Mon, Oct 06, 2014 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take



Serbia takes US$300m loan

The World Bank has approved a US$300 million 30-year loan to help Serbia recover from floods in May that killed 57 people and devastated its energy sector, the lender said in a statement on Saturday. The heaviest rainfall in living memory caused rivers to burst their banks and sweep away roads, bridges and homes, causing damage estimated at US$1.88 billion. The cost means the Serbian economy is expected to contract this year, further complicating government efforts to rein in a budget deficit seen at more than 8 percent of national output. The loan, which was approved on Friday and has a grace period of 18 years, will help meet domestic energy demand, protect farmers and assets in areas affected by flooding, and improve the Balkan country’s capacity to respond to disasters. The project will support imports of electro power worth US$150.18 million to improve power supplies and avert an energy crisis, the World Bank said it its statement.


Iran to quadruple exports

Iran is increasing steel exports and courting foreign investors in an ambitious bid to quadruple steel output in a decade and replace at least a small part of the massive revenue it loses due to sanctions on its oil sales. A developing economy heavily reliant on construction, the Islamic Republic exported an average of 1.35 million tonnes of steel in 2011 and 2012, according to a presentation by Iran’s top steelmaker, Mobarakeh Steel. By contrast it exported 1.26 million tonnes of steel during the first seven months of this year, data from the Iran Steel Producers Association showed.


JPMorgan not only victim

About nine other banks and brokerages were infiltrated by the same group of hackers who recently attacked computer systems at JPMorgan Chase & Co, the New York Times reported late on Friday, citing unnamed people briefed on the matter. The report, which could not be independently verified and did not identify any of the victims beyond JPMorgan, said it was not clear how serious the attacks had been. JPMorgan said on Thursday that names and contact information for some 83 million household and small business customers were stolen, making it one of the biggest data breaches in history. The New York Times said the breadth of the attacks and uncertainty about the motives of the hackers are troubling US policymakers and intelligence officials.


Banamex gets new CEO

After Javier Arrigunaga resigned as chief executive officer of Grupo Financiero Banamex, the most senior departure stemming from an alleged US$400 million fraud disclosed in February, he will be succeeded by Ernesto Torres Cantu, who joined the company about 25 years ago, the New York-based Citigroup Inc said on Friday in a statement. Torres, 50, will also take Arrigunaga’s place on Citigroup’s operating committee, according to a person briefed on the matter who asked not to identified speaking on personnel matters. Both are based in Mexico City. Citigroup is investigating the alleged fraud, which involved loans to oil-services provider Oceanografia SA. Chief executive officer Michael Corbat has pledged to hold employees accountable and the bank has dismissed at least a dozen so far. A judge has ordered the company to turn over internal records to an Oklahoma pension fund that is suing the bank over the case.

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