Business confidence jumps
German business confidence jumped unexpectedly this month, a closely watched survey showed yesterday, pointing to dogged resilience by Europe’s biggest economy. The business climate index, calculated each month by the Munich-based economic research institute Ifo, rose to 103.5 points. Economists polled by Thomson Financial News had forecast the index would fall to 101.9 after dropping to 102.4 last month, the biggest monthly drop since September 2001. For its monthly survey, Ifo polls 7,000 companies about their assessment of current business and their expectations for the next six months. It is considered the most reliable barometer of the current state of the German economy and its outlook.
Nigeria demands payment
Nigerian President Umaru Yar’Adua on Tuesday ordered the state-run oil firm NNPC to recover payment arrears of US$1.91 billion from Shell and ExxonMobil, a statement said. The sum represents outstanding payments on the Production Sharing Contracts (PSC) on the Bonga and Erha oilfields, accounting for about 20 percent of Nigeria’s total oil production, it said. A senior Shell official, who asked not to be named, said that the company was consulting with other partners, including the NNPC, on its reaction to the government statement. Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil producer.
Allianz eyes Turkish firms
The German insurance group Allianz is in advanced talks to buy Turkish insurers Yapi Kredi Sigorta and Yapi Kredi Emeklilik from Koc Holding, the Financial Times Deutschland reported yesterday. “Allianz is on the short list in the sale process for the insurers,” Koc chief executive Buelent Bulgurlu told the newspaper in an interview. Analysts estimate the value of the two insurance companies at US$1.2 billion, the report said. In Turkey, Yapi Kredi Emeklilik holds about 7 percent of the life insurance market and almost 16 percent in pension insurance, while Yapi Kredi Sigorta has a market share of about 6 percent in property insurance, the report said.
Microsoft not buying Yahoo
Microsoft Corp is not looking to make a bid to buy Yahoo Inc, but the company was in talks to make other types of deals with Yahoo, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said yesterday. “We are not bidding to buy Yahoo,” Ballmer said at the launch of Microsoft’s new research and development center in Israel. “Yet, we are trying to have discussions about deals with Yahoo that might create value but not a whole acquisition of the company,” he said without elaborating further.
Singapore a model: Fitch
Singapore is emerging as an Asian role model for infrastructure finance with its small but active “public private partnership” (PPP) program, Fitch Ratings said in a report released yesterday. “While other Asian countries have executed larger PPPs, only a few have had Singapore’s success in sustaining a steady supply of new projects,” Fitch said. The program diversifies the way the city-state finances and operates key infrastructure projects, said William Streeter, managing director of global infrastructure and project finance in the Asia-Pacific region. Unlike some Asian countries, the report said Singapore’s PPP framework was administrative in nature and was not statutorily authorized.