Sat, Jun 03, 2017 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

LUXURY GOODS

Chinese firm buys Baccarat

French crystal maker Baccarat is changing hands 253 years after it was founded by royal decree of King Louis XV. Chinese investment firm Fortune Fountain Capital Ltd (灃沅弘集團) is buying a controlling stake from Baccarat’s private equity owners for about 164 million euros (US$184 million), it said in a statement yesterday. The deal ends more than a decade of ownership by Starwood Capital, which took over the brand from the Taittinger family in 2005. Baccarat is known for sets of champagne glasses that cost as much as US$990 and chandeliers that can cost thousands. Fortune Fountain agreed to buy an 88.8 percent stake from Starwood and L Catterton for 222.70 euros a share. The price is 14 percent less than Thursday’s closing share price for Baccarat, which has risen about 19 percent in the past two weeks on speculation of a possible takeover.

AUTOMAKERS

US car sales down in May

Automakers offered big discounts over the US Memorial Day holiday, but the response from car buyers last month was not enough to reverse months of sales declines. Monthly sales data showed the industry sold 6 percent fewer vehicles than in April and 1 percent fewer than in May last year, with a total of 1.5 million vehicles, according to Autodata. Total sales last month fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 16.58 million units, compared with 17.17 million a year ago, Autodata reported. General Motors Co saw its sales fall 1.3 percent last month compared with a year earlier, while the North American arm of Fiat Chrysler saw a 1 percent decline and Toyota Motor Corp sales fell 0.5 percent.

FINANCE

Metro buys UK mortgages

British lender Metro Bank PLC said it had bought a portfolio of UK mortgages from a company owned by Cerberus Capital Management LP for £596.7 million (US$768.2 million). Metro Bank, which offers retail, business and private banking, said all lending in the portfolio is secured on property and has a similar credit risk profile to its current mortgage book. The portfolio bought from Cerberus European Residential Holdings BV is made up primarily of buy-to-let mortgages, with the rest being owner-occupied. The acquisition of the mortgages is to be financed using cash from existing resources, Metro said.

BRAZIL

First-quarter GDP up 1%

The government on Thursday said that GDP expanded 1 percent in the first quarter compared with the previous quarter. The result published by the statistics bureau prompted President Michel Temer to tweet that the nation’s worst recession in decades is over. The bureau said it was the first time in eight consecutive quarters that GDP has grown. It said record grain harvests boosted the economy in the first three months of the year, with GDP reaching about US$500 billion.

SERVICES

Blue Apron files for IPO

Meal-kit delivery company Blue Apron Holdings Inc filed for an initial public offering (IPO) in the US, after reportedly delaying listing plans while it worked on improving financials. The New York-based firm filed with an initial offering size of US$100 million, which is a placeholder used to calculate fees that will typically change, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday. The company plans to offer its Class A common stock and will have three classes of shares — two of them with voting rights — after the IPO.

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