Thu, May 17, 2018 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take



SABB to buy Alawwal Bank

HSBC Holding PLC’s Saudi Arabia unit offered to pay a 29 percent premium to acquire Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC’s (RBS) local venture in a US$5 billion stock deal. In the preliminary agreement between RBS-backed Alawwal Bank and Saudi British Bank (SABB), Alawwal shareholders are to receive 0.485 SABB shares per Alawwal share. The deal values Alawwal’s existing share capital at about 18.6 billion riyals (US$4.96 billion). A merger would be Saudi Arabia’s first bank combination in almost 20 years and would make SABB the kingdom’s third-biggest lender with assets of about US$73 billion.


PNB shares plummet 12%

Shares in fraud-hit Punjab National Bank (PNB) yesterday plunged more than 12 percent after it posted the largest-ever quarterly loss for an Indian lender. PNB, India’s second-biggest state-run bank, on Tuesday said it had incurred a record 134.17 billion rupee (US$1.98 billion) net loss for the January-to-March quarter. The bank has been reeling since announcing in February that it had been the victim of a 135 billion rupee scam involving celebrity jeweler Nirav Modi. PNB has accused Modi and his uncle and business partner Mehul Choksi of defrauding it of 2.8 billion rupees, which was just part of its total losses.


Son working on new fund

Masayoshi Son, the founder and CEO of Softbank Group Corp, is already thinking about his next US$100 billion venture — a version 2.0 of the world’s biggest technology fund, people familiar with the matter said. The Japanese entrepreneur has held preliminary discussions with investors about committing to a second fund as early as next year, the people said, adding that the planned fund would likely draw a wider pool of investors than the first one. A representative for Softbank declined to comment.


Seattle to impose ‘head tax’

Seattle’s largest businesses, such as Inc and Starbucks Corp, would have to pay a new tax to help fund homeless services and affordable housing under a measure approved by city leaders. The Seattle City Council on Monday unanimously passed a compromise plan that taxes businesses making at least US$20 million in gross revenue about US$275 per full-time worker each year — less than the US$500 per worker initially proposed. The so-called “head tax” would raise about US$48 million per year to build new affordable housing units and provide emergency homeless services. Amazon, Starbucks and business groups sharply criticized the council’s decision after Monday’s vote, calling it a tax on jobs and questioning whether city officials were spending current resources effectively.


GFG plans global expansion

Tycoon Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance is planning an expansion of its financial services business outside of Europe, targeting opportunities to provide lending and insurance to mid-sized businesses. “All industries go through this turnaround where new blood is required, and certainly in financial services,” GFG executive chairman Gupta told Bloomberg Television in an interview yesterday. “Whether it’s in banking, in insurance, whether it’s other forms of finance, we see a great opportunity serving the middle market.” GFG is to expand its banking and insurance arm into Australia, targeting business with companies in the US$50 million to US$500 million range, Gupta said.

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