JAL sets IPO pricing
Japan Airlines Co (JAL) is raising ￥663 billion (US$8.5 billion) in its initial public offering (IPO), pricing its shares at the top of its range at ￥3,790 — the world’s second-biggest IPO this year after Facebook. The carrier, which went bankrupt in 2010, will be nearly doubling the money the government-backed bailout body pumped in. It announced the pricing yesterday, the highest in a range that started from ￥3,500, underlining healthy demand for the shares. The 175 million issues are set to be listed and traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Sept. 19.
S Korean unit cutting jobs
The struggling South Korean unit of French auto giant Renault yesterday said it had managed to reduce its workforce by 15 percent through a voluntary retirement scheme aimed at cutting costs. Renault Samsung Motors said about 800 of its 5,500 employees would leave the company by Friday after receiving compensation of up to two years of salary depending on their years of service. Employees who took up the offer will also have their children’s school fees paid for two years, along with other benefits.
Economy set to contract
The economy is set to contract by 0.1 percent in the third quarter, the central bank confirmed yesterday, in a forecast of further trouble for the eurozone’s second-biggest economy. If confirmed, it would be the first contraction since the nation came out of recession in 2009 and follows zero growth for the past three quarters. If followed by another negative quarter it would signal the economy has entered a recession, which is commonly defined by economists as two consecutive quarters of contracting activity. The government has forecast 0.3 percent growth for the year.
US sets AIG’s IPO
The US Treasury Department announced on Sunday that it has launched a public offering of US$18 billion of its common stock in AIG, the giant insurer bailed out by the US government. The Treasury will also grant a 30-day option to the offering’s underwriters to purchase up to an additional US$2.7 billion of AIG common stock to cover any over-allotments. AIG intends to buy up to US$5 billion of common stock that Treasury sells at the IPO price in the sale, the Treasury said in a statement.
Infosys buying Lodestone
Indian IT outsourcing giant Infosys yesterday said it had agreed to buy Zurich-based consulting firm Lodestone for 330 million Swiss francs (US$350 million). The takeover will boost Infosys’ presence in continental Europe and emerging markets like Latin America and Asia Pacific, the Bangalore-based group said in a statement. Lodestone will add more than 200 clients across industries including manufacturing and the car sector to Infosys’ clientbase of 700 companies, it added.
Gold Fields workers strike
A third of the South African workforce of world No. 4 bullion producer Gold Fields have downed tools in an illegal strike, the company said yesterday, the latest labor stoppage to hit the mining sector in Africa’s largest economy. The wildcat strike action came as South African police readied for possible violence over yesterday’s back-to-work deadline for striking workers at Lonmin’s Marikana platinum mine.