Wed, Oct 04, 2017 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

BEVERAGES

Britvic closing Norwich site

British soft drinks group Britvic PLC yesterday said it would close its Norwich manufacturing site, resulting in 242 job losses. The company said it would transfer the production of its Robinsons and Fruit Shoot brands from the Norwich site, which is co-owned with Unilever, to sites in East London, Leeds and Rugby. Britvic said the plant will close by the end of 2019. It said the proposed closure would not affect its financial forecast. The job cuts come at a time when the company and its rivals face an impending British government tax on sugar-sweetened fizzy drinks.

MANUFACTURING

Ferguson profit up 25%

Heating and plumbing products supplier Ferguson reported a near 25 percent rise in full-year trading profit from ongoing business, as a strong US performance offset weak British growth. The group, which changed its name from Wolseley this year, said trading profit from ongoing business rose to £1.03 billion (US$1.36 billion) in the year to July 31, from £827 million a year earlier. The company said it would buy back shares worth £500 million over the next 12 months. Revenue from ongoing business grew 18.3 percent to £14.87 billion, up 6 percent on a like-for-like basis. The company has increasingly banked on growth in its US business to drive results, against challenging market conditions in the UK and parts of Europe, which has prompted a planned exit from the Nordic region.

DIGITAL CURRENCIES

Goldman Sachs mulls entry

Goldman Sachs is exploring whether to launch a trading venture in bitcoin in response to client demand, a person familiar with the matter said on Monday. Goldman’s consideration of the digital currency could give bitcoin a boost at a time when it is under criticism in China and by some large banks. Goldman is looking at establishing a team that could trade bitcoin and other digital currencies, said a person familiar with the bank’s thinking. The venture might resemble other Goldman teams that trade euros or Treasury bonds. Goldman has received interest from a variety of parties, including investment funds, insurers and corporate clients. The study is at an early stage and may not yield a decision to proceed with such a venture, the person said.

ENGINEERING

Flannery takes over GE

General Electric (GE) on Monday said that director and chairman Jeffrey Immelt had stepped down nearly three months earlier than expected. The board named CEO John Flannery as chairman and president, effective immediately, the company said in a statement. Flannery had taken over Immelt’s role as CEO at the start of August, but Immelt had been expected to stay on as president and chairman until the end of the year. However, Monday’s statement said Immelt believed the transition had gone smoothly and that Flannery was now ready to succeed him.

AUTOMAKERS

GM eyes 20 all-electric cars

General Motors (GM) on Monday announced plans to launch 20 all-electric cars by 2023, part of a push to an “all-electric” fleet. It said it would introduce two models within 18 months built on the learnings of the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt, which was launched in December last year. “General Motors believes in an all-electric future,” executive vice president Mark Reuss said. “Although that future won’t happen overnight, GM is committed to driving increased usage and acceptance of electric vehicles through no-compromise solutions that meet our customers’ needs.”

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