Fri, Sep 14, 2018 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

BANKING

Nordea, DNB agree to sale

Nordea Bank AB and DNB ASA have agreed to sell a 60 percent stake in Baltic bank Luminor to a Blackstone Group LP private equity consortium for 1 billion euros (US$1.16 billion), the two Nordic banks said yesterday. Luminor, the third-biggest bank in the Baltic region, was formed by the 2016 merger of Nordea’s and DNB’s operations in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. While DNB plans to retain a stake of 20 percent in the venture, Nordea has entered into a forward sale agreement with Blackstone for its remaining 20 percent stake over the near to medium term. The transaction would not have any significant impact on its finances, DNB said.

TOURISM

Spending in US increases

Spending by tourists visiting the US inched higher last year, setting a new record and accounting for about one-10th of all US exports, the US Department of Commerce reported on Wednesday. Nearly 77 million international visitors — including pleasure-seekers, students and medical travelers — spent US$251.4 billion last year, up 2 percent from 2016. Tourist dollars supported 1.2 million US jobs, the department said. Overall, the volume of visitors rose 0.7 percent, with big increases in the numbers of South Koreans (up 17.8 percent), Brazilians (up 11 percent) and Argentines (up 10 percent).

PHARMACEUTICALS

Takeda eyes Shire PLC

Takeda Pharmaceutical Co is weighing the sale of a Shire PLC eye care business once its US$62 billion purchase of the UK-listed biotech firm is completed, as it seeks ways to cut the debt raised to fund the deal, people familiar with the matter said. The Xiidra drug, used to treat dry-eye disease, is among potential divestments being assessed by Takeda, the people said. Takeda has also been discussing with banks about a possible sale of Shire’s Natpara medicine, used to control low blood calcium levels related to decreased parathyroid hormone, the people said. The potential disposals could help Takeda raise about US$4 billion to US$5 billion, the people said.

DAIRY

Fonterra posts first loss

New Zealand’s largest company, which sells dairy products, yesterday said it would completely review its business investments after a disastrous financial year saw it post its first-ever loss. Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd is promising to turn things around after the chief executive and board chairman quit recently. The company announced an after-tax loss of NZ$196 million (US$129 million) for the year ending July, compared with a profit in the previous year of NZ$745 million. “There’s no two ways about it, these results don’t meet the standards we need to live up to,” Fonterra interim chief executive officer Miles Hurrell said in a statement.

EMPLOYMENT

Australian rate rises

Australian employment last month trounced expectations as a signal of potentially faster wage growth reached the strongest in five years. Underutilization — a sum of the jobless rate and underemployment, which provides insight into the labor market’s overall health — fell to 13.4 percent, the lowest level since June 2013, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said in Sydney. The Reserve Bank of Australia has kept interest rates at a record low to drive investment and hiring to such a point that employers are forced to offer higher wages.

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