Italy's biggest bank, UniCredit, announced plans on Tuesday to slash 14,000 jobs and raise billions of euros in fresh capital as fears of a banking and political crisis grip the country. The bank, one of the worst performers in European bank stress tests, confirmed it would need to seek 13 billion euros ($13.8 bn) in fresh capital from investors despite political instability in Italy and the nation's third-largest bank scrambling to avoid a government-led rescue. The bank plans to use the record rights issue to help remove almost €18bn of bad debt from its balance sheet and boost profitability. UniCredit also plans to close about a quarter of its 3,800 branches.
The sharp rally that has started at the beginning of November in the equity markets is still running even if a bit tired after six weeks. Not all the sectors performed the same, this is normal, but the differences in this bullish wave have been particularly strong.
The japanese beer group Asahi said Tuesday it has agreed to acquire beer brands SABMiller Plc’s eastern European assets including Pilsner Urquell from Anheuser-Busch InBev NV for 7.3 billion euros ($7.8 billion), The deal gives bigger international heft to Asahi, which is one of the top beer makers in its home market of Japan, but only a small player globally. Asahi said it planned to acquire brands in the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania. AB InBev said it had made commitments to the European Commission to sell the CEE Business under the business combination with SABMiller.
EU countries have approved the European Commission's proposal for fair-use limits on 'roam like home', the EC announced. The council of EU representatives, Cocom approved the rules at a meeting 12 December. However, to avoid knock-on effects on domestic prices given big discrepancies across the bloc in prices and consumption patterns, the EU had to define "fair use" rules to ensure consumers did not abuse the end of roaming by buying cheap SIM cards in one EU country and using them permanently elsewhere. This means the Commission can confirm the details ahead of its deadline of 15 December, and mobile operators will have six months to implement the changes, by the end of all roaming surcharges in June 2017.
Google and the Cuban government have struck a deal giving Cubans faster access to the Internet giant’s content, two people familiar with the agreement said on Friday, as AP reported today. Google is installing multiple servers in Cuba that will host much of the company's most popular content, the person said on condition of anonymity because the deal had not yet been made public. The agreement was being announced by Google chairman Eric Schmidt Monday morning in Havana.
Eleven more oil producing nations have agreed to cut their production to try to boost global crude oil prices. The deal follows an announcement by OPEC 11 days ago that its members would collectively cut production by just over 1 million barrels a day. Large oil exporters, including Russia and Mexico, said they would mimic the Opec protocol agreed at the end of November and adjust their own production to 300,000 and 100,000 barrels a day respectively from the start of 2017. Oil prices have languished at less than or around $50 a barrel since the US became largely self-sufficient on shale from 2014 onwards; but with Opec’s announcement that production would be cut on 30 November, prices recently surged more than 15 per cent, rising last week briefly above $55.
Multinational corporations rob developing countries of 100 billion dollars every year by using tax avoidance schemes, global charity Oxfam said in a report released Monday. The charity said tax dodging by multinational corporations cost poor nations vital resources that would be enough to provide an education "for the 124 million children who aren't in school and fund healthcare interventions that could prevent the deaths of at least 6 million children every year." Called "Tax Battles: the dangerous race to the bottom on corporate tax," the full ranking of the world’s top offenders is: (1) Bermuda; (2) the Cayman Islands; (3) the Netherlands; (4) Switzerland; (5) Singapore; (6) Ireland; (7) Luxembourg; (8) Curaçao; (9) Hong Kong; (10) Cyprus; (11) Bahamas; (12) Jersey; (13) Barbados; (14) Mauritius; and (15) the British Virgin Islands.
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