Tue, May 26, 2015 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take



UBS may close Aussie unit

UBS Group AG is shutting its Australian wealth management unit, with senior employees offering to serve clients through a new company, people with knowledge of the matter said. UBS Wealth Management Australia head Mike Chisholm and senior client advisers are forming Crestone Wealth Management, the people said. The advisers moving to Crestone account for about 80 percent of the unit’s revenue, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the matter is private. The Swiss bank’s exit is the result of a more than month-long review. UBS wealth management president Juerg Zeltner said last month that an evaluation was under way. UBS, which reported a 54 percent jump in pretax profit at its wealth-management unit in the first quarter, might announce the exit as soon as this week, one of the people said. A spokesman for UBS in Zurich declined to comment.


Suntory to buy drinks unit

Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd is to buy Japan Tobacco Inc’s vending machine businesses for about ¥150 billion (US$1.2 billion), the cigarette maker said yesterday. The Suntory Beverage acquisition also includes the transfer of two drinks brands, Roots and Momono Tennensui, Japan Tobacco said in a statement to the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The Nikkei Shimbun reported the deal earlier, without saying where it got the information. Parent Suntory Holdings Ltd president Takeshi Niinami in February said that Suntory Beverage was looking into whether to make the acquisition. Japan Tobacco was exploring the sale after saying in February it would exit its drinks business.


Vatican bank profit jumps

The Vatican bank posted a sharp rise in net profit last year after absorbing the costs of a cleanup that hit earnings the year before as part of a wide-ranging drive to tighten financial governance and eliminate abuse, a statement said yesterday. The bank, formally known as the Institute for Religious Works, has tightened regulatory standards and closed thousands of accounts, which were either inactive or deemed not to meet new standards required of clients. Reforming the bank has been one of the most sensitive issues facing Pope Francis as he seeks to overhaul the complex Vatican administration after years of scandal, ranging from allegations of financial malpractice to cover-ups of child sexual abuse by priests. After 2013 results that were hit by heavy write-downs on investments and a jump in operating costs to meet new standards against money laundering, net profit last year rebounded to 69.3 million euros (US$76.1 million) from 2.9 million euros the year before.


Minister pay still frozen

British government ministers will have their pay frozen for another five years as the government tries to reduce the budget deficit, Prime Minister David Cameron said on Sunday. Ministers receive £134,565 (US$208,384) per year, including their parliamentary salary. Their pay has been frozen since 2010, when it was cut by 5 percent as part of the then-coalition government’s austerity efforts. Cameron’s Conservatives have pledged to find £25 billion of spending cuts over the next two years as they seek to turn a 5 percent budget deficit into a surplus by 2018-2019. An independent body that oversees lawmakers’ pay and expenses had recommended all 650 members of parliament, including ministers, get a 10 percent pay raise this year, which would take their parliamentary salary to £74,000.

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