Finance chief sworn in
Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras was yesterday sworn into office, along with two deputy ministers. Stournaras’ televised oath-taking ceremony at the presidential mansion in Athens was the first time Prime Minister Antonis Samaras appeared in public since undergoing eye surgery nearly two weeks ago, shortly after forming a coalition government with another two parties following inconclusive national elections. Stournaras, a prominent economist, was to hold his first meeting yesterday with Greece’s international debt inspectors from the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the IMF.
Volvo to sell Aero to GKN
Swedish truck maker AB Volvo yesterday said it would sell its aeronautics unit Aero to British engineering group GKN for 6.9 billion kronor (US$995 million) in a move to focus more on its core heavy vehicle operations. The company said the deal would be completed this quarter and was expected to generate a capital gain of about 400 million kronor. Volvo said GKN won a bidding process to acquire the unit, adding that it offered the best conditions for Volvo Aero’s development and future.
GM posts record PRC sales
US auto giant General Motors (GM) yesterday said that sales in China for the first half of this year reached a record 1.42 million vehicles, despite an economic slowdown in the world’s biggest car market. GM’s sales in the country jumped 11.3 percent in the first six months from a year earlier, it said in a statement. For last month alone, its China sales rose 10.1 percent year-on-year to 213,495 vehicles, also setting a new record for the month, GM said.
Cancer drug disappoints
German pharmaceuticals maker Merck KGaA yesterday said that phase III clinical trials of its gastric cancer drug Erbitux had shown no benefits for patients. The trials found that in combination with standard chemotherapy, Erbitux did not extend “the length of time that patients live without their disease getting worse,” Merck KGaA said in a statement.
Manila lauds S&P upgrade
The Philippines said a credit rating upgrade by Standard & Poor’s (S&P) would help the country carry out reforms without weakening its financial position. The agency on Wednesday raised the Philippines’ long-term foreign currency credit rating to “BB+” from “BB,” one notch below investment grade. It kept the rating outlook at stable. Presidential spokesman Ricky Carandang said that while some other countries are being forced to tighten belts to get high debt under control, the Philippines can still afford to undertake public spending without jeopardizing its overall financial position.
Temasek’s profit drops
Singapore state investment company Temasek Holdings said growth in the value of its investments slowed in the last fiscal year as a weakening global economy undermined the value of Asian companies. Temasek said in its annual report yesterday that the value of its investments rose 2.6 percent to S$198 billion (US$157 billion) in the fiscal year ended March 31. The portfolio rose 3.8 percent in the previous year. Temasek said its net profit fell to S$11 billion from S$13 billion the previous year amid lower earnings from the companies it has stakes in.