Julius Baer makes purchase
Swiss private banking group Julius Baer said yesterday it will acquire Merrill Lynch’s International Wealth Management business outside the US from Bank of America for about 860 million Swiss francs (US$879 million). The acquisition, subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals, is expected to add up to SF72 billion to assets under management over the next two years, the bank said in a statement. Chairman Daniel Sauter said the transaction will add substantial scale to the bank’s business in Europe and in key growth markets in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
BP sells off gas plants
Oil company BP is selling two gas processing plants in Texas to Eagle Rock Energy Partners. BP yesterday said that Eagle Rock Energy Partners is paying US$227.5 million in cash for the Sunray and Hemphill gas processing plants which have a combined capacity of 220 million cubic feet of gas per day and a gathering system of about 4,000km of pipelines. Houston-based Eagle Rock Partners says the deal includes a 20-year agreement to process BP’s natural gas production from the existing wells connected to the two plants.
E.ON declares huge profits
E.ON, Germany’s biggest power supplier, said yesterday its net profit more than trebled in the first six months of the year after it struck a price deal with Russian gas giant Gazprom. Confirming a preliminary estimate released last week, E.ON said that its underlying net income for the January-June period rose to “roughly 3.3 billion euros” (US$4.1 billion) from 0.9 billion euros a year earlier. Operating profit, as measured by earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, soared 55.8 percent to 6.7 billion euros on a 23 percent rise in sales to 65.4 billion euros.
Qantas probes jet problem
Australian carrier Qantas Airways said yesterday it was investigating after an Airbus jet carrying 254 passengers suffered an engine problem over the West Australian city of Perth. In the incident late on Sunday, the twin-engined A330, which had flown from Sydney, experienced “an engine control system fault,” the airline said. “Engineers are currently investigating the cause,” a spokeswoman for the airline said, adding that the flight landed safely and without incident. The spokeswoman was unable to confirm reports that the flight lost some power to one engine and was reduced to “idle power” at 914.m saying this would form part of the investigation.
New bourse product launch
Hanoi Stock Exchange will offer Treasury-bill trading for the first time from next week as the country seeks to establish a yield curve to reflect interest-rate expectations. Trading in the bills will start on Aug. 24 and help create a “more standard yield curve,” Tran Van Dung, general director of the bourse, said in an interview in Hanoi on Friday. “Apart from commercial banks, more investors such as securities firms or financial companies can participate.” Currently, T-bills are auctioned by the country’s central bank and used as a monetary-policy tool. The State Bank of Vietnam has cut its refinancing, discount and repurchase rates by 500 basis points, or 5 percentage points, this year to spur the economy as inflation eased from 17.27 percent in January to 5.35 percent last month.