Christmas has arrived early for China and Malaysia. On Friday, Canadian regulators approved the proposed $18bn acquisition of Toronto-listed Nexen, a global oil and gas company, by China’s Cnooc, a state-owned oil group.
Concurrently, the government also reversed an earlier plan to block the $5.2bn bid for Progress Energy Resources, another Calgary-based oil and gas company, by Petronas of Malaysia.
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Classic Chávez: just when people were beginning to suspect that he was at death’s door, sending bond prices through the roof on Thursday when it transpired that he couldn’t make the Mercosur summit, Venezuela’s mercurial leader suddenly reappeared.
As if to spite his naysayers, at 2.30am on Friday morning he turned up at Caracas airport, seemingly in good humour, joking with his family and closest aides, even discussing poetry. Not exactly what the more dire rumours were suggesting. Read more
Intercorp, one of Peru’s largest lenders and retailers, is on a roll.
After a successful IPO launched in September for its retail wing, the company owned by Peru’s tycoon Carlos Rodríguez-Pastor has now received the green light from the Andean country’s regulator to create a private pension fund, AFP Interactiva. Read more
Vladimir Putin took part in a ceremony on Friday to launch of construction of the South Stream pipeline that will provide Russia with a new route to European gas markets bypassing Ukraine.
Energy pundits who have dismissed the €16bn project as a Kremlin ruse designed to force Kiev to accept Russian terms for gas trading, may have to think again. It looks as if South Stream is really happening. Read more
HSBC’s $9.4bn sale of its stake in China’s Ping An Insurance Group to a Thai group takes Chinese M&A in 2012 to $145.3bn for the year to date, well above the total for the whole of 2011 and within sight of 2010′s all-time peak of $149.6bn.
If nothing else, the numbers from Thomson Reuters show that despite the economic slowdown, investor interest in China, in the country and around the globe, remains intense. Since investment is made with the aim of generating profits, and profits are best made in an expanding economy, that’s a serious vote of confidence. Read more
Green and red are universal symbols for stop and go. Or so you might think. In Tanzania, green and red mark cheap goods in the nationwide system of price banding while expensive products are gold and blue. And it is in this cheaper end of the Tanzanian market that money can be made.
For example, Carlyle Group has partly funded a $210m investment which will allow Tanzania’s Export Trading Group to open a factory producing soya protein meals, catering to those who can’t afford meat and fish. An FT Special Report looks at the wider business environment in the country. Read more
You might have thought that after the battle of the billionaires at Norilsk Nickel, Russia’s oligarchs might try to steer clear of each other in the boardroom for a while.
Not Alisher Usmanov (above left). On Friday, Megafon, the phone company he controls, finalised a $1.1bn deal to buy half the largest handset retailer Euroset.
The other half will belong to rival operator VimpelCom, where the biggest shareholder is fellow billionaire Mikhail Fridman (below left). Read more
When it comes to loans, Africa has a clear preference: lots from China, a little less from the World Bank please.
According to data compiled by rating agency Fitch, loans from China’s Exim bank to Africa in 2011 were double that of the World Bank, cementing a trend which started around 2005. Read more
This April one of Warsaw’s historic hotels, the Europejski, begins a €65m renovation that will see it reincarnated as only the second European hotel run by Raffles Hotels & Resorts – a sign that the Polish capital is slowly scrambling higher up the luxury market food chain.
“There will be nothing comparable on the market,” says Joseph Hannah, the hotel’s managing director who represents Vera Michalski-Hoffman, a Swiss businesswoman who bought two-thirds of the hotel from its aristocratic founding families. Read more
Indian retail reform finally secured parliamentary approval on Friday, with the upper house following the lower house in backing the move, which will allow foreign supermarkets into the country.
It should bode well for other imminent reforms, including insurance and pension fund liberalisation. But Prime Minister Manmohan Singh won approval only with the support of two regional parties outside his fragile coalition. As so often in India’s democracy, securing support for controversial changes requires luck and political cunning. It will be the same with future reforms. Read more
* Indonesia minister quits over graft charge
* Rich states urged to boost climate funds
* Morsi offers talks but no concessions Read more
Australia’s ANZ has become the first western bank to gain approval from Myanmar’s authorities to open a representative office since the easing of western sanctions earlier this year.
ANZ, which plans to open its doors early in 2013, will likely be followed by Standard Chartered Bank, which is not far behind with its preparations, having secured in-principle approval. HSBC is also pressing for permission for a representative office, beyondbrics has learned. Read more
Friday’s picks from the beyondbrics team: Turkey’s risky diplomacy; another ruckus in Argentina; farewell then, Oscar Niemeyer; and Rolls-Royce’s wake-up call. Plus, the challenges facing Peña Nieto in Mexico, capitalism in Africa and public policy in India. Read more
If Taiwan’s gadget makers were hoping for year-end shoppers to ride sleigh-board to their rescue, trade figures out on Friday will have been a big disappointment. Christmas, it seems, is hardly coming at all this year.
Exports in November rose just 0.9 per cent year-on-year, a fraction of what had been expected. A Reuters poll showed a consensus for growth of 6.9 per cent; over at Bloomberg, the consensus was for 7.8 per cent. Read more
That’s a nice way to end the week: PICC’s first day of trading in Hong Kong has shown that there is appetite – especially among retail investors – for a slightly underpriced IPO stock. The question is, with an opening day pop of over 7 per cent, did the company leave too much on the table?
Thai investors are getting jittery over the failure of US politicians to make a deal averting an impending “fiscal cliff” at the end of this year. They shouldn’t. American brinkmanship is becoming routine and the strong performance this year by Thailand’s stock exchange should keep investors engaged.
The Stock Exchange of Thailand has excelled itself in the last 12 months, up over 30 per cent this week from a year ago. Read more
* Asian stocks, oil gain
* Rich states urged to boost climate funds
* Morsi offers talks but no concessions
* Amazon launches online bookstore in Brazil Read more
Yum Brands, operator of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, gave a robust defense of its business in China on Thursday, saying the surprise four per cent contraction it expects to see in its fourth quarter sales there is just a blip.
The company, which spent the last two decades conquering the Chinese fast food scene, blamed the sales stumble on the slowdown in the Chinese economy. Yet in a country where the fight for stomach share is fierce and diners are as picky as their tastes are fickle, there are reasons to think that Yum’s China woes go beyond the catch-all of weaker consumer spending. Read more
Brazil’s government is making the right noises. But now for the hard part, how to revive animal spirits?
In the latest move to tackle the country’s competitiveness problems, the government announced a R$54bn ($26bn) investment package in Brazil’s creaking port infrastructure. Read more