Privatization chief elected
The government on Monday appointed its third chief of privatization in a less than a year as it struggled to speed up delayed state asset sales to meet bailout goals. Stelios Stavridis, who heads EYDAP, the nation’s main water provider, was brought in to spearhead a lagging push to raise 2.6 billion euros (US$3.5 billion) in asset sales this year. The last privatization head resigned on Saturday amid an investigation into his previous position as head of public utility PPC.
Inflation at two-year low
Inflation in Europe’s biggest economy slowed to its lowest level in more than two years last month, official data showed yesterday. The cost of living in the country increased by 1.5 percent on a 12-month basis this month, down from 1.7 percent in January, data from federal statistics office Destatis showed. On a monthly basis, the consumer price index rose by 0.6 percent last month from January.
Output beats forecasts
The nation’s industrial output grew by a better-than-expected 2.4 percent in January from a year earlier, data showed yesterday. The rise in January output at factories, mines and utilities beat analysts’ expectations of a 1 percent increase compiled by a Dow Jones Newswires poll, after a surprise 0.6 percent drop in December last year.
UK probes scam on HP
Hewlett-Packard Co (HP) says British authorities have opened an investigation into allegations that the company was duped when it bought business software maker Autonomy. The inquiry disclosed in a Monday regulatory filing is the latest legal fallout from a deal that has saddled HP with massive losses and depressed its stock price. HP bought UK-based Autonomy for about US$10 billion in 2011 and last year wrote off US$8.8 billion of that amount.
Largest biogas plant opens
Finland inaugurated the world’s largest biogas plant on Monday as the country seeks to limit its use of foreign coal. Built near a coal-fired power plant in Vaasa, central Finland, the 140-megawatt biomass gasification factory is expected to cut coal use by up to 40 percent. Fueled mainly with wood residue from Finland’s forestry sector, the plant is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 230,000 tonnes a year while providing heat and electricity for Vaasa.
Dassault CEO mulls tax exile
Bernard Charles, chief executive of the French high-tech group Dassault Systemes, is mulling leaving his native France for tax reasons, a center-left daily newspaper said on Monday. In an interview published in Le Monde, Charles said that although the thought of going into tax exile was maturing and he was considering it “in all its aspects,” he had not made a decision yet. “My concern is the heavy taxing on capital, stock options and free shares,” he was quoted by the paper as saying.
FOOD & BEVERAGE
Yum Brands gets boost
KFC parent Yum Brands Inc reported an unexpected 2 percent rise in sales last month at its restaurants in China, boosted by the Lunar New Year holiday and easing worries about a food safety scare that drove away customers. Yum on Monday said first-quarter restaurant sales in China fell 20 percent, below its 25 percent forecast.