GSK bids for stake
Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) yesterday announced a US$940-million bid to sharply increase its stake in its Indian consumer products unit, sending shares of the local company to a record high. GlaxoSmithKline’s offer for an additional 31.8 percent of GSK Consumer Healthcare is part of a push by Britain’s biggest drugmaker to enlarge its presence in developing markets in the face of tough conditions in Europe. GlaxoSmithKline said in a statement it was offering 52.2 billion rupees (US$940 million) to raise its holding in GSK Consumer Healthcare, which is involved in research as well as the manufacturing of nutritional products like Horlicks.
UBS fined over fraud
Britain’s financial regulator said yesterday it had fined Swiss bank UBS ￡29.7 million (US$47.6 million) for failings that allowed Kweku Adoboli to commit the nation’s biggest fraud. Adoboli, 32, was jailed last week for seven years after gambling away US$2.3 billion of the lender’s money. A jury in London found the Ghanaian-born banker guilty of two counts of fraud, though it cleared him of four charges of false accounting. Swiss regulators also moved fast yesterday to punish UBS for failing to stop Adoboli from committing fraud. The regulator blocked UBS from making takeovers.
ING repays bailout costs
ING Groep NV said it has repaid the Dutch government 1.125 billion euros (US$1.46 billion) arising from its 2008 bailout. The payment was 750 million euros in principle and 375 million euros in interest. ING still owes a final 1.2 billion euros — plus interest — from its 10 billion euros bailout. ING said its core Tier 1 ratio — an important measure of solvency for banks — has fallen by about 0.75 percent to 11.8 percent as a result of the repayment.
Firm’s rating downgraded
Fitch yesterday downgraded Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp, the world’s second-biggest steelmaker, citing a global industry downturn and the firm’s weak financial position. Fitch said it cut the steelmaker’s rating by one notch to “BBB” with a negative outlook, meaning another downgrade could follow. The firm, created through the recent merger of Japan’s Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal, posted a US$3.9 billion combined net loss in its fiscal first half to September. The whopping shortfall was largely due to stock investment losses and the writedown of money-losing mills, it said.
Economic outlook weakens
Industrial output fell for a third month last month as manufacturers produced fewer electronics and pharmaceuticals, weakening the economic outlook. Manufacturing declined 2.1 percent from a year earlier after a revised 2.8 percent drop in September, the Economic Development Board said in a report yesterday. The median of 14 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was for a 0.7 percent fall.
Exports climbed at the fastest pace in more than a year last month, as the economy recovered from last year’s floods and global demand improved. Overseas sales rose 15.6 percent last month from a year earlier to US$19.5 billion after climbing a previously reported 0.2 percent in September, the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement yesterday.