Public spending capped
Slovenia’s parliament on Friday imposed a cap on public spending in an attempt to convince foreign investors that the small eurozone country will not need an international bailout. The 78-8 vote in the assembly approving the new measure means Slovenia’s constitution will be changed to require that the government’s budget be balanced — that is, it will not be allowed to spend more than it earns in taxes. The budget should be balanced by 2015, as demanded by the EU. Slovenia’s public debt is set to surge to 71 percent of annual GDP next year, up from 54 percent last year.
Air China orders 100 jets
Air China (中國國際航空) said on Friday it had ordered 100 Airbus A320 series medium-range single-aisle passenger jets, which carry a catalogue price of US$8.8 billion. Air China said in a statement it would acquire 60 of the aircraft for itself and 40 would be bought by its subsidiary, Shenzhen Airlines. “The transaction will expand the overall fleet capacity of the group and optimize the fleet structure,” Air China said in a notification to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, saying it would add nearly 16 percent to capacity
Netflix woos new clients
Netflix is hoping this weekend’s release of the resurrected TV series Arrested Development will draw more subscribers to its Internet video service. The award-winning show about the dysfunctional Bluth family returns today, seven years after Fox canceled the series. The revival coincides with Netflix’s own resounding comeback from a customer backlash over price increases and shareholders’ worries about rising expenses. Netflix is winning back subscribers and investors with a bold attempt to establish its US$8-per-month service as a home entertainment powerhouse that rivals the broadcast TV networks and premium cable channels such as HBO.
Valeant eyes deal
Canadian pharmaceutical company Valeant is close to a deal to acquire US eye-health company Bausch & Lomb for about US$9 billion, a person familiar with the matter said on Friday. A deal could come as soon as next week, the person said. Unless the deal falls apart, the transaction will replace a plan launched in March for Bausch & Lomb to undertake an initial public offering. The takeover talks were first reported on Friday by the Wall Street Journal.
Bankia to sell City National
Spain’s bailed-out lender Bankia on Friday announced it would sell City National Bank of Florida to Chile’s BCI for about 683 million euros (US$883 million). The bank said in a statement it had “made provisions in late 2010 to cover losses” of City National, meaning it “hopes for a net capital gain of around 180 million euros” from the sale to Banco de Credito e Inversiones. The sale of Bankia’s US subsidiary, brokered by Goldman Sachs and Sullivan&Cromwell, will result in 435 job losses, the statement said. The move is part of the “commitments under the plan to restructure the BFA-Bankia group approved by the Spanish and European authorities in November 2012,” it added.