Fri, May 05, 2017 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

MINING

Randgold Q1 profit up 33%

Gold miner Randgold Resources Ltd reported a 33 percent rise in first-quarter profit to US$84.9 million, helped by strong output at its Kibali and Tongon mines amid lower production costs. Randgold, which has gold mines in Mali, the Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, reported a 10 percent rise in gold production to 322,470 ounces in its first quarter. Gold sales for the quarter stood at US$409.6 million compared with US$345.7 million a year earlier. It was on track to achieve its full-year guidance, the company added.

INSURANCE

Lancashire Q1 profit up 8%

Insurer Lancashire Holdings Ltd reported an 8 percent rise in first-quarter profit, as it moderated its risk exposure against a tough underwriting environment. The company said it had seen some evidence of a slowdown in the rate of premium declines. “Lancashire is well positioned relative to others to manage any future insurance market turbulence and to respond to the opportunities which will arise,” CEO Alex Maloney said. The company, which writes policies for heavy-duty assets, such as oil rigs, ships and aircraft, said pre-tax profit rose to US$28.7 million in the quarter ended March 31, from US$26.5 million a year earlier. Gross premiums written fell almost 15 percent to US$196.5 million.

SERVICES

UK growth beats estimates

Growth in Britain’s services sector unexpectedly strengthened last month, giving the economy a solid start to the second quarter after a weaker-than-forecast performance at the start of the year. IHS Markit’s index rose to 55.8 last month from 55 in March, defying expectations for a drop to 54.5. Its measures for manufacturing and construction published earlier this week also improved, and the gauges suggest UK economic growth is running at a 0.6 percent pace. New business grew at the fastest pace this year and employment rose, albeit modestly.

NORWAY

Norges Bank keeps rates

The central bank yesterday kept interest rates unchanged at a record low amid signs that rising oil prices are supporting a recovery in western Europe’s largest crude producer. The benchmark deposit rate was held at 0.5 percent, Norges Bank said in Oslo. After a three-year slump caused by a global oil glut, the nation’s economic growth is reviving and unemployment is falling. The bank’s regional network survey has also added to evidence that the momentum has changed, with output expectations for the coming six months climbing back to levels not seen since the oil shock of mid-2014.

BANKING

Deutsche Bank buys offices

Deutsche Bank AG’s asset-management unit agreed to buy two office buildings near London Bridge railway station for about £400 million (US$517 million), two people with knowledge of the plan said. Deutsche Asset Management will buy the Bankside 2 & 3 properties near the Tate Modern art gallery from M&G Investments, the people said, asking not be identified as the deal is not public. Spokesmen for M&G, a unit of Prudential PLC, and Deutsche Bank declined to comment. Continental European investors who shunned London’s commercial property in the run-up to the Brexit referendum are flocking back as the weak pound cuts prices. Investors from the region spent £1.7 billion on the capital’s offices, shops and warehouses this year through April 18, compared with £824 million a year ago, Savills PLC said.

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