In a surprise announcement, Airbus agreed to take a majority stake in Bombardier’s business in C-series narrow-bodied jets, which are subject to punitive tariffs from America for allegedly benefiting from illegal state aid. Airbus will take control of the C series next year; the primary assembly line will remain in Quebec and some additional production will take place at Airbus’s American factory, in Alabama. The deal presents a challenge in the burgeoning market for smaller single-aisle aircraft to Boeing, which started the trade dispute with Bombardier. See article.
A turbulent industry
Seven airlines submitted bids for parts of Alitalia, Italy’s loss-making national carrier. Lufthansa was one of them. The German airline recently bought parts of Air Berlin’s business after it, too, failed, in Europe’s fiercely competitive market. The Italian government has delayed the sale of Alitalia to next April, blaming the delay on the changing “strategic dynamics” in the industry.
Hochtief, a German construction company, launched a ��18.6bn ($22bn) counter-bid for Abertis, a toll-road operator based in Spain with contracts in a dozen other countries. In May Abertis received an unsolicited takeover offer from Atlantia, an Italian rival. Hochtief’s majority owner is ACS, a Spanish group.
Saudi Arabia’s oil minister insisted that Saudi Aramco’s IPO was still on track for next year. The stockmarket debut of the world’s biggest oil firm has been beset by indecision; some reports suggest the Saudis are considering selling a stake to a Chinese company rather than proceeding with a flotation. See article.
America’s Securities and Exchange Commission charged Rio Tinto and two former senior executives, including Tom Albanese, a former chief executive, with fraud. The SEC alleges that the mining company tried to hide the rapid decline in the value of its coal assets in Mozambique, which it bought for $3.7bn and sold a few years later for $50m. Rio was fined £27m ($36m) by Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority this week in relation to the same case. The company and both of the former executives deny the SEC’s charges.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average pierced the 23,000 mark for the first time, on the eve of the 30th anniversary of Black Monday. On October 19th 1987 the Dow plunged by 22.6%, its biggest daily fall to date. Back then IBM and other blue chips lost a quarter of their value. This week, IBM drove the rally in the Dow, after reporting slightly better earnings than expected. See article.
The London Stock Exchange announced that Xavier Rolet is to step down as its chief executive by the end of next year. Since starting the job in 2009, Mr Rolet has expanded the LSE’s business in a broad range of financial services. In 2013 it took a majority stake in LCH.Clearnet.
Britain’s consumer-price index rose by 3% in the year to September, the highest it has been in five years. The upward trend in inflation has increased the likelihood that the Bank of England will raise interest rates at its meeting next month.
A White House official said that Donald Trump had narrowed his list of candidates for Federal Reserve chairman to five people. The present term ends in January. The five are, Janet Yellen, seeking to renew her role as the central bank’s chairwoman; Jerome Powell, a governor at the Fed; Kevin Warsh, a former governor at the bank; Gary Cohn, who heads the president’s National Economic Council; and John Taylor, an economist at Stanford University.
In what has been a busy year for activist investors, RBR Capital Advisors, a Swiss hedge fund, launched a campaign to split Credit Suisse into three parts: an investment bank, an asset-management firm and a wealth-management group. But with only a tiny stake in the Swiss bank, RBR will find it a hard task trying to persuade enough shareholders about the merits of its plan.
General Motors announced that it would begin testing a fleet of autonomous cars on the streets of lower Manhattan, making it the first carmaker to do so in New York. The city’s busy streets will present the most complex trial yet of the technology.
Dozens of cities rushed to beat a deadline for bids to house Amazon’s second headquarters. With the e-commerce company investing $5bn in the project, and the knock-on benefits worth much more, some places are offering huge sweeteners. They include Newark, which is tempting Amazon with $7bn in tax breaks. A ranking by Moody’s Analytics that assesses what Amazon wants for its offices puts Austin out front, followed by Atlanta and Philadelphia.