Shell to sell two refineries
Royal Dutch Shell PLC has signed a letter of intent to sell two oil refineries in France to Petroplus Holdings AG for US$875 million, Shell said yesterday. The deal, to close next year, would also include an agreement for Shell to help Petroplus develop and sell specialty lubricants. Shell said the sale, if completed, "would be part of an ongoing strategic review of a number of Shell's refining and petrochemicals assets" and includes the Petit Couronne and Reichstett Vendenheim refineries. The two refineries have a combined capacity of 220,000 barrels per day.
KEPCO mulls US purchase
Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) is considering buying a power plant in the US as its president left yesterday to meet his counterparts at major power companies such as General Electric Co, Bechtel Corp and Westinghouse Electric Co, a media report said. KEPCO president Lee Won-gul was to depart yesterday for a six-day trip to the US, Dow Jones Newswires reported, citing an unnamed company spokesman. While in the US, Lee will sign an agreement next Tuesday to cooperate with GE unit GE Energy in power generation and distribution, the company said in a statement.
Inco to build nickel plants
Canadian nickel miner Inco Ltd's Indonesia unit plans to build two new nickel plants on Sulawesi island at a cost of US$2.5 billion, an Indonesia executive said yesterday. "We expect to start building the plants next year in an effort to increase our nickel output to 300 million pounds [136 million kilograms]by 2016," said Arif Siregar, chief executive of PT International Nickel Indonesia (PT Inco). The Indonesian company's nickel output this year is expected to be 75 million kilograms.
■ CONSUMER GOODS
Unilever posts rise in profits
Unilever, the maker of consumer products such as Axe deodorants, Dove soaps and Lipton teas, reported a 16 percent rise in net profit for the second quarter on Wednesday, mostly due to strong consumer demand. "The strongest performances have been in personal care, tea, and household cleaning products," Unilever NV/PLC said. The Dutch-British maker of Ben and Jerry's ice cream said ice cream, savory and laundry products "also contributed strongly" to growth. Net profit was 1.14 billion euros (US1.56 billion), up from 986 million euros, on sales of 10.5 billion euros, up 1.9 percent from 10.3 billion euros.
Lenovo regains No. 3 spot
Lenovo Group Ltd, the world's No. 3 personal computer maker, said yesterday its latest quarterly profits rose 12-fold as the Beijing-based company tried to establish itself as a global brand. Profits were US$66.8 million for the quarter ended June 30, up from US$5.2 million in the year-earlier period, the company announced. "The group recorded strong growth in PC unit shipments in all the geographies," the company said in a statement. Shipments in the US and the rest of the Americas rose 15 percent following a turnaround by the previously struggling division in those markets, Lenovo said. Lenovo dropped to fourth place in worldwide PC shipments in the first quarter of the year behind Taiwanese rival Acer Inc. It recovered its No. 3 ranking in the latest quarter, with 8 percent of the market, according to research firm Gartner Inc.