Tue, Apr 17, 2018 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take



GM to downsize Ohio plant

General Motors (GM) on Sunday confirmed its plans to eliminate a shift at an Ohio plant, idling about 1,500 employees as demand for compact cars dips. The downsizing of the workforce in Lordstown, Ohio, was related to “historic” market changes that spelled lower demand for compact cars, company spokeswoman Dayna Hart said. “As we look at the market for compact cars in 2018 and beyond, we believe a more stable operating approach to match market demand is a one-shift schedule,” Hart said, adding that the second shift would be suspended toward the end of the second quarter. She said the company did not plan to abandon the passenger car market completely. “The car market remains important to GM and Chevrolet since it represents 36 percent of industry retail sales. The small car segment also brings new and conquest customers to Chevrolet,” Hart said.


Advent set to buy division

Advent International Corp is close to acquiring Sanofi’s European generics division in a deal valued at about 2 billion euros (US$2.47 billion) including debt, people with knowledge of the matter said. The French drugmaker’s board was scheduled to meet as early as yesterday to sign off on the deal, which could be announced in the coming days, the people said. No final decision has been made and the talks might still fall apart, they added. An accord would signal the culmination of a process that began more than two years ago as CEO Olivier Brandicourt started to shift the firm’s focus to biotechnology and new medicines. The sale would add to the more than US$15 billion in transactions that Sanofi has announced so far this year, including the acquisition of Bioverativ Inc to expand in hemophilia treatments and Ablynx NV to gain an experimental medicine for another rare bleeding disorder.


Prudential eyes Asia

Prudential PLC is boosting its technology investment in Asia as part of plans to double earnings in the region in coming years. The UK insurer is to raise annual spending by 20 percent to £300 million (US$429 million) from this year in areas such as automation and online sales and support to attract younger customers who are increasingly expecting instant service, Asia operation chief executive Nic Nicandrou said. “Technology initiatives, including automation, are one of the key drivers to achieving Prudential’s growth ambitions in Asia,” Nicandrou said, adding that he expects earnings in the region to double every five to seven years. Technology would enable Prudential to bring in more clients by shortening the time to issue policies to minutes from days and expanding an online chat service to deal with queries, Nicandrou said.


Firm-focused service grows

Soundtrack Your Brand, the Spotify Technology SA-backed streaming service that targets businesses rather than consumers, has expanded its catalog to 26 million songs after securing licensing deals with rights holders including Sony/ATV Music Publishing, the world’s largest music publisher. The agreements include a per-stream-based compensation model to pay artists and composers accurately from retailers, restaurants and hotels, CEO and cofounder Ola Sars said. “The market for background music or commercial music services has been dysfunctional and is still 10 years behind the consumer streaming services,” Sars said. “This represents a significant area of growth for the entire music industry.”

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