Rosneft seeks Chinese loan
Rosneft is seeking to borrow up to US$30 billion from China in exchange for possibly doubling oil supplies, making Beijing the largest consumer of Russian oil and further diverting supplies away from Europe. Industry sources familiar with the situation said Rosneft was in talks with China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC, 中國石油天然氣), about the borrowing, which would echo a US$25 billion deal the companies clinched last decade. Rosneft said it was not currently in talks about obtaining a loan from China, but declined to comment when asked whether it may enter in negotiations at a later date. Rosneft wants to borrow money as it is close to completing a US$55 billion acquisition of rival TNK-BP to become the world’s largest listed oil producer. Russia’s leading oil company is considering ultimately doubling supplies to China, sources said.
Nestle’s sales growth slows
Nestle SA, the world’s largest food company, reported the slowest sales growth in three years on decelerating revenue growth in emerging markets and weak consumption in Europe. Revenue advanced 5.9 percent excluding acquisitions, disposals and currency shifts, the Vevey, Switzerland-based company said yesterday. That was less than the 6 percent average estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Sales advanced 8.4 percent on a so-called organic basis in the Asia, Oceania and Africa region in the full year, slowing from the 9.4 percent pace in the first nine months. Analysts had expected a rebound after Nestle said in October last year that the third quarter was weighed down by one-time factors and business disruptions that would not repeat. Net income rose 12 percent to 10.61 billion Swiss francs (US$12 billion), more than the SF10.4 billion average estimate.
France, India talk plane deal
India and France are speeding up negotiations on a US$10 billion deal for 126 Rafale aircraft following months of delays because of disagreements over the cost of building them in India, two Indian Defense Ministry officials said. India started exclusive talks with French Dassault Aviation’s Rafale for a 126-plane order in January last year, over the competing Eurofighter Typhoon. The two sides still have to sign a final contract. The talks have progressed slowly because of differences about how to price technology transfer, sourcing of spares and the selection of an Indian partner, the officials said.
BNP Paribas posts Q4 drop
BNP Paribas SA, France’s largest bank, posted a 33 percent decline in fourth-quarter profit on a goodwill writedown at its Italian branch network and an accounting charge tied to its own debt. Net income was 514 million euros (US$691 million), compared with 765 million euros a year earlier, the Paris-based bank said in a statement yesterday. The lender plans to increase its dividend to 1.50 euros a share from 1.20 euros a year earlier. BNP Paribas booked 345 million euros of impairments, including a 298 million euro goodwill writedown at its Rome-based Banca Nazionale del Lavoro unit. The bank announced plans to reduce its annual cost base by 2 billion euros by 2015, while also hiring 1,300 staff at its corporate- and investment-banking and money management units in Asia over the next three years. “We are in a process to invest a lot to modernize the group and to improve the efficiency quite dramatically,” chief executive Jean-Laurent Bonnafe said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.