Wed, Dec 03, 2014 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take



Wal-Mart cuts China jobs

Wal-Mart Stores Inc plans to cut 250 jobs in China to improve efficiency. The reductions are set to mostly come from merchandising and marketing divisions, after buying functions were consolidated into the Shenzhen headquarters to improve quality and food safety, Ray Bracy, a spokesman for Wal-Mart in China said by telephone yesterday. The company would also cut some jobs in departments including tax and asset protection, he said. Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart is working to raise food safety standards in China after fox DNA was found in meat it was selling as donkey. The job cuts disclosed yesterday affect low and mid-level workers and follow dismissals of about 30 senior executives last month in China amid an Asia revamp that includes store closures in Japan and management changes in India. Separately, Wal-Mart said it plans to open nine new stores and a new distribution center in China this month, bringing new facilities this year to 31.


Microsoft buys Accompli

Microsoft Corp on Monday said it was buying the mobile e-mail management application Accompli, in a deal reported to be worth more than US$200 million. The deal gives Microsoft a startup to better help people manage their mail on handsets using Google Android or Apple iOS operating systems. “In a world where more than half of e-mail messages are first read on a mobile device, it’s essential to give people fantastic e-mail experiences wherever they go,” Microsoft vice president Rajesh Jha said in a blog post.


GIC to acquire IndCor

Singapore’s GIC Pte has agreed to buy IndCor Properties Inc from Blackstone Group LP for US$8.1 billion, Blackstone said in a statement yesterday, adding that the purchase is expected to close in the first quarter next year. The agreement ends the prospect of an initial public offering for IndCor, which had been planning a share sale valuing the company at about US$8 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said in August. GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, is gaining warehouses across the US as demand for industrial space climbs from Web retailers and other customers. Chicago-based IndCor owns about 10.9 million square meters of buildings in 29 markets. For Blackstone, the deal allows it to exit a major investment at a profit as it invests in a new series of property funds.


Shale investors face losses

Bond investors who helped finance the US shale boom are facing potential losses of US$8.5 billion as oil prices plummet by the most since the financial crisis. The US$90 billion of debt issued by junk-rated energy producers in the past three years has fallen almost 10 percent since crude oil peaked in June. Halcon Resources Corp, SandRidge Energy Inc and Goodrich Petroleum Corp have been among the hardest hit as OPEC’s refusal to ease a supply glut pushed prices to a five-year low of US$66.15 a barrel last week. The oil sell-off is deepening concern among bond investors that the least-creditworthy oil explorers would struggle to pay their obligations and prompt bankers to rein in credit lines as revenue slumps. Halcon, SandRidge and Goodrich are among about 21 borrowers operating in the costliest US shale-producing regions that would be unprofitable if crude oil falls below US$60 a barrel, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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