EU output flat in July
Official EU figures show that industrial production in the 16 countries that use the euro was flat in July, in contrast to expectations for a modest 0.2 percent increase. The figures from Eurostat, the EU’s statistics office, provided further evidence that the strong rebound in the industrial sector in the spring may have run its course and that the eurozone economy would not grow as rapidly in the third quarter as it did in the second. Eurostat also said yesterday that industrial production was unchanged for the wider 27-country EU, which also includes non-euro members such as Britain and Sweden.
Disney, France extend deal
Euro Disney, Europe’s top tourist attraction, was to extend its partnership deal yesterday with France to 2030, enlarging the theme park in Paris and eyeing 8 billion euros (US$10.3 billion) in extra investment. The amended deal gives Euro Disney the right to build a third theme park “in the long term,” the company said in a statement, and extends the size of the current site from 1,943 hectares to 2,230 hectares. Euro Disney, which said it contributes more than 6 percent of foreign tourist revenue in France, will also develop a project with the Pierre & Vacances group based on sustainable development for an investment of 1.8 billion euros.
Philips sets new targets
Royal Philips Electronics NV, the world’s biggest maker of lights, said yesterday it aimed to grow sales at least 2 percent faster than the global economy over the coming five years, and earnings per share at twice the pace of sales. The company abandoned its previous set of financial targets after the financial crisis of 2008. In a statement, the Amsterdam-based company said it would also have operating earnings after amortization of goodwill of between 10 and 13 percent of sales in 2011 to 2015.
Kia halts Iran exports
South Korea’s Kia Motors, whose Pride model is ubiquitous on Iranian roads, said yesterday it had suspended exports to the state partly in response to Seoul’s nuclear-related sanctions. Kia’s Pride, a small hatchback, accounts for 30 to 40 percent of all vehicles on Iran’s roads, the company said. The firm last year exported 4,210 complete vehicles to Iran and 17,040 cars in kit form for local assembly.
SK to invest in Brazil firm
South Korea’s top trading firm, SK Networks, said yesterday it had signed a non-binding deal to buy a stake in a Brazilian iron ore mining company for about US$700 million. SK Networks said it would buy about 11 to 14 percent of MMX Mineracao and Metalicos as part of efforts to diversify its business portfolio. The company said in a statement that it could secure 9 million tonnes of iron ore a year from the investment.
Virgin may drop Tasman
Australian budget airline Virgin Blue may stop flying its trans-Tasman route, Virgin Airlines founder Richard Branson warned, after regulators last week said it would likely scupper the proposed cooperation between Virgin Blue and Air New Zealand on flights between Australia and New Zealand because it could disadvantage customers. Branson said it was now possible that Virgin Blue would no longer fly across the Tasman Sea, leaving Australian airline Qantas and its budget offshoot, Jetstar, to dominate the route.