World Business Quick Take


Thu, Nov 09, 2017 - Page 10


Arcor seeks partner in Asia

The world’s biggest maker of hard candies is seeking a strategic partner to help it expand outside Latin America. Arcor SAIC, the closely held Argentine food conglomerate, is willing to do a stock swap with a partner to get access to more overseas markets, especially in Asia. Luis Pagani, the chairman and a majority owner with family members, said that while talks have not yet begun, Arcor’s family ownership might appeal to other global candy makers that value similar structures. Ferrero International SA and Mars Inc are among those kind of family owned confectionery companies, he said.


Mill fire may extend rally

Lumber prices that have soared amid a Canada-US trade dispute could rise even higher after a fire at a British Columbia sawmill cuts supplies. Futures are trading at a 23-year high amid rising demand for housing and after the US imposed tariffs on softwood imports from Canada. The rally could extend after a major fire at Tolko Industries’ Lakeview mill, which accounts for about 2 percent of production in British Columbia’s interior, CIBC analyst Hamir Patel said on Monday in a note. Canada is the world’s largest softwood lumber exporter and the US is its biggest market. Lumber futures have gained as much as 40 percent this year to US$459.60 per 1,000 board feet, the second-best performing commodity, according to data tracked by Bloomberg.


Tight supply boosts UK pay

A marked decline in the availability of workers across the UK helped push up pay last month, according to IHS Markit and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation. Recruiters’ struggle to meet rising demand for staff in both temporary and permanent roles is boosting wages, especially starting salaries, the groups said in a report published yesterday. They added that it shows the need to clarify the rights of overseas workers as part of Brexit negotiations. Full-time workers in the accounting and financial industries were most in demand, followed by information technology and computing, and engineering, while employers were seeking nursing, medical and care workers for part-time roles.


M&S to step up closures

Marks & Spencer Group PLC (M&S) plans to accelerate store closures and chief financial officer Helen Weir is to leave as the UK retailer steps up efforts to turn around its clothing business. M&S is to speed up plans to close 30 stores and relocate or shrink 45 others over five years, reflecting a shift to more online apparel spending. In food, where the company has recently stumbled after relying on its grocery business for profits, it is also scaling back intentions to open 250 new stores over the next two-and-a-half years.


Central bank keeps rates

The Bank of Thailand kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged near a record low to boost an economic recovery while inflation pressure remains low. The one-day bond repurchase rate was left at 1.5 percent, with monetary policy committee members voting unanimously in favor, the central bank said in Bangkok yesterday. After years of sluggish growth, the nation’s economy is showing signs of recovery on the back of an export boom and rising tourism. The Ministry of Finance last month raised its economic growth forecast for this year to 3.8 percent, which would be the fastest pace in five years.