Sat, May 06, 2017 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

CHEMICALS

Syngenta takeover approved

Shareholders of Swiss pesticide and seed giant Syngenta AG have accepted the company’s takeover by state-owned China National Chemical Corp (ChemChina, 中國化工), the companies said yesterday, which would be the biggest overseas acquisition by a Chinese firm. At the closing date for the offer on Thursday, shareholders holding about 80.7 percent of the company’s stock had accepted the US$43 billion takeover, according to a preliminary count. Subject to confirmation of the results, “the Minimum Acceptance Rate condition of 67 percent of issued Syngenta shares has been met,” they said in a statement. That confirmation is expected to come next week, with the transaction scheduled to take place in two steps next month.

BANKING

RBI targets delinquent loans

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) wants to resolve the nation’s 60 largest delinquent-loan cases in nine months, a person familiar with the matter said. The bank plans to set up a secretariat to oversee the resolution process for the biggest defaults by loan amount, the person said. The move comes after the Cabinet approved plans to amend the Banking Regulation Act to give more powers to the central bank to govern lenders and address bad loan issues. Stressed assets — bad loans, restructured debt and advances to companies that cannot meet servicing requirements — have risen to about 17 percent of total loans, the highest level among major economies, data compiled by the government show.

RIDE-SHARING

Uber in criminal probe

The US government has launched a criminal investigation into Uber Technologies Inc for the use of secret software that enabled the company to operate in areas where it was banned or restricted, the Washington Post reported on Thursday. The investigation is in its early stages, the Post reported, citing a person familiar with the probe. The software program, called Greyball, first revealed by the New York Times in March, enabled drivers to avoid detection from transportation authorities by identifying regulators posing as Uber customers in order to deny them rides.

TECHNOLOGY

Google settles Italy tax suit

Italian tax officials said Google had agreed to pay 306 million euros (US$335 million) to settle a tax dispute. Google has been under investigation by Milan prosecutors for the tax years 2009 to 2013, one of several European probes looking into the tax practices of international companies. Tax officials said the settlement announced on Thursday also launches a process to determine the tech company’s proper taxation level in Italy going forward. The agreement covers the period under investigation, as well as 2014 to 2015 and 2002 to 2006. Google said it remained committed to Italy.

INVESTMENT

Buffett sells IBM shares

Warren Buffett, the billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, has sold about a third of his company’s investment in computer-services giant IBM Corp, CNBC reported. The sales came in the first and second quarters, CNBC said, citing Buffett. IBM’s shares gained about 21 percent last year after three straight annual declines, and are still more than 25 percent lower than the company’s 10-year peak in 2013. The shares have lagged behind both technology peers and the S&P 500 Index this year.

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