World Business Quick Take

Agencies

Sun, Nov 11, 2012 - Page 15

FINANCE

GM in Ally takeover talks

Ally Financial Inc, the lender majority-owned by the US government, is in advanced talks to sell its international auto-finance businesses to General Motors Co (GM) for US$4 billion, two people with knowledge of the matter said. GM’s bid includes Ally’s 40 percent stake in an auto-lending joint venture in China, as well as operations in Europe and Latin America, said one of the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. The Chinese business was not part of the package of non-US assets that Ally said in May it was seeking to shed. While GM is the leading candidate to acquire the Ally operations, other potential buyers remain in talks, the people said. The parties may reach a deal as soon as next week, they said. Ally CEO Michael Carpenter is selling assets as he seeks to repay taxpayers for a US$17.2 billion rescue during the credit crisis.

ECONOMY

BRICS mull pooling reserves

Leading emerging market countries are discussing pooling up to US$240 billion in foreign exchange reserves to protect themselves from short-term liquidity pressures, according to documents outlining plans by the five BRICS nations. BRICS countries China, Russia, India, Brazil and South Africa announced a working group in June to look into jointly pooling reserves and creating a new development bank to fund infrastructure projects in the developing world. According to the documents, obtained by reporters, the pool of central bank money would be available to BRICS facing balance of payments difficulties. Some, however, are also pushing for a precautionary credit line, similar to the IMF’s, that provides countries with insurance against outside economic shocks.

TECHNOLOGY

Surface suffers problems

Microsoft Corp said a small number of covers for its Surface tablet computer are prone to splitting after two weeks or less in users’ hands and that it is replacing the defective ones. The company is “aware of a small number of instances of material separation” of the cover accessory, Microsoft said in an e-mailed statement. The cover serves a protective jacket for the Surface, the tablet computer released last month. Users can engage a stand to prop the Surface on a table, then fold out the Touch Cover to use it as a notebook.

AUTOMakers

India’s car sales jump

India’s car sales jumped by 23 percent last month — the fastest rate in nearly two years — industry data showed, driven by greater demand during the festival season and a slew of new model launches. Last month, 172,459 cars were sold, up 23.1 percent from the same month a year earlier, according to a Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) report. “The rate we have seen in October is the best since January 2011 when we had 25 percent growth,” SIAM director general Vishnu Mathur said. SIAM recently slashed its projected car sales growth for the financial year to March next year to between 1 percent and 3 percent from an earlier 10 to 12 percent forecast due to the economic slowdown, higher import tariffs and labor trouble at the country’s biggest passenger carmaker Maruti Suzuki.