Firms agree Africa sale
Energy giant ConocoPhillips has agreed to sell its Nigerian operations to growing African group Oando for US$1.79 billion, the Houston-based firm said on Thursday. The assets concerned — joint-ventures in four Niger Delta fields — produced the equivalent of 43,000 barrels of crude oil per day, 40 percent in crude and condensate and 60 percent in natural gas. The Oando deal is due to be concluded next year, said Don Wallette, the US firm’s executive vice president for commercial, business development and corporate planning.
Micron reports losses
Micron Technology Inc, the US’ largest maker of memory chips, reported a wider fiscal first-quarter loss as a slump in demand for PCs led to a supply glut, weighing down prices. The net loss for the period that ended on Nov. 29 widened to US$275 million, or US$0.27 share, from US$187 million, or US$0.19, a year earlier, the Boise, Idaho-based company said on Thursday. Revenue fell 12 percent to US$1.83 billion. Micron has reported losses for six straight quarters, and analysts project it will continue for two more quarters.
Aviva to sell US business
British insurer Aviva has agreed to sell its US life insurance business for US$1.8 billion to Bermuda-based Athene Holding as part of a strategic overhaul, it said yesterday. The transaction is expected to be completed next year subject to regulatory approvals. Athene Holding is a life insurance holding company that is mainly focused on the retirement market. Aviva had already revealed last month that it was in talks to sell its US life insurance activities under a large-scale restructuring program which aims to return the group to profit.
Consumer confidence down
Consumers are feeling less confident about the future even though they are more hopeful about their future income prospects. The monthly consumer climate index compiled by the GfK research institute is 5.6 points for next month, down from 5.8 for this month. GfK said yesterday that although income expectations increased slightly, its indexes measuring economic expectations and willingness to buy fell. It said the growing pessimism has been fed by the European debt crisis that consumers expect will increasingly affect Germany.
Economy expected to shrink
The national statistics agency INSEE said on Thursday it expects the country’s economy to contract by 0.2 percent in the final quarter of this year and the unemployment rate to jump above 10 percent. INSEE also lowered its forecast for overall growth this year to 0.1 percent from 0.2 percent, further below the 0.3 percent on which the government has based its spending plans. The Bank of France forecasts the economy will contract by 0.1 percent in the final quarter of this year.
Modernization plan launched
Authorities unveiled a US$9 billion plan to overhaul two of its international airports and upgrade others on Thursday as it rushes to accommodate surging air traffic in time for the 2014 soccer World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games. The plan to modernize Rio de Janeiro’s Galeao airport, the country’s second-largest, and Belo Horizonte’s Confins airport, should attract 11.4 billion reals (US$5.48 billion) in bids from private companies, the civil aviation authority said.