Votorantim plans IPO
Brazil’s top cement producer plans to raise up to US$5.4 billion in an initial public offering (IPO) there and in the US, official documents filed with US market regulators this week show. Sao Paulo-based Votorantim Cimentos filed documents on Wednesday for what would be the biggest IPO this year with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, a government agency tasked with regulating the US markets and securities. The shares are to be listed on Sao Paulo’s Bovespa bourse and in American Depositary Receipt — one common share and two preferred shares — on the New York stock exchange. The economic daily Valor meanwhile Friday quoted market sources as saying Votorantim might use the IPO proceeds to buy Spain’s Cementos Balboa, which is part of Alfonso Gallardo group.
Lexus to be built in US
Toyota Motor Corp plans to assemble the Lexus ES 350 sedan at its Kentucky plant in 2015, marking the first time the Japanese automaker has built a vehicle from its luxury lineup in the US. Toyota said on Friday it would invest US$360 million at the Georgetown factory, which makes the Toyota Camry and other models. The move will create 750 new jobs and boost the plant’s production capacity by 10 percent to 550,000 vehicles. Expanding US production fits in with Toyota’s strategy to make cars in the markets where its customers live. The move also counters the effect of the strong yen, which has made exporting from Japan expensive.
Senate passes telecoms bill
A major bill to shake up competition in the telephone and TV markets, dominated by Carlos Slim and broadcaster Televisa, was approved by the Senate on Friday with changes that could affect the broader regulatory landscape. The bill encourages more foreign investment in the telecommunications sector and gives regulators the power to stop companies from controlling more than 50 percent of the market, a measure aimed directly at Slim and Televisa. Slim’s telephone company, America Movil, controls about 80 percent of the fixed line business and about 70 percent of the mobile market. Televisa has more than 60 percent of the TV market. Still, if companies are declared dominant by the competition regulator, forced asset sales will not be automatic. Seeking to accelerate change, the reform states telephone and TV companies will no longer be able to suspend decisions by the regulator on appeal.
Deficit revised to 4%
The statistics office revised upward on Friday the troubled eurozone country’s public deficit for last year to 4 percent of economic output, from a preliminary estimate of 3.7 percent. The change was due to lower-than-expected corporate tax income, the statistics office said, adding that this year’s forecast remained at 4.2 percent of GDP. Two-million-strong Slovenia, once a model EU newcomer, is seen as the next in line for a possible bailout due to major problems with its banks and a recession. The European Commission has estimated Slovenia’s public deficit last year was 4.4 percent of GDP and predicted a 5.1 percent shortfall for this year. Eurozone countries are obliged to keep their public deficits below 3 percent of GDP.