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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Softbank Group Corp plans to keep a stake in the chip designer Arm Ltd, even if it sells a partial interest to Nvidia Corp, the Nikkei reported. The companies are negotiating terms, the newspaper reported, citing sources. Softbank might take a stake in Nvidia after it buys Arm, the report said. Nvidia and Arm might also merge through a share swap, and Softbank would become a major shareholder in the combined company, it said. The two parties aim to reach a deal in the next few weeks, the sources said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Nvidia is the
END TO SPECULATION: The hotel’s management contract has been extended, despite reports that it wanted to end its alliance with Hyatt Hotels over a deal with Riant Capital Singapore-based Hong Leong Hotel Development Ltd (豐隆大飯店股份) yesterday said it has extended a management contract to ensure the continued presence of the Grand Hyatt brand in Taipei, ending rumors that the two sides were parting ways. “We are pleased Hyatt is able to come to terms on the extension of the management contract of Grand Hyatt Taipei,” said Kwek Leng Beng (郭令明), executive chairman of City Developments Ltd (城市發展) and Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Ltd (千禧國敦酒店). Hong Leong Hotel Development is a subsidiary of Millennium, and both fall under the Hong Leong Group (豐隆集團). The Grand Hyatt Taipei (台北君悅大飯店), owned and built by
Gold surged to a fresh record on Friday, fueled by US dollar weakness and low interest rates, while silver headed for its best month since 1979. Spot bullion is up more than 10 percent this month, as US real yields lingered near record lows. While the ferocity of rallies in gold and silver cooled in the middle of the week, most market watchers predict there might be more gains ahead. Both metals have added about 30 percent this year, with gold and silver exchange-traded funds boosting holdings to a record, as concern about the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic fuels demand for
MOVING FROM CHINA? The article did not name the company, but Foxconn, Wistron and Pegatron were among firms chosen for a production-linked incentive plan in India An Apple Inc vendor is looking at shifting six production lines to India from China, which could result in US$5 billion of iPhone exports from the South Asian nation, the Times of India reported, citing people familiar with the matter who it did not identify. The establishment of the facility would create about 55,000 jobs over about a year, the newspaper reported, not naming the Apple vendor. It would also cater to the domestic market and expand operations to include tablets and laptops, the newspaper reported. Samsung Electronics Co and Apple’s assembly partners are among 22 companies that have pledged 110 billion