Total, Sinopec in venture
French energy giant Total SA has reached an agreement with China’s Sinopec on a joint venture for shale gas and refining, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. The US daily also quoted Total’s chief executive, Christophe de Margerie, as saying that Chinese authorities now own a stake of 2 percent in the French company. It said Total reached a pact with China Petrochemical Corp (中國石化), or Sinopec, to search for and produce shale gas, a potentially lucrative market tapping natural gas trapped in rock formations. Total is also in talks for the right to market fuel and petrochemicals in China produced by a planned refinery complex in the country’s south, de Margerie was quoted as saying.
Portugal is next at risk
The head of bond investor PIMCO said in an interview that heavily-indebted Portugal is at risk of following Greece’s downhill path. German news magazine Der Spiegel quoted Mohamed El-Erian, CEO of the giant bond mutual fund company, as saying that Portugal is likely to need a second bailout package which will cast further doubt on the country’s solvency. El-Erian told Der Spiegel in the interview published on Sunday that Portugal will come under increased scrutiny and “financial markets will be nervous because they are worried about a participation of the private sector.”
Tax to slash India’s imports
Gold imports by India, the world’s biggest bullion buyer, will fall 35 percent this year after the government increased taxes, Prithviraj Kothari, president of the Bombay Bullion Association said yesterday in a phone interview. India last year imported a record 969 tonnes of bullion, according to the World Gold Council. Retail gold prices in the country will rise 6.3 percent after the levy changes, Kothari said.
India, Africa eye huge boost
Indian and African leaders on Sunday agreed to sharply increase bilateral trade to US$90 billion by 2015 as the two sides discussed potential deals. The South Asian country is aiming to boost its trade and diplomatic ties with Africa where China has already made major inroads by striking multiple deals, building infrastructure projects and offering soft loans. The goal of achieving US$90 billion in trade between India and Africa in three years “is a significant improvement, considering the fact that a decade ago the trade was US$3 billion,” Indian Commerce Secretary Anand Sharma said.
Rusal suffers big profit drop
The world’s biggest aluminum producer Rusal yesterday reported a 91.7 percent drop in net profit last year as it wrestles with a management dispute among its Russian shareholders. The Moscow-based firm attributed the drop in profit to US$237 million (189 million euros) to a write-down of its holding in the Norilsk Nickel miner and a steep drop in aluminum prices last year. The company posted a net loss of US$974 million for the fourth quarter of last year, compared with a net profit of US$1.45 billion the previous year.
Visa Equity to buy Misys
British financial services software firm Misys said yesterday it has agreed to a US$2.01 billion takeover by private equity group Vista Equity Partners. The deal comes after the London-listed firm scrapped merger talks with Swiss rival Temonos last week.