2 billion yuan (US$1.4 billion) from 6.8 billion yuan a year earlier, according to a statement to the Shanghai stock exchange. Net interest income increased 33 percent to 18.9 billion yuan, while net fee and commission income jumped 49 percent to 3.8 billion yuan. The Beijing-based bank has postponed a sale in Hong Kong for a second time in less than two months because of volatile global stock markets, two people with knowledge of the matter said last week.
Verizon union to strike
Unions representing tens of thousands of Verizon Communications Inc workers have called a strike after failing to reach an agreement with the company on a new labor contract. Verizon says negotiations in Philadelphia and New York with the Communications Workers of America fell apart early yesterday. The previous contract that expired at midnight on Saturday covered 45,000 workers, including 10,000 represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.