Mon, Feb 05, 2018 - Page 14 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

UNITED KINGDOM

Interest rate hike looms

The Bank of England (BOE) will probably raise its economic growth forecasts next week, setting the scene for a potential interest-rate increase within months. In a survey for Bloomberg, all but one of 17 economists expect the BOE to lift its projection for this year on Thursday, with the predictions for the next two years most likely to be left unchanged. The benchmark rate is likely to stay at 0.5 percent next week after officials raised it for the first time in over a decade in November last year, but bets on the timing of the next hike have shifted recently, with a growing number now seeing the next move happening in May.

SPAIN

Consumer spending cools

Consumers have been the key to the Spanish economic recovery, but that might be about to change. There are now signs that consumer spending could cool, replacing Catalonia’s failed independence bid as the biggest risk to the Spanish economy. “Some of the tailwinds are fading,” London-based Oxford Economics lead economist Angel Talavera said. “The pace of job creation is going to slow as the unemployment rate drops, wages have remained stagnant and the savings rate for families is close to a historic low.” Nonetheless, Talavera said growth should still reach 2.8 percent this year, topping the more subdued estimate of 2.4 percent from the IMF.

PHARMACEUTICALS

Glaxo to bid on Pfizer assets

GlaxoSmithKline PLC and Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC are the only companies to have submitted non-binding bids for Pfizer Inc’s consumer business after rival candidates walked away, people familiar with the matter said. Pfizer plans to open a data room for Glaxo and Reckitt to start due diligence on the assets before submitting final offers in the next few weeks, the people said. The deadline for non-binding offers for the business, which makes well-known brands including the pain reliever Advil, ChapStick lip balm and the dietary supplement Centrum, was Feb. 1.

HONG KONG

Listing rule lures biotech IPO

Shanghai Henlius Biotech Inc (上海復宏漢霖生技), backed by Fosun Group (復星集團), is planning an initial public offering (IPO) that could make it one of the first to take advantage of proposed Hong Kong listing rules aimed at attracting early-stage drug developers, people familiar with the matter said. The subsidiary of Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group Co (上海復星醫藥) is considering selling shares in Hong Kong as soon as the second half of this year, the people said. The offering could raise at least US$500 million, one of the people said.

HEALTHCARE

Goldman to advise in merger

Saudi Arabian hospital operator Al Hammadi Co for Development & Investment is close to hiring Goldman Sachs Group Inc to advise on merger talks with National Medical Care Co, people with knowledge of the matter said. Al Hammadi could finalize appointing Goldman Sachs in the coming days, the people said. The mandate is not final and the company’s plans could change, they said. National Medical Care is likely to work with JPMorgan Chase & Co, they said. The two companies in August last year said they were in preliminary discussions about a potential merger that would create a company with a combined market value of US$1.9 billion.

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