S. Korea’s rating upgraded
Ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service yesterday upgraded South Korea’s sovereign credit rating, citing strong fiscal fundamentals and resilience to external economic shocks. Moody’s lifted South Korea’s government bond rating by one notch to “Aa3” from “A1,” saying its balance sheet has been relatively unscathed by the global slowdown and the eurozone financial crisis. “Strong fiscal fundamentals enable a relatively large degree of policy space to cope with contingent domestic risks and external shocks,” the agency said.
Sundance shares boosted
Shares in Australia-based iron ore miner Sundance Resources Ltd jumped 7.5 percent yesterday after its board accepted a reduced takeover offer from China’s Hanlong Mining Investment Ltd (漢龍礦業). Sundance yesterday said it accepted a fresh A$1.37 billion (US$1.42 billion) offer, after Hanlong reduced its original offer by about one-fifth. Hanlong sliced its offer from A$0.57 a share to A$0.45 after Chinese regulators ordered the move following a fall in iron ore prices.
Firm cuts production
Russian aluminum giant Rusal yesterday said it would cut production after seeing its net profit fall 95.25 percent in the first six months of the year, hit by falling prices and rising costs. The Hong Kong-listed company said net profit for the six months ending June 30 was US$37 million, from US$779 million a year earlier. Revenue fell 9.66 percent to US$5.71 billion. The world’s biggest aluminum producer said it expects to cut up to 150,000 tonnes of production capacity by the end of the year to improve efficiency.
Hertz buys up competitor
US car rental giant Hertz will acquire its former competitor Dollar Thrifty for US$2.3 billion, the two companies announced yesterday. In a joint statement, the two companies said their boards of directors had unanimously approved the transaction. They said the combination of Hertz and Dollar Thrifty will create “a global, multi-brand rental car leader offering customers a full range of rental options through its strong premium and value brands.” According to the announcement, Hertz will pay Dollar Thrifty shareholders US$87.50 per share in cash.
Business confidence drops
Business confidence in Germany dropped again this month, as companies grow increasingly pessimistic about the fallout from the long-running eurozone debt crisis, data showed yesterday. The Ifo economic institute’s closely watched business climate index dropped to 102.3 points this month from 103.2 points last month, a slightly steeper decline than analysts had been expecting.
Swedish sales increase
Swedish retail sales growth picked up more than estimated last month as consumers help propel an expansion in the largest Nordic economy. Sales rose an annual 2.4 percent last month from a revised 1 percent the previous month, Stockholm-based Statistics Sweden said yesterday. Retail sales rose a monthly 0.3 percent. The government last week forecast the economy would grow 1.6 percent this year and 2.7 percent next year, while unemployment will fall to an average 7.5 percent next year.