Mon, Jul 11, 2016 - Page 14 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

INSURERS

Firms eye Aetna assets

Health insurers including WellCare Health Plans Inc and Centene Corp have offered to buy assets that Aetna Inc may have to sell to gain regulatory approval for its proposed US$37 billion takeover of Humana Inc, a person familiar with the matter said. WellCare and Centene have separately bid for Aetna’s Medicare Advantage policies that are up for sale, covering about 350,000 people. Other health insurers are eyeing pieces of the business, the person said on Saturday. Aetna covers about 1.3 million people in Medicare Advantage plans, while Humana covers 3.2 million. Aetna presented the divestiture plan on Friday at a meeting with US Department of Justice antitrust officials. The insurer is seeking to show that there is sufficient competition in the market for private health plans for the elderly to allow the Humana deal to go forward.

AUTOMAKERS

VW eyes electric batteries

Volkswagen AG (VW) is considering teaming up with electric-car battery specialists such as LG Chem Ltd or Panasonic Corp as it overhauls its strategy to emerge from the diesel-emissions scandal, according to people familiar with the matter. The carmaker’s supervisory board also discussed investing between 1.7 billion euros and 2 billion euros (US$1.89 billion and US$2.21 billion) per factory at several sites around the world, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are confidential. Concrete decisions are expected by the end of the year, they said. Volkswagen confirmed it is examining options and considering multiple locations to make batteries for a sales volume of between 2 million and 3 million purely electric-powered cars by 2025, declining to comment on details of the potential sites.

CUBA

Drastic cuts planned

The government is drastically cutting electricity, imports and investment, as well as reducing fuel consumption by 28 percent through the end of the year, Minister of Planning and Economy Marino Murillo said on Friday in a closed-door speech to the National Assembly published by official media on Saturday. The measures are sure to put the import-dependent economy into negative territory, despite a tourism boom in the wake of a growing detente with the US. They also represent a huge setback for a country struggling to reform an already decapitalized and often dysfunctional system. Cuba’s economy grew just 1 percent in the first half of this year after expanding 4 percent last year, the government said.

TELECOMS

Telefonica pares stake

Telefonica SA, facing roadblocks in the planned sales of its assets following Britain’s vote to leave the EU, is paring a stake in China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd (中國聯通) to raise as much as US$367 million. The sale of 361.8 million shares began today and the stock is being offered at HK$7.75 to HK$7.85 apiece, according to terms of the deal seen by Bloomberg News. The deal has demand for all the stock on offer, said people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named while the transaction is underway. Telefonica risks having its credit rating cut if the carrier does not come up with a clear way to reduce debt by year end, Moody’s Corp analyst Carlos Winzer said last month. Telefonica shelved plans to sell a stake in its British wireless carrier O2 amid market volatility following the country’s referendum. The firm also delayed a listing of its Spanish infrastructure unit Telxius, people familiar with the matter had said.

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