World Business Quick Take

Agencies

Fri, Apr 06, 2018 - Page 10

CRYPTOCURRENCIES

Four arrested in South Korea

Four executives from two South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges were yesterday detained and are being questioned in connection with the alleged embezzlement of billions of won, prosecutors said. One of the detained executives is Kim Ik-hwan, CEO of Coinnest, the nation’s fifth-largest cryptocurrency exchange. The other suspects were not identified. It is the first time that employees of a local cryptocurrency business have been detained in the world’s third-largest cryptocurrency-trading country.

HOTELS

Accor to buy S African group

Accor SA, Europe’s biggest hotel operator, plans to buy a 50 percent stake in South Africa’s Mantis Group as part of its expansion plans on the African continent. The Evry, France-based company sold off 55 percent of its real estate business for 4.4 billion euros (US$5.4 billion) in February to fund the deal and further its growth in emerging economies. The transaction would add 28 hotels to the group’s portfolio, which ranges from hotels and villas to luxury houseboats. The deal still needs regulatory approvals, the company said.

PETFOOD

US merger costs US$1.9bn

JM Smucker Co is expanding its pet-food business by buying US petfood maker Ainsworth Pet Nutrition. Smucker, known in the US for its namesake fruit jams, already owns Kibbles n’ Bits, Meow Mix and other brands, but people are pickier about what they feed their furry friends, and Smucker said Ainsworth’s Rachael Ray Nutrish brand would help it grow, because it uses higher-quality ingredients. Smucker said it is paying about US$1.9 billion for Ainsworth. Ainsworth’s other brands include Better Than! and Dad’s.

RETAIL

Indonesian giant adds stores

PT Mitra Adiperkasa (MAP), the Indonesian operator of several global brands, including Starbucks, Zara and Marks & Spencer, predicted that a recovery in consumer spending would sustain its highest revenue growth in three years. It forecast a revenue increase of 15 percent for a second year. The firm is to add 200 new stores this year, including 60 Starbucks outlets, MAP corporate secretary Fetty Kwartati said. Revenue rose 15 percent last year to 16.3 trillion rupiah (US$1.14 billion), while its net income jumped 61 percent to 334.7 billion rupiah, the highest in five years.

BANKING

Barclays downgraded to junk

Barclays PLC’s ratings were cut by Moody’s Investors Service, citing concerns about earnings at the investment bank after the British lender split its riskier trading activities from its retail operations. Moody’s on Wednesday cut Barclays’ overall debt rating to one level above junk by Moody’s, saying that the bank would face “ongoing profitability challenges” and the impact of ringfencing. Barclays has about £14.8 billion (US$20.8 billion) of bonds due by the end of next year, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.

UNITED STATES

Services growth slows down

Services firms expanded at a slower clip last month compared to the prior month, largely because the pace of business activity and new orders fell. The Institute for Supply Management said its services index dropped to 58.8 last month, from 59.5 in February. The services sector has been expanding for the past 98 months, or more than eight years. The employment component of the index increased while the business activity and new order components declined.