ING to sell S Korean arm
Dutch banker ING is selling its South Korean life insurance arm ING Life Korea to private equity firm MBK Partners in a deal worth 1.24 billion euros (US$1.6 billion), it said yesterday. MBk Partners is the biggest private equity business in South Korea. “This transaction is a major step in the divestment of our Asian insurance and investment management activities,” Amsterdam-based ING said in a statement. ING said the deal would allow it to retain a 10 percent stake in ING Life Korea and the company, which employs 1,000 people and serves 1.3 million clients, will continue to operate under the brand for a maximum of five more years.
Amgen to buy Onyx
Biotech drugmaker Amgen Inc will buy cancer drug maker Onyx Pharmaceuticals for about US$10.4 billion in cash in a deal that will add several cancer drugs to Amgen’s stable and add to its pipeline of new drugs. Amgen said on Sunday it will acquire Onyx for US$125 per share, and it expects to complete the deal at the beginning of the fourth quarter. The companies value the deal at US$9.7 billion excluding Onyx’s cash, and Amgen said it will use US$8.1 billion in committed bank loans to finance the deal. Amgen is the biggest biotech drug company in the world. Its products include Prolia for osteoporosis, Enbrel for rheumatoid arthritis and skin disorders, and Neulasta and Neupogen for fighting infection in cancer patients.
Dutch try to allay concerns
The Dutch government is trying to allay environmental and safety concerns about extracting the country’s shale gas reserves, saying an independent study has found that the resources can be exploited safely. Dutch Economic Affairs Minister Henk Kamp said yesterday the study by engineering group Witteveen & Bos found current safety and environmental laws were sufficient to cover any risks and test drilling is necessary to determine the potential importance of the resource for the Dutch economy. This fall, parliament will debate whether test drilling should be given the go-ahead, with the swing vote likely to be the center-left Labor Party, which has shifted its position on shale gas several times.
BYD reports soaring profits
Chinese auto and battery maker BYD Co (比亞迪) says half-year profit soared as sales in the world’s biggest car market recovered. BYD said on Sunday that profits started growing again in the January-June period after falling sharply the year before as competition among automakers intensified. US billionaire investor Warren Buffett owns about 10 percent of BYD. BYD said profit rose to 427 million yuan (US$70 million), 26 times higher than the same period a year ago as revenue climbed 13 percent to 24.2 billion yuan. Auto sales rose by 25 percent to 250,000 vehicles, faster than the rate of sales growth in the broader China auto market.
Dreamliner makes U-turn
A Dreamliner flight from Tokyo made a U-turn after its weather radar malfunctioned yesterday, its Japanese operator said. While the error is not uncommon among other plane models it is the latest glitch for the once-grounded high-tech plane after a run of more serious setbacks. All passengers got on another 787 at Haneda Airport and safely arrived in Kumamoto in the early afternoon, ANA spokesman Ryosei Nomura said. He said this kind of trouble “could happen in other models of airplane.”