Kirin to sell headquarters
Japanese beverage giant Kirin Holdings Co has decided to sell its Tokyo headquarters in order to reduce debts as it aggressively buys foreign firms in an expansion bid, a report said yesterday. Kirin Holdings and its main subsidiary Kirin Brewery Co will sell their headquarters buildings in Tokyo to raise an estimated ￥15 billion to ￥30 billion (US$170 million to US$340 million), the Yomiuri Shimbun said. The group will rent a different building in Tokyo as its global headquarters, the paper said. The company will use the money to reduce debts accumulated after a series of major overseas acquisitions, according to the report. Many Japanese beverage firms have sought to expand overseas while the domestic market suffers slow consumption, a shrinking population and younger people shunning alcohol.
Toyota halts factory build
Japan’s Toyota Motor Co has decided to halt the construction of new factories for the next three years in a shift from its previous policy of building new plants almost annually, reports said yesterday. The company, which hopes to regain top spot in the global auto market, will concentrate its capital investment on existing factories, the Nikkei Shimbun business daily said. The new policy will shelve through the end of the 2015 fiscal year all plans for building new factories other than those already announced, the paper said. The company will officially announce the decision in a new management plan to be released in coming months, Jiji Press said, adding that Toyota wants to increase efficiency and cut costs.
Agricultural exports grow
Agricultural exports grew last year, with pistachio and saffron sales almost doubling, despite Western sanctions on trade with the country, the semi-official Fars news agency quoted Deputy Agriculture Minister Jahangir Pourhemmat as saying on Saturday. Between March 21 and Dec. 20, pistachio exports doubled to US$587 million, making the nuts the nation’s biggest agricultural export by value. Exports of saffron rose 87 percent to US$213 million, Fars said. “Export of farming products has increased 15 percent compared to the previous year, while the agricultural exports are still on the increase on a daily basis,” Far quoted the minister as saying. “Over 95 percent of Iran’s needed products are produced inside the country which is highly important for the country’s political independence.”
Airport aiming to attract UPS
Belgium’s Liege airport, one of Europe’s busiest freight hubs, hopes to entice US parcel delivery firm FedEx Corp away from Paris airports should Dutch firm TNT Express depart for Germany. The head of the Liege airport board, Jose Happart, told daily newspaper La Libre on Saturday that the airport was eyeing a deal with FedEx should the Dutch company go as the result of a looming tie-up with US delivery giant United Parcel Service (UPS). UPS launched a 5.16 billion euro (US$6.71 billion) takeover bid for TNT Express last year. If approved by EU anti-trust authorities, UPS could well decide to move the Dutch firm’s Liege operations — involving about 2,000 jobs — to its own UPS hub in Cologne, in order to streamline services and management. The European Commission competition authorities said last year they were worried that the proposed merger would lead to a highly concentrated market for domestic and international services.