Daily Archives: Aug 24, 2012

It’s been quite a week for Cemex. Just one day after the company announced that creditors holding 91.5 per cent of a US$7.3bn loan had accepted a refinancing offer that includes extending maturities by three years, the Mexican cement manufacturer said it planned to sell a minority stake in its Latin America operations.

Both pieces of news went down well: Cemex shares on Mexico’s stock exchange have jumped more than 4.5 per cent in the past five days and are now trading at levels about 50 per cent higher than at the start of the year. Read more

Alcoholic drink maker Diageo released some impressive results this week on the back of continued strong performance in emerging markets, which now account for almost 40 per cent of the company’s revenues.

Today, East Africa Breweries (EABL), which is 50-per-cent owned by Diageo and is Kenya’s largest company by market capitalisation, released its full-year results, allowing a closer look at conditions in one of Diageo’s fastest-growing regional markets.  Read more

Kolkata: still waiting for FDI

Foreign direct investment in India almost doubled in the fiscal year ending March 2012, reaching over $36bn.

But the flows are very unevenly divided between India’s regions. Despite persistent government efforts – both at the national and local level – over the past decade, eastern India has made little progress in winning foreign investment. The south and west get the money – just as they did 12 years ago. Chart of the week looks at the details. Read more

By Jan Cienski in Grzechotki

East Prussia died with the end of the war, its native German people expelled and the province split between Poland and Russia, but now a new agreement between Moscow and Warsaw allowing for visa-free cross-border travel may start to knit the region back together again. Read more

Flows into emerging market funds monitored by EPFR have remained positive over the past week of 15 – 22 August, reaching $426m, an increase of o.26 per cent of assets under management (AUM).

However, this has been the third week in a row during which the overall magnitude of fund flows has declined, from $586m the week before and $720m the week before that. Moderated, but still meaningful, is the view from RBS analysts, who blame the summer holidays for the drop off. Read more

The Indian government on Thursday approved Disney’s plan to invest a further $180m into its Indian operations.

The government release announcing the approval said the money would be used in the “expansion of the business and making downstream investment in other companies and subsidiaries of the company, including broadcasting companies.” Read more

* Split ruling in Korea Apple-Samsung case

* Vietnamese bank chief arrested

* Shanghai stocks slump to three-year low Read more

Samsung won a partial victory against Apple in South Korea in its legal battle over technology patients but that failed to lift the company’s stock price.

Samsung’s shares extended losses on Friday, closing down 0.93 per cent at Won1.275m on heavy foreign selling. The shares had gone up more than 20 per cent for about a month since hitting a trough of Won1.09m in mid-July but they have fallen about 5 per cent over the past two weeks. Read more

These are not happy days for Apple in China. The iconic American brand, outpaced by Samsung in its appeal among Chinese consumers since last year, is now also losing out to other smartphone competitors.

According to IDC, Apple’s share of the Chinese smartphone market by shipments fell by nearly half to 10 per cent in the second quarter from three months earlier. The company came fourth in a ranking topped by Samsung and Lenovo, the Chinese company that is also the world’s second-largest PC vendor. Read more

Friday’s picks form the BB team: China’s latest stimulus plans appear to be huge, but can the numbers be trusted; a crackdown on dissidents in Angola before next week’s polls; in the political ramifications of the Marikana massacre; a look at (arguably) China’s most important banker; plus, Kenya’s success in mobile technology. Read more

China has weathered the global financial crisis enviably well up to now – apart from some of the southern parts of the country which are far more dependent on exports than the rest of the mainland.

Now Guangzhou – the southern Chinese city that is most dependent on the fortunes of the rest of the world – has turned up tops on a new ranking of Chinese cities by average salaryRead more

Philippine mining officials are blaming smuggling to China via Hong Kong for the sharp drop in gold sales to the central bank beginning last year, curbing growth in the country’s $79.3bn foreign exchange and gold reserves.

Indeed, Hong Kong official figures on imports of Philippine unwrought or semi-processed gold in 2011 were 11 times the Philippine numbers on gold shipments to the former British colony, according to United Nations trade data. The discrepancy, a likely though not a conclusive sign of illicit gold exports, first surged in 2005 and then again in 2010, suggesting the problem is deep-rooted. Read more

Vietnamese shares bounced back on Friday, with bank stocks leading the way, as investors judged that the authorities were getting a grip on the scandal  surrounding Asia Commercial Bank after the arrest on Tuesday of one of its founders.

The Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange’s VN Index rose nearly 2 per cent, even though the affair brought down another prominent business figure on Thursday when the bank’s chief executive Ly Xuan Hai resigned and joined Nguyen Duc Kien in police detention.

A lot is now riding on the ruling Communist Party’s ability to control events, limit the damage and suppress any disputes over the affair in its own leadership. Read more

* BP said to seek Brazil field sale to focus on deep water

* Codelco, Anglo settle dispute over fifth-biggest copper mine

* India faces Twitter backlash over Internet clampdown Read more

By Simon Mundy and Laeticia Ock

The resurgence this summer of a long-standing argument between Japan and South Korea, over two rocky islets that lie between the countries, has damaged bilateral relations and cast doubt on economic and military cooperation.

But for the savvy sales force at Korea Exchange Bank, the Dokdo islands dispute represents a great opportunity to translate patriotic fervour into demand for savings products. Read more

In quite a surprise move on Thursday, Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos replaced his finance minister – the well regarded Juan Carlos Echeverry – and named current energy and mining minister Mauricio Cárdenas to take over the running of Latin America’s fourth-largest economy. Read more

Could Chevron be the one? YPF, Argentina’s nationalised energy company, has been hunting for partners to help it develop its vast shale reserves, and invest the $7bn a year it says it needs to boost production. Until now, many potential partners have been mooted, but none has even seemed close to wanting to do a deal. Read more