Morning business round-up: Backing for Spain bailout

  • Published

What made the business news in Asia and Europe this morning? Here's our daily business round-up:

Eurozone finance ministers are expected to approve a deal on Friday to lend up to 100bn euros (£78bn; $122.3bn) to Spain so it can recapitalise its banks.

But the exact size of the loan may not be disclosed until September, when Spain's government gets the results of an audit of its banking system.

Investors continue to worry about Spain's financial health, pushing its borrowing costs higher this week. New data showed banks own 155.84bn euros of loans that may not be repaid.

Heineken has made a bid to buy the remaining stake in Tiger beer maker Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) that it does not already own.

The offer of 5.1bn Singapore dollars ($4.1bn; £2.6bn) is for the share owned by Singapore-listed company Fraser and Neave (F&N).

The bid comes after Thailand's biggest brewer, ThaiBev, offered to buy shares in F&N and Asia Pacific Breweries.

Vodafone has seen its sales growth slow in the first quarter, dragged down by a weak performance in Europe.

Group service revenue grew 0.6% on an organic basis to £9.98bn. In the fourth quarter, it had recorded growth of 2.3%.

Sales in Italy and Spain shrank, as conditions remained "challenging". UK growth was weak due to "increased competition and a weak economy".

Vodafone outperformed its peers over the previous year, paying a record dividend to shareholders.

Media caption,

Biz Heads

China's trade ministry will launch an investigation into what is says are unfair import prices of US and South Korean polysilicon, used in solar panels.

The probe relates to anti-subsidy and anti-dumping regulations, the ministry said.

China claims local manufacturers of polysilicon are being driven out of business.

This is the latest escalation in a trade dispute between China and the US.

The US has said in the past that China keeps its currency at artificially low levels to boost the competitiveness of its exports.

The British Bankers' Association (BBA) will have no head of Libor, the key interbank lending rate calculated by the BBA, while investigations into its manipulation by banks continue.

John Ewan, who was director of Libor when news about the rate-rigging broke, left the association last Friday.

The BBA has told the BBC that he will not be replaced while investigations into allegations of fixing continue.

An "assistant" from the BBA Libor team will oversee the work, the BBA said.

In our latest Business Daily podcast, we take an in-depth look behind the main headlines.

Around the BBC