World Business Quick Take

Agencies

Sat, Nov 11, 2017 - Page 10

SRI LANKA

Electric to replace gas fleets

Sri Lanka on Thursday announced plans to replace all state-owned vehicles with electric or hybrid models by 2025, a move that is to be extended to private vehicles by 2040. Sri Lankan Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera said the government would phase out its fleet of diesel and gasoline vehicles including buses over the next eight years, switching to electric or hybrid models. Private owners have until 2040 to replace their cars, tuk-tuks and motorcycles, when the country plans to no longer allow any fossil fuel-burning vehicles on its roads, he said.

EU

Growth forecast up sharply

The EU on Thursday sharply raised its eurozone growth forecast for this year, confident that the economic recovery was gathering pace despite the uncertainties of Brexit. The 19-country eurozone is to grow by 2.2 percent this year, its fastest pace in a decade, the European Commission said in its autumn economic forecasts. This was substantially higher than the previous forecast of 1.7 percent. For next year, the European Commission said growth would edge lower to a still strong 2.1 percent, followed by 1.9 percent in 2019.

BANKING

Credit Suisse lifts outlook

Credit Suisse Group AG raised its outlook on equities to positive from neutral, predicting that global stock markets are to continue to rise into next year. “The new development here is the rise in corporate guidance and revenue beats, which can justify further momentum into year-end, typically a seasonally positive time for the market,” Global chief investment officer Michael Strobaek said in a note on Thursday. The Swiss bank also raised its growth forecast for the world economy next year to 3.8 percent from 3.6 percent. Risks to the more optimistic view include the longevity of the global equity rally, the CIO said.

ENTERTAINMENT

Struggles sap Disney profits

Walt Disney Co on Thursday posted disappointing results due to struggles at television networks and profits falling at its movie studio, but the company announced a new Star Wars trilogy in the works. Chief executive Bob Iger said Disney had struck a deal with Rian Johnson, director of the upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi, to create a new trilogy of the science fiction blockbuster. The company said subscribers and advertising revenue fell at ESPN, but affiliate revenue rose and overall results at ESPN were comparable to the previous year, Disney said. Total revenue from Disney’s cable business, the largest unit, which includes ESPN and the Disney Channel, fell marginally to US$3.95 billion in the fourth quarter.

BANKING

Standard eyes new deals

Standard Chartered PLC’s loss-making private equity unit is planning an investment in a Singaporean crane firm, signaling that it is still open to deals even as the business shrinks. Standard Chartered Private Equity has proposed to buy shares of publicly listed Tat Hong Holdings Ltd, the Singapore-based company said yesterday. The London-based bank’s buyout unit has offered to pay S$0.50 (US$0.37) per share, subject to conditions, Tat Hong said in the statement, without specifying the number of shares involved. That is 28 percent higher than the year-to-date average price of the firm, which has a market value of US$347 million.