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Business News - part 8

Oil Giant Shell Cancels $20-Billion Project In The US

Oil Giant Shell Cancels $20-Billion Project In The US

BUSINESS

  • Project canceled related to converting gas to jet fuel
  • Large cost cited as reason for cancellation
  • Shell committed to gas-to-liquids technology

Anglo-Dutch oil giant Royal Dutch Shell, Europe’s largest oil company by market capitalization, has cancelled a $20 billion project in the US, which would have converted gas to jet fuel, citing the expense of the project.

The uncertainty of long-term oil and gas prices and differentials also played a role in Shell’s decision.

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SolarCity Provides Commercial Customers Tesla Motors Batteries

SolarCity Provides Commercial Customers Tesla Motors Batteries

BUSINESS

  • SolarCity Corp offering business customers in New England and areas of California power-storage systems within next six months
  • Batteries expected to reduce peak energy consumption from the grid and create cost savings of roughly 20%
  • Company capitalizing on expansion of advanced battery market

SolarCity Corp, the second-biggest solar company in the US, is offering business customers power-storage systems to give them electricity during power outages and help cut utility fees.

Lyndon Rive, SolarCity’s CEO said in an interview that offices, schools and retailers in New England and areas of California—where utility demand charges are high enough to ensure savings—will consume less peak energy from the grid, create and regulate their own electricity. He also claimed that the power-storage system would lower utility costs by roughly 20%.

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GM, Chrysler Show Best US Auto Sales Growth In Over 5 Years

GM, Chrysler Show Best US Auto Sales Growth In Over 5 Years

BUSINESS

  • Chrysler and GM at head of record US sales gains, best since 2007 at 8.9%
  • Annual sales rate for US automakers at 16.4 million vehicles, primarily cars and light trucks
  • Following economic meltdown in 2009, automakers controlling size of incentives offered

Chrysler Group and General Motors Co. were leaders in US automotive sales for the month of November, reporting an increase of 8.9% or the fastest rate of increase since 2007. The increase, which exceeds the year-to-date gain of 8.4%, is significant as US sales are generally lower in November.

Research firm Autodata Corp reports that in November, when adjusted for seasonal patterns, the US automotive manufacturing industry recorded an annual sales rate of 16.4 million vehicles. Light truck and car deliveries increased by 16% and 14% for Chrysler and GM, respectively, and over 10% for Nissan and Toyota.

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Saab Re-Starts Automobile Production After Two-Year Hiatus

Saab Re-Starts Automobile Production After Two-Year Hiatus

BUSINESS

  • Saab’s 9-3 sedan model to look similar to those produced in 2011
  • Production will be modest, with only 200 vehicles ordered
  • NEVS to focus on electric vehicles with electric model to debut in 2014

For the first time two years, Saab Automobile, owned by investment group National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), has begun production of its 9-3 model sedan at the Trollhattan factory in western Sweden. 

The vehicle is gas powered, and will be similar to the 2011 version. The sedan will be sold in Sweden and China for $42,550, starting Dec. 10 on NEVS’s website.

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UK Grocery Chain Tesco Sees Sales Drop In UK, Worldwide

UK Grocery Chain Tesco Sees Sales Drop In UK, Worldwide

BUSINESS

  • Tesco home market sales drop 1.5%
  • Tesco sales in Asia dropped 5.1%; in Europe sales dropped 4%
  • Turnaround plan may not be working

Tesco, the UK's largest grocery chain, saw third-quarter sales fall in the UK and worldwide, a trend the company blames on a weak economy.

In its home market (which generates 70% of profit), Tesco saw like-for-like sales – excluding new stores and gasoline – fall 1.5%. Last year, sales for the same period fell only 0.7%.

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Prescription Drug Provider CVS To Purchase Medical Provider Coram LLC For $2.1 Billion

Prescription Drug Provider CVS To Purchase Medical Provider Coram LLC For $2.1 Billion

BUSINESS

  • Acquisition to boost CVS pharmacy benefits management division by providing low-cost niche drug distribution
  • CVS shifting focus to specialty drug market as mass-market drugs lose patent protection
  • CVS anticipates gains of $1.4 billion in revenue within first year after deal closes

CVS Caremark Corp, the largest provider of prescription drugs in the US, plans to purchase drug infusion services provider Coram LLC from Apria Healthcare Group Inc. for $2.1 billion.

This acquisition, its largest in five years, should enable CVS to boost its pharmacy benefits management division by providing low-cost niche drug distribution. 

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Australian Government Rejects Takeover Of GrainCorp By US Conglomerate

Australian Government Rejects Takeover Of GrainCorp By US Conglomerate

BUSINESS

  • Archer Daniels Midland already controls 20%
  • Deal would not have been in national interest
  • Rejection not a sign Australia is closed to foreign investment

The Australian government has blocked the $2 billion proposed takeover of GrainCorp, the nation’s largest grain merchant, by US-based global food processing conglomerate Archer Daniels Midland, saying the takeover would not be in the nation’s interest.

ADM is the world's largest processor of corn. It owns nearly 20% of GrainCorp and was attempting to control 100%. The government said it was not opposed to ADM increasing its stake to 24.9%.

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Sony Seeks A Patent In The US For Its “SmartWig” Technology Hairpiece

Sony Seeks A Patent In The US For Its “SmartWig” Technology Hairpiece

BUSINESS

  • Wig to include sensors, camera and laser pointer
  • Sony unsure whether device will be commercialized
  • Wearable technology seen as a growing market

Sony has filed a patent application with the US Patent & Trademark Office for its SmartWig hairpieces, which are wigs that include technology to communicate wirelessly and process data.

Sony has developed three prototypes: the Presentation Wig for use with PowerPoint slides, the Navigation Wig for use when traveling and the Sensing Wig for gathering medical information.

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US Media Giant Tribune Co. Cuts 700 Jobs In Its Newspaper Division

US Media Giant Tribune Co. Cuts 700 Jobs In Its Newspaper Division

BUSINESS

  • Tribune Company to cut 6% of newspaper staff to streamline non-editorial positions
  • Company to split television and newspaper assets as publishing business revenue declines
  • Tribune to expand its digital and broadcast businesses

The Chicago-based Tribune Company, owner of the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, recently announced it would cut 700 jobs in its newspaper department to streamline its non-editorial positions across the board by laying off publishing staff, mainly in business roles such as circulation and advertising, with some editorial cuts.

These layoffs represent around 6% of Tribune’s 11,000 total staff. 

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New Jersey To Allow Online Gambling

New Jersey To Allow Online Gambling

BUSINESS

  • Casinos and European operators partner to run 17 gaming websites
  • New Jersey market expected to generate revenue of about $500 million
  • Federal law makes gambling difficult in US

Online gambling is about to launch in New Jersey, pending website tests, possibly leading the way for the rest of the US.

Atlantic City-based casinos and predominantly European-based operators will form a partnership to bring New Jersey residents 17 gaming sites in 2013. The websites will be restricted to poker and casino games.

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