More investment needed
Agricultural investment in developing countries will need to be “substantially increased” to meet the food demand of 9 billion people in 2050, farm ministers gathered in Berlin said on Saturday. Average annual net investment in agriculture in those countries will have to be at least US$83 billion, according to estimates by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the ministers said in a statement. Non-food use of crops can affect food security, they said. Biofuel production from agricultural commodities has contributed to surging world food prices in the past decade, Nestle SA chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe told the conference. Blaming the tripling of the price of some food products on speculation is “completely wrong,” and politicians have failed to consider the link with energy markets, he said.
Hyundai wins new order
Hyundai Heavy Industries yesterday said it has won a US$1.1 billion order from Norway’s Statoil ASA to install a topside facility on a spar hull being built by the South Korean company. It said it would build the 21,000-tonne topside facility, capable of producing 23 million cubic meters of oil and gas a day, by March 2016. Hyundai has already won an US$800 million order from Statoil to build the spar hull about 300km off the northwest coast of Norway. The company said the cylindrical, partially submerged offshore facility would be able to store 160,000 barrels of gas condensate when it is completed in the second half of 2015.
Firms planning joint venture
Swiss luxury goods group Richemont and the world’s largest jewelry chain, Hong Kong-based Chow Tai Fook (周大福珠寶), have agreed to create a joint venture, Swiss daily Le Temps reported in its online edition late on Saturday. Citing a source inside Richemont, the newspaper said that the two luxury brands would each control 50 percent of the new company, which would distribute watches made by Richemont luxury watchmaking brand Baume & Mercier in China. It will be tasked with boosting the Geneva brand’s sales in China, the world’s second-largest market for luxury goods, Le Temps reported. Chow Tai Fook views the deal as a way to accelerate its watch distribution business, according to the report. The Hong Kong company already distributes a long line of Swiss brands, several of them owned by Richemont. No financial details of the deal were revealed.
ITC backs wind tower duties
The US International Trade Commission (ITC) on Friday narrowly approved punitive duties for five years on hundreds of millions of US dollars of wind towers from China and Vietnam. The commission voted 3-3 that US producers were either materially injured or threatened with material injury by unfairly priced and subsidized imports from the two countries. A tie vote goes to the petitioner in US anti-dumping and countervailing duty cases. The US imported US$222 million of wind towers from China last year and about US$79 million from Vietnam. US producers have complained that unfair Asian competition was forcing them to close plants and shed jobs. The vote clears the way for the US Department of Commerce to issue anti-dumping and countervailing duty orders on the wind towers.