Top Headlines - part 62

PetroChina Takes Remaining 40% MacKay River Shares From Athabasca Oil

PetroChina Takes Remaining 40% MacKay River Shares From Athabasca Oil

BUSINESS

  • PetroChina first Chinese company to fully own a Canadian oil sands development
  • MacKay River project expected to yield nearly 35,000 barrels of oil per day by 2014
  • PetroChina also made a deal with Afghanistan to develop oil, natural gas reserves in Amu Darya 

Athabasca Oil Sands Corp. is selling off its remaining 40% stake in Canada’s MacKay River oil sands project to PetroChina, Asia's largest oil company, for the sum of nearly $680 million.

This announcement comes just two years after Athabasca sold 60% of its MacKay River shares to the same China-based oil company. The deal makes PetroChina the first Chinese company to wholly own a Canadian oil sands development.

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Southwest Airlines: Pricing New Focus Now That Fuel Hedging Has Expired

Southwest Airlines: Pricing New Focus Now That Fuel Hedging Has Expired

BUSINESS

  • Southwest forced to re-examine pricing strategy
  • Southwest’s average ticket price up 39% in past 5 years
  • Ticket pricing key for airline profitability going forward

With Southwest's lucrative hedges now expired, the US's largest low-cost airline has to come up with a new strategy to drive profit. 

In the past, Southwest Airlines was the envy of the industry with its long string of repeated profitable quarterly reports thanks to fuel hedging. Southwest had locked-in buying options that guaranteed it low costs for fuel at a time when gas prices were dramatically rising.

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Halifax Media Buys Regional Media Group From New York Times For $143 Million

Halifax Media Buys Regional Media Group From New York Times For $143 Million

BUSINESS

  • Sale will affect 16 newspaper in the United States
  • Revenue for the group fell by 8.2% in 2011
  • New York Times Company to focus solely on its three largest newspapers – The New York Times, The Boston Globe and The International Herald Tribune

New York Times Co. is selling its Regional Media Group to Halifax Media Holdings LLC for $143 million. The sale is expected to be completed in the next few weeks and could net Times Co. $150 million in after-tax proceeds.

The company told reporters in early December that it was in talks with Halifax.The sale will affect 16 newspapers in California and the southeastern US. Combined, the papers have a circulation of 430,000 and include The [Santa Rosa, CA] Press Democrat, The Sarasota [Florida] Herald-Tribune and The [Wilmington, NC] Star-News.

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Shell Stops Oil Spill In Nigeria

Shell Stops Oil Spill In Nigeria

BUSINESS

  • Shell to take care of third-party oil spill in Nigeria
  • Shell suspends operations in Gulf of Mexico deep water well
  • Shell pulls out of Syria to comply with EU sanctions

Disaster has been averted off the coast of Nigeria where Royal Dutch Shell contained a near 1.7 million gallon oil spill that occured while transferring oil to one of its takers around 75 miles from the coast. While investigating the spill, Shell also found another spill caused by an unidentified third party, which the company said it will clean up.

Shell brought journalists out to the Bonga field by helicopter where there was no oil sheen. The field is controlled from a ship rather than an oilrig.

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Sony Sells Flat Screen Venture to Samsung for $935 Million

Sony Sells Flat Screen Venture to Samsung for $935 Million

BUSINESS

  • Sony faces $1 billion loss, marking fourth-consecutive fiscal year of losses
  • Samsung will continue supplying Sony with LCD panels
  • Samsung to unveil 55-inch OLED TV at Consumer Electronics Show

Sony will sell its almost 50% share in its S-LCD Corp flat-panel screen joint venture with Samsung Electronics to Samsung for $935 million. After Sony leaves the joint venture, which began in South Korea in 2004, it will opt for a cheaper outsourcing option to reduce costs in its television manufacturing business.

Sony also holds a 7% share in a joint liquid-cristal display (LCD) panel manufacturing venture with Sharp.

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LG To Launch Largest-Ever OLED TV Panel

LG To Launch Largest-Ever OLED TV Panel

BUSINESS

  • LG to unveil its 55-inch panel at the Consumer Electronics Show in January
  • LG appoints head of TV division as CEO, to begin in 2012
  • LG breaks 50% mark of market share in third quarter of 2011

Thin-film transistor LCD technology manufacturer LG Display will showcase the biggest Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLED) television developed to date at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2012.

OLED is different from LCD panels in that it uses pixels rather than liquid crystals. The most recent technology facilitates LED self-generating lighting with a reaction velocity to electric signals that is more than 1,000 times faster than the traditional LCDs. OLED technology boasts thin design and superior picture quality with greater contrast.

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Odds Highly Favorable For New Online Gambling Laws In The US

Odds Highly Favorable For New Online Gambling Laws In The US

BUSINESS

  • Nevada first US state to adopt a regulated intrastate online poker system
  • On-line gambling in most states widespread but rarely enforced despite income potential
  • Other states may look to Nevada as the “gold standard” for implementing legal online gambling

The state of Nevada is the grandfather of legalized gambling in the US, and is now planning to once again become the first in the nation to adopt a regulated intrastate online poker system starting early 2012.

“It’s historic. It’s indicative of the state’s leadership role in the gaming industry,” says Vegasinc.com.

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Europe Gets New ECB Loans to Promote Lending

Europe Gets New ECB Loans to Promote Lending

ECONOMY

  • European Central Bank lending banks a record $645 billion
  • EU needs over $1 trillion to repay debt
  • EU consumer confidence falls for the 6th-consecutive month

The European Central Bank is lending its banks a record $645 billion to retain credit flow and encourage banks to give loans to businesses and households. 

This new cash flush exceeds the $577 billion lent two-years ago, and is part of the largest European loan operation ever. The money is being lent at the current benchmark interest rate of 1%, with Barclays estimating that the project will release $252 billion into the European economy.

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Japan: Fukushima Nuclear Clean-Up To Span 40 Years

Japan: Fukushima Nuclear Clean-Up To Span 40 Years

WORLD

  • Japan sets 40-year roadmap to clean up the wrecked Fukushima
  • Fukushima plan will use robots and other new technologies to navigate hazardous waste
  • Tepco shares drop as a result of potential ramifications stemming from debt it has incurred

The Japanese government has released a 40-year plan that local officials feel is highly ambitious to clean up and decommission the Fukushima nuclear plant.

After being hit by both a debilitating tsunami and earthquake earlier this year, Fukushima was rendered out of commission and injured nearly 160,000 victims. However, Japan’s detailed 40-year plan should eventually return the surrounding area back to normal.

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Investment Firm Pays $20 Million For Sun-Times Media

Investment Firm Pays $20 Million For Sun-Times Media

BUSINESS

  • Deal includes over 40 websites, the Sun-Times and other newspapers
  • Paper to focus on digital strategy, charging readers subscription fee
  • Michel Ferro to serve as chairman, Timothy P. Knight as chief executive

In a deal is worth around $20 million, investment group Wrapports has acquired Sun-Times Media Holdings, which runs top daily and weekly newspapers including Chicago’s second-leading newspaper the Sun-Times and over 40 websites.

Second only to The Tribune, the Sun-Times has a circulation of almost 390,000. Sun-Times Media had filed for bankruptcy when James C. Tyree, then chief executive of Mesirow Financial Holdings, and other investors bought it in 2009 by for around $25 million. Since then,  Sun-Times CEO Jeremy Halbreich turned the outfit around, steering it away from bankruptcy by cutting costs, partly by way of staff cuts and outsourcing the paper’s printing to Tribune’s Freedom Center.

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