Sun, Apr 23, 2017 - Page 14 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

ITALY

Debt rating downgraded

Ratings agency Fitch on Friday downgraded Italy’s long-term debt rating a notch to “BBB” — one level above the “speculative” grade — citing the nation’s persistent debt and fiscal problems. However, Fitch said its outlook was stable. The nation has been unable to reduce its overall debt burden due to weak economic growth and a recurring failure to meet spending targets, leaving it exposed to adverse shocks, the agency said in a statement. Italian sovereign debt rose 0.5 percentage points to 132.6 percent of GDP last year and will likely rise at the same rate this year, falling only marginally to 129.3 percent by 2020, Fitch said.

PANAMA PAPERS

Law firm heads released

A court in Panama on Friday ordered the release on bail of two partners at a law firm involved in last year’s “Panama Papers” scandal set off by the leak of thousands of documents related to offshore accounts. Jurgen Mossack and Ramon Fonseca Mora of the Mossack-Fonseca firm were arrested in February in connection with a bribery scandal involving Brazil’s state-run oil company, Petrobras. The two are accused of money laundering for allegedly setting up offshore accounts to move bribes. The court ordered their release after bail was paid, but that does not prevent the legal case against them from moving forward.

COSMETICS

Body Shop bidders chosen

L’Oreal SA has chosen Brazilian cosmetics firm Natura Cosmeticos SA as well as private equity bidders for the next round of the auction for its Body Shop business, people familiar with the matter said. CVC Capital Partners, Advent International Corp and Investindustrial Advisors SpA are also among the firms taken through, the people said, asking not to be identified because the process is private. Bids for the lotions and soaps retailer came in at more than 800 million euros (US$856 million), they said. Binding offers are due in early June, one of the people said.

RETAIL

High pay for Wal-Mart exec

Wal-Mart Stores Inc’s e-commerce chief executive officer Marc Lore reaped US$243.9 million in compensation last year, fueled by shares he received as part of the sale of his company to the retail giant. The package included restricted stock worth US$236.3 million, which came as part of the buyout of his company, Jet.com, according to a regulatory filing on Thursday. He also received about US$7.55 million in salary, stock awards and perks. The compensation puts Lore well ahead of his boss, Wal-Mart chief executive officer Doug McMillon, and vaults him into the ranks of the US’ top-paid executives. McMillon got a US$22.4 million pay package, up from US$19.8 million the previous year.

PUERTO RICO

Bicyclist thief shakes police

A bank robber in Puerto Rico on Friday eluded police by fleeing on a bicycle. Authorities said the unidentified suspect stole about US$3,000 from Banco Popular after handing a teller a note that suggested he was carrying a weapon. The incident occurred in the Rio Piedras suburb of the capital, San Juan. Police said they believe the suspect is the same man who robbed another bank last week, although he did not flee on a bicycle that time.

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