China ten­sion seen hurt­ing progress on steel tar­iffs

National Post (National Edition) - - FINANCIAL POST - ChriSto­pher reynoldS

M O N T R E A L • Fi­nance Minister Bill Morneau says the on­go­ing U.S.-China trade dis­pute is dis­tract­ing from talks aimed at solv­ing the steel tar­iffs is­sue be­tween Canada and its largest trad­ing partner.

At an event in Mon­treal Fri­day, Morneau said the Amer­i­cans’ Pa­cific trade row puts “mul­ti­ple chal­lenges on their plate.”

“That means we’ve got a chal­lenge in get­ting this fo­cused on in the near term,” he said.

Morneau said his of­fice is in con­tact daily with U.S. of­fi­cials as well as metal pro­duc­ers and pur­chasers, but could not of­fer a time­line for an end to the tar­iffs.

U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump slapped tar­iffs of 25 per cent and 10 per cent on steel and alu­minum im­ports, re­spec­tively, from Canada in May, prompt­ing re­tal­ia­tory tar­iffs by Canada on $16.6 bil­lion worth of U.S. goods.

Mean­while, Amer­i­can tar­iffs against China have trig­gered a tit-for-tat trade war af­fect­ing hun­dreds of bil­lions of dol­lars in goods over the past year.

And the Dec. 1 ar­rest of Chi­nese tele­com Huawei Tech­nolo­gies’ chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer threat­ens to sour ne­go­ti­a­tions with Bei­jing.

agreed to buy the Fin­nish ath­letic-gear maker whose brands in­clude Wil­son ten­nis rack­ets, for about 4.6 bil­lion eu­ros (US$5.2 bil­lion).

The con­sor­tium, which in­cludes Chi­nese buy­out firm Foun­tainVest Partners, will of­fer share­hold­ers a cash con­sid­er­a­tion of 40 eu­ros a share, it said in a state­ment Fri­day. The price rep­re­sents a 14-per-cent pre­mium over the Fin­nish com­pany’s closing stock price on Wed­nes­day, and is al­most dou­ble Amer’s val­u­a­tion a year ago.

Sig­nif­i­cant mi­nor­ity in­vestors in the con­sor­tium also in­clude Chip Wil­son, the bil­lion­aire founder of yo­gaap­parel re­tailer Lu­l­ule­mon Ath­let­ica Inc., and Chi­nese in­ter­net gi­ant Ten­cent Hold­ings Ltd.

The con­sor­tium on Thurs­day signed a 2.2 bil­lion-euro, five-year loan to partly back the ac­qui­si­tion, peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter told Bloomberg News.

Anta said in Septem­ber it had teamed up with Foun­tainVest to make an in­dica­tive of­fer for Amer at 40 eu­ros a share. That news sent Amer stock soar­ing 19 per cent, its big­gest one-day jump ever.

Anta, China’s big­gest ath­letic-ap­parel pro­ducer, has been work­ing to in­crease its busi­ness over­seas and is seek­ing ac­qui­si­tions of wellestab­lished global brands. The Chi­nese gov­ern­ment is push­ing to ex­pand in sports rang­ing from soc­cer to ski­ing, as well as the in­dus­tries that sup­ply equip­ment for com­peti­tors and week­end en­thu­si­asts.

Amer’s port­fo­lio of well­known brands, in­clud­ing Salomon ski boots, is an at­trac­tive prospect for Anta ahead of com­ing Olympic Games in Asia. Bei­jing will host the Win­ter Olympics in 2022, pro­vid­ing a spring­board for sales of skis and snow­boards, while the 2020 Sum­mer Games in Tokyo will of­fer a show­case for other Amer brands.

The Fin­nish com­pany also sells Louisville Slug­ger base­ball bats, Arc’teryx out­door gear and Atomic win­ter equip­ment. Its shares were halted Fri­day pend­ing the an­nounce­ment.

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