S&P raises Ukraine outlook
Ratings agency Standard and Poor’s (S&P) yesterday raised its outlook for Ukraine to stable from negative, saying a multibillion dollar bailout deal from Russia should help Kiev meets its external financing needs over the next year. The outlook change means that S&P is now less likely to further downgrade its “B-/B” assessment of Ukraine’s creditworthiness on its sovereign debt, which remains deep in junk status. Russian President Vladimir Putin last week agreed after talks with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to buy US$15 billion of Ukrainian government debt and also slash the price Ukraine pays for gas by one third.
Irwin new Tower Hill CEO
Tom Irwin of Fairbanks is to become president and chief executive officer of International Tower Hill Mines as it prepares to slash jobs. Irwin is to assume his new role for the British Columbia-based global mining company on Wednesday. He spent the past two years as a company vice president, overseeing its Livengood gold project about 112km north of Fairbanks. His promotion comes as the company is cutting about 30 percent of its staff and slicing its board of directors from seven members to three. Irwin told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner that his promotion is a sign of the company’s interest in the Livengood prospect, which has a projected take of more than 8 million ounces (226.8 million grams) of gold.
Libya hopeful of strike end
Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan expressed hope on Wednesday that last-ditch mediation could end a crisis sparked by the months-long blockade of eastern oil terminals by striking security guards. “Delegations whose tribes have their own initiatives have decided to engage in mediation to find a solution to the crisis,” Zeidan told reporters. Armed protesters have refused to lift their blockade of vital oil terminals in eastern Libya, despite a tribal pledge to do so, sending output plummeting to 250,000 barrels per day from the normal level of almost 1.5 million barrels per day.
Volcker Rule challenged
The final version of the Volcker Rule was challenged in a lawsuit over claims that requiring small banks to divest their holdings in some collateralized debt obligations (CDO) will cause them about US$600 million in losses. The American Bankers Association, which represents mostly community banks, objects to a portion of the rule that will force lenders to get rid of CDOs backed by trust-preferred securities, according to the complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Washington. The association seeks a court order blocking the rule from taking effect before the end of the year.
San Miguel sees 44% rise
San Miguel Corp, the Philippines’ largest company by sales, said profit was likely to rise 44 percent this year with all units except Philippine Airlines Inc expected to contribute. Net income is likely to increase to 39 billion pesos (US$878 million) from about 27 billion pesos last year, president Ramon Ang said in a text message without elaborating. The company does not give formal earnings forecasts. The company’s projected profit represents a more than fourfold increase from 2007, as it expanded into oil, power, mining, infrastructure and airlines. Fuel and oil accounted for about 60 percent of revenue last year, compared with about 92 percent from food and drinks in 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.