Inflation above target range
The country’s inflation exceeded the central bank’s target and all forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey, limiting the scope for an interest-rate cut next month even as threats to growth mount. Consumer prices rose 4.2 percent from a year earlier, matching last month’s gain, Statistics Korea said yesterday in a statement. Prices rose 0.4 percent from the previous month, the biggest gain since August. An increase in electricity prices contributed to this month’s inflation. The government raised charges after the state-owned Korea Electric Power Corp reported a loss for the first nine months of the year. Core prices, which exclude energy and food costs, advanced 3.6 percent this month from a year earlier, compared with a 3.5 percent gain last month, today’s report showed.
Madrid’s Torre Picasso sold
Spanish construction firm FCC sold a landmark Madrid skyscraper to a real-estate firm owned by the owner of the Zara clothing chain for 400 million euros (US$521 million), FCC said on Thursday. The company sold the Torre Picasso to Pontegadea Inmobiliaria, which belongs to Amancia Ortega, Spain’s richest man and the founder of fashion group Inditex, which owns the popular Zara brand, FCC said in a regulatory filing. From its inauguration in 1988 until 2007, the Torre Picasso was the tallest building in the Spanish capital. Designed by Japanese architect Minoru Yamasaki, the creator of the doomed Twin Towers in New York, the 157m high building has 43 floors and a helipad.
Qatar raises Lagardere stake
Qatar Holding has raised its stake in Lagardere to more than 10 percent, making the Gulf state the largest shareholder in the struggling French media-to-aerospace conglomerate. The oil-rich emirate has been a staunch supporter of Lagardere chief executive Arnaud Lagardere even as some shareholders assailed his strategy for the company his father founded, which competes with Pearson PLC and Bertelsmann AG in radio and book publishing. Lagardere, which also is a top shareholder in Airbus parent EADS, has struggled this year as its fledgling sports business has been plagued by integration problems.
GE settles billing claim
GE Healthcare, a branch of General Electric, has paid the US government a settlement of US$30 million plus interest for improper billing by a company it bought in 2004, officials said on Thursday. The case over Amersham Health Inc concerned claims filed under the False Claims Act, according to which the company caused the Medicare program for the elderly to overpay for a drug used to diagnose heart disease. The government alleged Amersham Health provided false or misleading information to Medicare on the number of doses available from vials used in treatment, which meant Medicare paid at artificially inflated rates.
AMR shares delisted
AMR Corp, American Airlines’ parent company, which filed for bankruptcy last month, said on Thursday that its stock would be dropped from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The shares will stop trading on the NYSE before the opening bell on Thursday. The delisting includes AMR common stock and some company-issued notes. AMR said that the NYSE notified the Fort Worth, Texas, company of the move after the average closing price of AMR shares fell below US$1 for 30 straight trading days.