Fri, Oct 05, 2018 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

ITALY

Growth target 1.5 percent

The government is targeting economic growth of 1.5 percent next year, rising to 1.6 percent in 2020, financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore said yesterday. The newspaper said growth was targeted to then fall to 1.4 percent in 2021. The paper said the numbers would be submitted immediately to the parliamentary budget office, the authority that evaluates government forecasts. The government on Wednesday gave budget deficit and debt targets for the next three years, but did not release growth targets. The IMF has forecast growth of 1 percent in Italy next year.

AUTOMAKERS

Car registrations slump

British car registrations dropped 20.5 percent last month compared with the same month last year following the introduction of new emissions standards, industry figures showed yesterday. In the year to date, car sales were down 7.5 percent compared with the first nine months of last year, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said. On Sept. 1, the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure came into force in the EU, which led some brands to incentivize sales in August, pulling forward demand.

ENERGY

Gazprom, OMV ink deal

Russia’s Gazprom and Austria’s OMV AG have signed an agreement on a project to develop the Urengoy gas field in western Siberia, Russian President Vladimir Putin said after talks with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on Wednesday. The document was signed by Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller and OMV chief executive Reiner Seele in front of the two leaders. Gazprom deliveries to Germany and Austria reached a historic high this year.

BANKING

Belgian sale mooted

Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA is in advanced negotiations to sell its Belgian business to private equity firm Warburg Pincus, people with knowledge of the matter said. The Italian bank, advised by Rothschild & Co, is close to reaching an agreement and a deal could be announced as soon as next week, the people said. The transaction could value the unit at almost 50 million euros (US$58 million), they said.

BOOKSELLERS

Barnes & Noble mulls bids

The board of Barnes & Noble Inc says it is reviewing the company’s future after several parties expressed interest in buying it. The company on Wednesday said that its board had appointed a special committee to review the offers. One of the interested parties is its founder and chairman, Leonard Riggio, who is credited with turning Barnes & Noble into a superstore. According to FactSet, Riggio owns 19 percent of the company and is its largest shareholder.

TELECOMS

Verizon offering buyouts

Verizon Communications Inc is offering buyout packages to as many as 44,000 management employees as part of a cost-cutting drive, potentially eliminating more than a fourth of its workforce. The offer, which excludes executives in sales or crucial company roles, is part of a four-year, US$10 billion cost-reduction program that chairman Lowell McAdam put in place last year. A spokesman declined to say how many of the 44,000 managers are expected to take the offer and leave the company.

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