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Sam­sung con­sid­ers split­ting firm into 2

Sam­sung Elec­tron­ics Co yes­ter­day said it was con­sid­er­ing split­ting the com­pany into two, a move seen as nec­es­sary for heir-ap­par­ent Lee Jae-Yong to take over the firm from his fa­ther. Sam­sung has also come un­der pres­sure from for­eign in­vestors, in­clud­ing US hedge­fund El­liott Man­age­ment, to im­prove its cor­po­rate gov­er­nance through the estab­lish­ment of a hold­ing com­pany and to in­crease div­i­dends for share­hold­ers. The move comes as the tech gi­ant strug­gles to con­tain the fall­out from a global re­call of its Galaxy Note 7 smart­phone prompted by ex­plod­ing bat­ter­ies. Sam­sung said in a state­ment it would con­sider break­ing the com­pany into a hold­ing firm and a pro­duc­ing and op­er­at­ing unit and would take at least six months to study the op­tion. An­a­lysts said a split would give Sam­sung Elec­tron­ics’ Vice Chair­man Lee Jae-Yong a tighter grip on the com­pany through a hold­ing firm. El­liott and other in­vestors have urged Sam­sung to set up a hold­ing com­pany as a way to ad­dress its com­pli­cated lay­ers of cross share­hold­ings with sis­ter com­pa­nies.

Qatar bank launches plan to stem losses

Com­mer­cial Bank of Qatar will cut its ex­po­sure to the prop­erty mar­ket and lend more to the pub­lic sec­tor as it set out a turn­around plan un­der its new chief ex­ec­u­tive aimed at stem­ming a dis­mal earn­ings run as more loans soured. The Gulf Arab state’s third­largest lender by as­sets, like other banks in the re­gion, has seen bad loans rise steeply due to the fall­out of lower oil and gas prices on the wider econ­omy, which has forced cut­backs in state and con­sumer spend­ing, as well as lay­offs in a num­ber of in­dus­tries. The fiveyear plan fol­lows a re­view by its new chief ex­ec­u­tive Joseph Abra­ham, a for­mer Aus­tralia and New Zealand Bank­ing Group banker, aimed at halt­ing five con­sec­u­tive quar­ters of fall­ing profit. The lender re­ported a near-tripling of net im­pair­ment charges against bad loans to 504.9 mil­lion riyals ($134.62 mil­lion) in the third quar­ter. The bank said it aimed to cut its non-per­form­ing loan ra­tio to the mar­ket av­er­age of 2 per­cent from 5.3 per­cent cur­rently.

Maersk Line tar­gets Ger­man ac­qui­si­tion

The con­tainer ship­ping unit of Dan­ish con­glom­er­ate AP Moller-Maersk yes­ter­day re­fused to com­ment on a re­port that it was mulling an ac­qui­si­tion of Ger­man peer Ham­burg Sud. The com­pany was in­ter­ested in buy­ing the en­tire busi­ness, which had $6.7 bil­lion (6.3 bil­lion eu­ros) in rev­enue last year, and “not just... a few ves­sels”, The Wall Street Jour­nal re­ported on Mon­day, cit­ing a per­son fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter. “Out of prin­ci­ple we do not com­ment on ru­mours,” Maersk said in an email to AFP yes­ter­day. Ham­burg Sud’s owner, the fam­ily-owned Oetker Group, was dis­cussing a sale of its ship­ping busi­ness, the same news­pa­per re­ported last week. “Ham­burg Sud is one of the play­ers in the in­dus­try that is prob­a­bly too small to sur­vive in the long run. It only has three per­cent of the mar­ket,” Sy­d­bank an­a­lyst Morten Ims­gard told Dan­ish news agency Ritzau. The ship­ping in­dus­try is un­der­go­ing a wave of con­sol­i­da­tion af­ter suf­fer­ing its worst down­turn in six decades amid over­ca­pac­ity and slump­ing global trade.

Turkey tourism down 25 per­cent in Oc­to­ber

The num­ber of for­eign vis­i­tors to Turkey fell by a quar­ter in Oc­to­ber, of­fi­cial data showed yes­ter­day, the small­est con­trac­tion in seven months as ar­rivals from Rus­sia showed a marked re­cov­ery af­ter Ankara re­stored ties with Moscow. Tourism, which adds about $30 bil­lion to gross do­mes­tic prod­uct each year, has been ham­mered af­ter a spate of bomb­ings this year, in­clud­ing an at­tack on Is­tan­bul’s main air­port, and a failed coup in July, scared away West­ern Euro­pean tourists. But the drop-off in Rus­sian tourists, who tra­di­tion­ally flock to Turkey’s Mediter­ranean beaches and make pil­grim­ages to its Byzan­tium-era Or­tho­dox churches, had been par­tic­u­larly painful. Re­la­tions soured af­ter Turkey shot down a Rus­sian warplane over Syria last year. Ties were for­mally re­stored in Au­gust, spark­ing hopes for an im­prove­ment in tourism. “With the lift­ing of Rus­sian sanc­tions it ap­pears that side has to a large ex­tent re­turned to nor­mal,” said Deniz Cicek, an econ­o­mist at QNB Fi­nans­bank.

Ja­panese household spend­ing falls again

Spend­ing among Ja­panese house­holds fell for an eighth suc­ces­sive month in Oc­to­ber de­spite the un­em­ploy­ment rate sit­ting at a 21-year low, gov­ern­ment data showed yes­ter­day. Ja­pan needs stronger con­sumer spend­ing if Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe’s plans to re­vi­tal­ize the world’s third-largest econ­omy-now nearly four years old-are to suc­ceed. Last week, the in­ter­nal af­fairs min­istry core con­sumer prices, which ex­clude volatile fresh food costs, fell again in Oc­to­ber to ex­tend the long­est run of de­clines for five years. The min­istry said yes­ter­day that household spend­ing last month dropped 0.4 per­cent from a year ear­lier. It was, how­ever, a smaller de­cline than the 2.1 per­cent drop in Septem­ber, partly be­cause of higher vegetable prices.

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