Tue, Jul 19, 2016 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take



Chinese buy Opera

A Chinese consortium has bought the Opera Internet browser for US$600 million, its Norwegian developer said yesterday, after a public share offer for the company failed. The consortium led by Golden Brick Silk Road Investment (Shenzhen) LLP (金磚絲綢之路) is to purchase the mobile and desktop versions of the Internet browser, plus performance and privacy apps and a stake in a Chinese joint venture, but not the advertising, games and television units, Opera Software said in a statement to the Oslo stock exchange. The transaction was announced simultaneously with the failure of the US$1.2 billion public offer to take over the entire company. It gave no reason for the failure, but in a statement to the Oslo stock exchange last week Opera Software said the outcome of the offer was uncertain, as it had not yet received regulatory approvals by the deadline of Friday.


Firms beset by uncertainty

The country’s biggest companies are beset by doubts about the future after last month’s vote to leave the EU and have slashed their investment plans, according to a survey yesterday that bodes poorly for the economy. About 82 percent of chief financial officers from FTSE 350 and large private companies expect to cut capital spending in the next year, the biggest proportion on record and up from 34 percent in the first quarter, accountancy firm Deloitte said. Its survey is one of the first clear signs the vote to leave the EU has battered business confidence, and corroborates the Bank of England’s view that the economy is set to weaken soon. The Deloitte survey was conducted between June 28 and July 11, after the referendum and just before Prime Minister Theresa May took office.


Workers to go on strike

Tens of thousands of auto and shipbuilding workers are to launch partial strikes this week after negotiations over wage increases stalled. Employees at Hyundai Motor — the country’s top automaker — are set to walk off the job for at least four hours a day from today to Friday, a labor union spokesman said. About 75 percent of the firm’s 48,800 unionized workers voted last week for the stoppages after months-long negotiations with management failed to meet their demand for a 7.2 percent pay rise and other benefits. At the same time, workers at Hyundai Heavy Industries — the world’s largest shipbuilder by sales — are set to walk off the job for at least four hours a day today, tomorrow and Friday.


German, Arab firms to merge

German container shipping giant Hapag-Lloyd yesterday announced that it is teaming up with United Arab Shipping Co to become one of the world’s top five shipping companies as consolidation in the sector continues apace. “Hapag-Lloyd AG and United Arab Shipping Company [UASC] have signed a Business Combination Agreement to merge both companies, subject to the necessary regulatory and contractual approvals,” the firm said in a statement. The combined companies would become the world’s fifth-largest container firm with an annual turnover of about US$12 billion. “This strategic merger makes a lot of sense for both carriers — as we are able to combine UASC’s emerging global presence and young and highly efficient fleet with Hapag-Lloyd’s broad, diversified market coverage and strong customer base,” said the German firm’s chief executive Habben Jansen.

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