Tue, Aug 22, 2017 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

TELECOMS

EE warns over spectrum cap

BT Group PLC’s EE Ltd threatened the British Office of Communications (Ofcom) with a High Court challenge yesterday, over its planned auction of mobile spectrum. Ofcom last month capped the maximum spectrum a company could win as it set new rules for the auction of mobile spectrum to safeguard competition. The auction, which is expected to take place later this year, would limit the amount of spectrum companies, such as BT and EE, could win to 85MHz in the 3.4GHz band, restricting the companies’ overall share of mobile spectrum. However, smaller rival Three, owned by Hong Kong’s CK Hutchison Holdings (長江和記實業), says the proposals needed to go further. “Three has already begun the legal process and our challenge doesn’t mean further delay,” EE spokesman said. “Tomorrow we will send a Letter Before Action to Ofcom, challenging their decision on the upcoming auction.”

BANKING

TBC profit jumps in Q2

TBC Bank Group PLC, Georgia’s largest retail bank, yesterday reported a 37.2 percent jump in second-quarter underlying net profit, as economic growth and a stable currency boosted lending. Net interest margin was 6.8 percent in the quarter, down 1.1 percentage points from a year earlier, said TBC, which became Georgia’s largest bank by loans and deposits after buying JSC Bank Republic from France’s Societe Generale and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Underlying net profit rose to 86.3 million laris (US$36.2 million) in the quarter ended June, from 62.9 million laris a year earlier.

INVESTMENTS

Oakbay to sell media stakes

South Africa’s Oakbay Investments, a company owned by business friends of President Jacob Zuma, yesterday said it would sell its holdings in two media groups, including news channel ANN7 for 450 million rand (US$34.06 million). Oakbay is owned by the Gupta family, which has been accused by senior members of the ruling African National Congress party of using links with Zuma to wield influence and win business. Zuma and the Guptas deny any wrongdoing.

ENERGY

Rosneft, partners buy Essar

Rosneft PJSC and partners, including Trafigura Group Pte, have finalized their US$12.9 billion purchase of India’s Essar Oil Ltd. The purchase gives Russia’s biggest oil producer and one of the world’s largest commodity traders access to a global demand center in Asia, while helping Essar Group reduce its debt by about US$11 billion and shift focus to its struggling steel business. Essar Group sold 49 percent of Essar Oil each to Rosneft and a consortium of Trafigura and United Capital Partners, it said in a statement.

GREECE

Yields dip on Fitch upgrade

Greek government bond yields dipped early yesterday after Fitch became the second ratings agency to upgrade it to “Single B” status, marking another milestone in the debt-laden state’s slow journey away from default territory. Fitch upgraded Greece’s long-term foreign-currency issuer default ratings to “B-” from “CCC” late on Friday, citing reduced political risk and sustained economic growth. Short-dated Greek government bond yields hit 3.25 percent at one stage, close to its lowest since 2009, a level hit earlier this month. “Greece is still a credit that is risky and volatile, but at least it’s now not one step away from default but two steps away,” DZ Bank strategist Daniel Lenz said.

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