Business News - part 41

China Moves To Takeover Top US Pork Producer Smithfield Foods

China Moves To Takeover Top US Pork Producer Smithfield Foods

BUSINESS

  • China’s largest pork firm Shuanghui International bids $4.7 billion for Smithfield Foods in the US; deal could be largest Chinese takeover of a US company
  • Deal fuelled by 10-fold increase in demand for American meat among growing middle class in China
  • Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to investigate food safety concerns

China’s largest pork firm Shuanghui International has bid $4.7 billion to purchase Virginia-based Smithfield Foods, the biggest US producer of pork. The deal is fuelled by a 10-fold increase in demand for American meat, particularly protein-rich pork, among the growing middle class in China.

If successful, this deal would be the most significant buyout of an American company by a Chinese competitor, valued at slightly more than $7 billion, including debt.

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TUI Travel Buys 60 Boeing Aircraft For $6 Billion

TUI Travel Buys 60 Boeing Aircraft For $6 Billion

BUSINESS

  • TUI Travel buys Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to modernize its fleet
  • TUI Travel previously purchased Dreamliners, but problems have postponed flying
  • TUI Travel operates six European airlines: Corsair, Arkefly, TUIfly, TUIfly Nordic, Jetairfly and Thomson Airways

Global travel leader TUI Travel is buying 60 narrow-body Boeing 737 MAX aircraft for $6.1 billion in an effort to begin modernizing its fleet.

TUI Travel also has the option to purchase an additional 60 737 MAX planes on the same terms.

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Tablets Expected To Outship PCs by 2015

Tablets Expected To Outship PCs by 2015

BUSINESS

  • Tablet computer shipments predicted to grow 59% in 2013
  • Customers choosing smaller, cheaper tablets
  • PC market shrinking faster than expected

Tablet computers are forecast to outsell the entire personal computer market by 2015, according to market research firm IDC reports.

This year alone tablet shipments are expected to reach 229.3 million units, marking a 59% increase. The figure beats the number of laptops predicted to be shipped by end 2013.

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Compact Luxury A-Class Vehicle From Mercedes-Benz Introduced in India

Compact Luxury A-Class Vehicle From Mercedes-Benz Introduced in India

BUSINESS

High-end carmaker Mercedes-Benz has launched its smallest and most affordable offering in India, the A-Class luxury hatchback.

The new A-Class series is designed to target primarily young, first-time luxury car buyers in India. Still considered an untapped market, the introduction of the A-Class is part of the company's plans to offer new products in India this year, focusing on the compact luxury-car segment.

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Chinese Regulators Consent to Use of Boeing 787s For Airlines In China

Chinese Regulators Consent to Use of Boeing 787s For Airlines In China

BUSINESS

  • Chinese aviation regulators approve Boeing 787s for country’s airlines just four months after worldwide grounding of 787s for battery overheating
  • Boeing reveals 90% of battery retrofits complete
  • Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) resumed flights several days in advance of June 1 schedule 

Chinese aviation authorities have officially cleared the way for the Boeing 787 to be used by the country’s airlines. Among the international carriers that have ordered 787s are China Southern Airlines and the smaller Hainan Airlines, with 10 each, and Air China, with 15.

This approval will open up promising new business opportunities for the US aircraft carrier following two different cases of batteries overheating on airplanes operated by Japanese airlines Japan Airlines Co. and All Nippon Airways (ANA) Holdings in January that caused all 787 models (50 in use) to be grounded worldwide.

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Automotive Manufacturer Renault Ends Partnership With Better Place

Automotive Manufacturer Renault Ends Partnership With Better Place

BUSINESS

  • Electric-vehicle charging station operator Better Place failed to attract customers; files for liquidation
  • End of partnership with Better Place has little impact on Renault
  • Renault and Nissan investing $5.2 billion in electric-vehicle projects before 2015

France’s second-largest automaker Renault SA has ended its five-year partnership with electric-vehicle charging station operator Better Place LLC after the Israeli company filed a motion for liquidation in court.

Better Place experienced financial problems after failing to attract customers to its few electric car charging stations.

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US Clothing Retailer Ralph Lauren Sees 4th Quarter Profit Up 35%

US Clothing Retailer Ralph Lauren Sees 4th Quarter Profit Up 35%

BUSINESS

  • Ralph Lauren reports profit increase due to lower cotton prices and cost controls
  • Sales at Ralph Lauren-branded stores up 7% over last year
  • Ralph Lauren to focus on global store growth and e-commerce platforms

US clothing retailer Ralph Lauren recently reported an increase of 35% in fourth-quarter profit, in part thanks to lower cotton prices and cost controls.

The retailer says it faced a variety of challenges, including continued global economic weakness, poor weather conditions and a corporate-wide decision to eliminate certain business lines to focus on the company’s more profitable ones.

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Google Buys US Wind Energy Device Maker Makani Power

Google Buys US Wind Energy Device Maker Makani Power

BUSINESS

  • Airborne wind energy company Makani Power to become part of Google X
  • Acquisition of Makani aimed at making wind energy cost-competitive with fossil fuels
  • Makani developing new type of wind turbine

Search engine leader Google Inc. is in the process of purchasing alternative energy company Makani Power for an undisclosed amount.

Makani, which generates power using turbines mounted on tethered kites or wings, will become part of the Google X division. The Google X lab tests ideas outside the company’s norms, and its innovations include Google Glass computerized eyewear and self-driving cars.

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Luxury Retail: Burberry Full-Year Profit Above Analyst Expectations

Luxury Retail: Burberry Full-Year Profit Above Analyst Expectations

BUSINESS

  • UK-based Burberry Group pre-tax profit hits £428 million
  • Asia-Pacific market share, accounting for 35% of Burberry’s total sales, up by 13% thanks to greater demand for luxury products
  • Burberry to shift focus from North America and Europe to Latin America and China
  • Burberry succeeding in hard-hit retail industry with focus on fast-growing markets 

UK luxury-goods giant Burberry Group PLC, famous for its trench coats, reported a full-year pre-tax profit increase of 14%, bolstered by retail growth in the Asia-Pacific region, where the company is opening more branded stores.

While financial analysts anticipated an average pre-tax profit of £415 million, Burberry’s profit reached £428 million, or $652 million, for the fiscal year ending March 31.

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PayPal Set to Revolutionize Payment Processing

PayPal Set to Revolutionize Payment Processing

BUSINESS

  • PayPal to enter 2 million brick and mortar stores by 2014
  • Campaign part of larger expansion strategy
  • PayPal's “Cash for Registers” to encourage retailers to trade in traditional cash registers for iPad point-of-sale (POS) payment processing solutions 

Internet payment service provider PayPal Inc. is taking steps to change the way customers pay at the cash register by extending its offline payment processing technology to 2 million brick and mortar stores.

PayPal hopes this new service will replace the traditional cash register.

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