Tue, Mar 06, 2018 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

SAUDI ARABIA

Banks chosen for bond sale

The kingdom has selected banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co and HSBC Holdings PLC, to help arrange the sale of a dollar-denominated bond to help plug its budget deficit, people familiar with the matter said. Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Citigroup Inc are to manage the offering, which might happen this month, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is not public. The Ministry of Finance declined to comment, as did HSBC, Goldman and JPMorgan, while Citigroup did not immediately comment. The kingdom plans to borrow the equivalent of US$31 billion this year to bridge an expected budget deficit of US$52 billion and fund growth plans after its economy shrank last year.

ENERGY

Maersk liability to linger

A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S is about to exit the Danish offshore oil industry that it created half a century ago. However, for the next few decades, it will be stuck with a liability stemming from that business that is as big as US$1.2 billion. Maersk on Friday won a key approval to sell its energy unit to Total S.A., with the Danish Energy Agency giving the green light to the US$8 billion deal. However, the agency made it a condition that Maersk pay for the eventual decommissioning of North Sea infrastructure such as platforms and pipes, if Total cannot when the time comes. The liability shows how deep Maersk’s ties to Denmark’s oil industry are. It founded the energy unit in 1962 when it obtained a 50-year exclusive contract. Maersk expects the Total deal to close this quarter. It said the current US$1.2 billion estimate for Danish decommissioning provisions will fall when Total and the other license partners redevelop the Tyra gas field.

BANKING

Barclays’ India link pays off

Barclays PLC’s attempts to scale up its cash management business in India via a tie-up with the country’s post office are starting to bear fruit, according to the UK bank’s local corporate banking head. The deal with the 164-year-old mail service, first agreed in 2015, allows Barclays to offer its cash management services via about 8,000 postal branches spread out across the country. That is vital for winning business from large Indian and global companies, which often have operations in many different cities. Barclays featured more prominently in a Greenwich Associates survey of Indian companies last year as a go-to bank for cash management services, especially among consumer goods firms and non-bank financial institutions, said Gaurav Arora, the Singapore-based head of corporate and institutional banking for India at Greenwich Associates.

LABOR

Gender pay gap is costly

Reducing the gender pay gap across Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations to match that of Sweden could boost GDP by US$6 trillion, according to new research by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). The gains would come from increased female participation in the labor market, entrepreneurship and women moving into higher-paid and skilled jobs. South Korea has the biggest disparity with a 37 percent gap, compared to an OECD average of 16 percent, PwC said. In Sweden, the difference is 13 percent, although Luxembourg’s gap is just 4 percent. PwC said the pay gap could be reduced through greater flexibility for working women as well as higher government spending on family benefits to encourage mothers to return to work, and measures such as shared parental leave.

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