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World Business Quick Take



Honda raises ¥18.6 billion

Honda Finance Co, a unit of Honda Motor Co, raised ¥18.6 billion (US$205 million) through a syndicated loan, said an e-mailed statement from Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd, which arranged the transaction. Honda Finance, which provides auto financing services, borrowed the funds for five years at an interest rate of 20 basis points more than the six-month yen Tokyo interbank offered rate, and the deal involved 14 domestic financial institutions, the statement said. The Tokyo-based company originally sought ¥10 billion. The amount was raised in light of strong demand from lenders, the statement said. Honda Finance has announced plans to sell a four-year bond.


S Korea pension cuts stocks

South Korea’s state pension fund, the country’s largest institutional investor, will cut its stock investments next year amid global financial turmoil and bearish markets, the government said yesterday. The National Pension Service (NPS) will trim its stock investment ratio from the current 29.7 percent to 20.65 percent of total assets, according to the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Family Affairs. The NPS manages holdings of more than 230 trillion won (US$180 billion). The fund has lowered its local stock investment target to 17 percent of its assets from the previous 20.3 percent, and cut planned investment in overseas shares to 3.6 percent from 9.4 percent, the ministry said.


OZ Minerals to give update

OZ Minerals Ltd, the world’s second-largest zinc mining company, said it would provide an update on the refinancing of US$560 million of debt today. OZ Minerals had two loans that needed to be refinanced by yesterday. The Melbourne-based company previously said it was unlikely to meet that deadline and may extend it to Jan. 31. Shares of OZ Minerals, which plunged 79 percent this half, have been suspended since Nov. 27 as the company sought to refinance its debt. HBOS Plc, a main lender to the miner, was reluctant to roll over credit lines and other funding, the Australian newspaper reported yesterday.


Merrill chairman retires

Merrill Lynch & Co Asia-Pacific chairman Raymundo Yu(楊金炎) is retiring after 27 years with the New York-based investment bank, two people familiar with the matter said. Yu, who joined Merrill in 1981 as a management trainee in New York, has been planning to retire for some time, the people said, asking not to be identified before an official announcement scheduled for today. Singapore-based Yu, 53, is the third top Merrill executive in Asia to depart in the past two months as Bank of America Corp completes a takeover of the firm. Jason Brand, 37, president for the Asia-Pacific region, left this month and Damian Chunilal, 40, quit last month as regional head of investment banking.


DAE inks Air N Zealand deal

DAE Capital, the aircraft leasing and financial business unit of state-owned Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, signed a 12-year sale and leaseback agreement with Air New Zealand Ltd for two new Boeing 777-300ER planes. The aircraft, due for delivery next month and March 2011, are powered by GE90-115BL engines and are part of a four-plane order for Boeing Co 777s by New Zealand’s flag carrier, the Dubai-based company said in an e-mailed statement late on Sunday. DAE Capital currently has a leasing fleet of 33 aircraft.

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