World Business Quick Take


Sat, Oct 27, 2018 - Page 10


Report outlines scenarios

A no-deal Brexit would drag the UK economy to a near standstill next year, according to a new report. If Britain leaves the EU without an agreement, reverting to the WTO’s most-favored-nation status rules, GDP would increase only 0.3 percent next year, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research said on Friday. By contrast, a trade accord that preserves most of the current arrangements would mean the economy will grow 1.9 percent next year, more than the think tank’s previous forecast of 1.7 percent.


Chile approves lithium deal

Chile’s constitutional court gave the green light on Thursday to Chinese group Tianqi Lithium Corp’s (天齊鋰業) proposed acquisition of a 24 percent stake in Chile’s lithium producer SQM for US$4.1 billion. The court rejected an appeal to halt the sale by SQM’s controlling shareholder, the Pampa Group, which argued that such a deal would break competition rules as Tianqi also owns a stake in Albermarle, a direct competitor of SQM. Chile has the world’s largest reserves of lithium and alongside Australia produces about 80 percent of total global output.


BASF confirms weak year

German chemicals giant BASF AG yesterday confirmed a full-year outlook for weaker profits after a slowdown in the third quarter, adding that one-off factors weighed especially strongly on its bottom line. Net profit at the Ludwigshafen-based group fell 10 percent year-on-year, to 1.2 billion euros (US$1.36 billion), in line with forecasts from analysts surveyed by Factset. Operating profit before special items fell 14 percent to 1.47 billion euros, although revenues were 8 percent higher at 15.6 billion as BASF raised prices and sales volumes.


Bitfury mulls initial listing

Cryptocurrency-mining start-up Bitfury is weighing strategic options including an initial public offering in what could be Europe’s first major listing in the industry, according to people familiar with the matter. Bitfury has reached out to global investment banks as it explores making its trading debut in Amsterdam, London or Hong Kong as early as next year, the people said, asking not to be identified, as the details are not public.


Czech eyes ‘Le Monde’ stake

Czech investor Daniel Kretinsky’s Czech Media Invest (CMI) is to buy a 49 percent stake in Le Nouveau Monde, the main shareholder of French daily Le Monde, a spokesman for Kretinsky said on Thursday. The spokesman declined to provide further details on the transaction. Kretinsky is the majority owner and chief executive of power and infrastructure group EPH, which owns power plants across Europe.


RBS raises Brexit provision

Royal Bank of Scotland PLC (RBS) has taken a £100 million (US$128 million) impairment provision to account for greater economic uncertainty in the first concrete sign that Brexit is clouding the outlook of a big British bank. The provision, announced with RBS’ third-quarter results, took the bank’s impairments for the period to £240 million, up from £143 million last year. It also reported a pre-tax profit of £961 million and an attributable profit of £448 million. That was below the £507 million expected by analysts.