Thu, Sep 22, 2016 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

JAPAN

Exports fall in August

Exports tumbled and the nation logged a surprise trade deficit last month, data showed yesterday, reviving concerns about the economy just before the Bank of Japan wrapped up a closely watched meeting. Shipments overseas fell 9.6 percent from a year earlier as a strong yen clouds the nation’s trade picture. That left a trade deficit of ¥18.7 billion (US$184 million), the first shortfall in three months and after markets had forecast a ¥200 billion surplus. Overall exports fell for the 11th consecutive month, with vehicle and steel shipments among the worst hit sectors.

BIOTECHNOLOGY

Allergan buys two firms

Allergan PLC is on a shopping spree. In less than 12 hours on Tuesday, the drugmaker announced a pair of acquisitions of companies developing treatments for a liver disease known as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), giving the company a ready-made pipeline in one of biotechnology’s hottest areas. Before the market opened on Tuesday, Allergan said it would buy Tobira Therapeutics Inc for as much as US$1.7 billion, gaining the company’s experimental drugs for NASH. Then, after the market closed, it announced a US$50 million deal to acquire Akarna Therapeutics Ltd, which is also developing NASH treatments.

CLOTHING

Inditex profits rise 8%

Spain-based fashion retail giant Inditex, owner of popular brand Zara, yesterday posted an 8 percent rise in first-half profits thanks to a surge in clothes sales around the globe. One of the world’s largest fashion retailers said profit for the six months from February to July rose to 1.3 billion euros (US$1.4 billion) from the same time a year earlier. Sales in the first half rose 11 percent to 10.5 billion euros. The company, which operates eight store brands, including Zara, upmarket label Massimo Dutti and teen chain Bershka, said all brands posted a rise in sales.

TECHNOLOGY

Microsoft approves dividend

Microsoft Corp on Tuesday said that its board has approved a dividend increase and a new US$40 billion stock buyback plan. The Redmond, Washington, company said it will pay a quarterly dividend of US$0.39 on Dec. 8. That is up US$0.03, or 8 percent, from its previous payout. The technology giant also said it is on track to complete its existing US$40 billion stock buyback plan by the end of the year. The new plan has no expiration and might be terminated any time. Shares of Microsoft are up about 30 percent in the past year. In after-hours trading, the stock rose US$0.67 to US$57.48.

ENERGY

ABB spins off unit

ABB Ltd, under pressure from Swedish activist shareholder Cevian Capital AB to spin off its power-grid division, said it will slim down the business by selling some operations to NKT Cables for an enterprise value of US$934 million. The sale of its high-voltage cable system to the Danish industrial supplier came with a long-term strategic partnership agreement, Zurich-based ABB said in a statement yesterday. Progress on the strategic review of the power-grids business will be given on Oct. 4, it said. Cevian still wants ABB to spin off the power-grid division, the investor’s cofounder Christer Gardell said by e-mail.

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