LSE spurns Macquarie bid
The London Stock Exchange PLC (LSE) yesterday rejected a proposed £1.48 billion pound (US$2.6 billion) takeover by Macquarie Bank of Australia, calling the cash offer derisory. Macquarie offered £5.80 per share. The LSE said it "rejects outright this derisory proposal which fundamentally undervalues the company and lacks any strategic or commercial credibility."
India gains popularity
India has displaced the US as the second-most attractive destination for foreign direct investment (FDI) in the world, news reports said yesterday. An annual survey of executives from the world's largest companies ranked China as the most favored destination for the fourth consecutive year. Global management consulting firm AT Kearney, which conducted the survey, said the US had slipped to the third place, occupied by India last year. According to Kearney's confidence index, China scored 2.197 points on the Foreign Direct Investment attractiveness ranking while India scored 1.951 points. India leads the list of countries with the highest level of investor optimism, with over 47 percent expressing a positive change in outlook as compared to a year ago, the Times of India reported. Kearney said the UK maintained the fourth place, followed by Poland, Russia and Brazil. Kearney said Germany declined from fifth to ninth, France from sixth to 14th, Italy from ninth to 19th and Spain from 13th to 17th place.
Tabcorp drops casino bid
Australian gaming company Tabcorp Holdings Ltd said yesterday it was backing out of the bidding for Singapore's proposed casino resort, citing escalating costs. Tabcorp's exit follows South Africa's Peermont Global and Singapore-listed Guocoland Ltd from the bidding process. All three were initially shortlisted for the mammoth casino-resort project, valued at billions of dollars. Las Vegas gaming giants MGM Mirage, Wynn and Harrah's are all still in the running for at least one of the resorts, scheduled for completion in 2009. Singapore is targeting two casinos, one on its resort island of Sentosa and the other at Marina Bay, just outside the central business district.
■ Nuclear power
EDF to shed 6,000 jobs
French electricity giant EDF announced on Thursday that it planned to cut about 6,000 jobs in the next two years, resurrecting controversy over the group's partial privatization three weeks ago. The company, Electricite de France, said it would shed about 6,000 jobs by replacing only "one in three or four" of 9,000 employees who would retire in the next two years. EDF, which is the biggest generator of nuclear power in the world, employs about 160,000 people worldwide and stressed that no-one would be dismissed. The reduction represents about 3.75 percent of its workforce.
Gold hits 25-year high in HK
Hong Kong gold closed at its highest level in 25 years yesterday of US$521.50-US$522 an ounce, compared with Thursday's close of US$517.50-US$518. The precious metal, which had opened at US$521.70-US$522.20, has shown no signs of running out of steam on continued strong investor demand and rising inflation concerns.