Top Headlines March 2011

GE Energy $3.2 Billion Contract for Converteam

GE Energy $3.2 Billion Contract for Converteam

FINANCE

  • GE Energy buys 90% of Converteam for $3.2 billion, secures option to buy remaining 10% for $480 million
  • Converteam reported revenue of $1.5 billion in 2010 with income from operations totaling over $222 million
  • GE Energy revenue was listed at $38 billion in 2010

GE Energy, a leading global supplier of power generation and energy delivery technologies, has purchased 90% of power conversion specialist Converteam Group SAS for $3.2 billion, with the option to buy the remaining 10% in two to five years for $480 million depending on performance. The transaction should be finalized during the third quarter of 2011.

GE Energy purchased the 90% position from Converteam management, Barclays Private Equity and LBO France. These listed investors are owners due to two previous leverage buyout operations: In 2005, Barclays Private Equity teamed with Converteam management to buy the company, while a similar deal was made in 2008 with LBO France.

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Sector Snapshot: Global Microsensors Market to Hit Nearly $6 billion in 2011

Sector Snapshot: Global Microsensors Market to Hit Nearly $6 billion in 2011

BUSINESS

  • MEMS sensors expected to be worth over $3 billion in 2011
  • Nanosensor market worth estimated at $6.5 million for 2011
  • Microsensor benefits: compact design, compatibility with semiconductor chips, minimized power consumption and lower costs

Microsensors – MEMS, nano-sensors and biochips – are a fast-growing technology group that is driving innovation across telecommunications, healthcare, transportation and many other major industries.

Their compact design, compatibility with semiconductor chips, minimized power consumption and lower cost are key benefits.

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EU Plans €75 Billion Financial Bailout for Portugal

EU Plans €75 Billion Financial Bailout for Portugal

ECONOMY

  • Bailout plan worth €75 billion in the works after Portugal’s Prime Minister resigns
  • Portugal has launched three rounds of tax increases and spending cuts
  • Analysts expect Portuguese economy to shrink 2% in 2011

European Union leaders have begun putting together a financial bailout plan for Portugal following last week’s resignation of the nation’s Prime Minister Jose Socrates, whose request for backing on more financial measures was rejected by parliament.

Jean-Claude Juncker, Prime Minister of Luxembourg and President of the Euro Group Finance Ministers, estimates that financial aid for Portugal could reach close to €75 billion, which would help support the nation for several years.

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Egypt To Choose New Leader in September

Egypt To Choose New Leader in September

ECONOMY

  • 77% of voters - over 14 million Egyptians - said yes to a presidential election
  • New parties need approval of 5,000 members from at least 10 Egyptian provinces
  • Military council will oversee the country until a new government is elected

After a 30-year reign under Mubarak, Egypt is moving forward with the rejuvenation of its political landscape, confirming a presidential election will take place in September. Over 77% of eligible voters – or more than 14 million Egyptians – gave the go-ahead for an election earlier this month during a constitutional change referendum.

Relaxed restrictions are in place to welcome new political parties, which require approval of 5,000 members from a minimum of 10 of Egypt's 29 provinces. Participating parties have just over five months to prepare for what is said to be Egypt's first free and fair polling election in decades.

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eBay Challenges Amazon with $2.4 Billion Bid for GSI Commerce

eBay Challenges Amazon with $2.4 Billion Bid for GSI Commerce

FINANCE

  • eBay agrees to $2.4 billion price tag for GSI Commerce
  • New deal is eBay’s biggest purchase since Skype in 2005 and PayPal in 2002
  • Acquisition should be finalized by third quarter 2011

Online auction leader eBay is set to buy online services company GSI Commerce in an effort to draw more customers and compete with its online marketplace rivals.

The price tag comes in at $2.4 billion, including GSI’s $400 million in debts. It is eBay’s biggest buy since 2005 when it bought Skype for $2.6 billion.

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Starbucks Abuzz With 3 Million Mobile Consumers

Starbucks Abuzz With 3 Million Mobile Consumers

BUSINESS

  • Starbucks says over three million people in US have used Starbucks Card Mobile payment app since January
  • Starbucks mobile payment system available in 6,800 stores
  • Mobile payments currently represent more than 20% of national sales

Since January, over three million coffee lovers have used smartphone applications to process their payments in Starbucks locations throughout the United States.

The Starbucks Card Mobile app displays a barcode on the screen that thirsty masses can scan at the mobile check-out. The initiative was first put into test in September 2009 and proved the fastest way to pay for those in need of a caffeine fix.

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Lessons Learned: China Stresses Safety After Japanese Nuclear Crisis

Lessons Learned: China Stresses Safety After Japanese Nuclear Crisis

WORLD

  • China has 13 operational nuclear power reactors; 25 under construction
  • China to grow nuclear capacity by ten-fold, reaching 400 GWe by 2050
  • China ranked 1st for global energy consumption in 2010

The Japanese nuclear crisis has taught China an important lesson about safety, prompting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to meet with the nation’s State Council to stress that strict security measures must be integrated in its ambitious nuclear power development plans.

China currently has 13 operational nuclear power reactors with 25 more under construction, according to the World Nuclear Association. Additional reactors are scheduled for construction to provide a ten-fold boost to nuclear capacity, reaching at least 80 GWe by 2020, 200 GWe by 2030 and 400 GWe by 2050.

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Addicted to Nuclear Power: Can The Global Energy Market Do Without It?

Addicted to Nuclear Power: Can The Global Energy Market Do Without It?

WORLD

  • Europe launches safety tests for 143 reactors; France leading with 58 reactors
  • Nuclear makes up about 14% of the world's electricity
  • Emerging nuclear power market estimated to be worth over $160 billion from 2010-2030

Today European Union leaders encouraged worldwide nuclear plant stress testing and agreed to launch a tough safety review of their 143 reactors in 14 EU countries. France – one of the world’s most nuclear-reliant nations with 58 reactors – promised to close any plant that did not successfully pass the test.

This initiative comes amid the nuclear crisis in Japan, which has the future of nuclear hanging in the balance as world leaders scramble to calm citizens and reassure investors with strict new security guidelines.

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PayPal Daily Mobile Transactions Top $6 Million

PayPal Daily Mobile Transactions Top $6 Million

FINANCE

  • PayPal mobile transactions reach $6 million per day
  • Mobile transactions in 2011 should top $2 billion, with more than $7.5 billion expected in 2013
  • PayPal has 95 million user accounts, and 9 million businesses using their online transaction services in 190 countries

PayPal mobile transactions have exceeded $6 million per day, with significant growth expected over the coming years, according to an executive statement from the online payment group.

In 2008, mobile transactions with Paypal were estimated at $24 million. This amount grew to $140 million in 2009 before leaping to $750 million last year. In 2011, transaction volume is expected to reach $2 billion and based on this growth, it should top $7.5 billion in 2013.

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Google Rumored to Test Mobile Payment Technology

Google Rumored to Test Mobile Payment Technology

BUSINESS

  • Google testing a mobile payment system in US locations
  • VeriFone and ViVOtech to provide mobile cash register technology
  • MasterCard and Citigroup to provide financial infrastructure
  • Mobile payments market should hit $618 billion by 2016

Google will begin testing mobile payment services with retailers in certain locations across the United States, say sources close to the project.

Shoppers in New York and San Francisco will reportedly be able to use their mobile phones to process payments at stores equipped with special cash register facilities from VeriFone Systems. ViVOtech group will also provide mobile check-out systems in stores throughout Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington DC.

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