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Updated: Nov 17 2012, 09:32am hrs
Euro-area exports fall in Sept as economy shrinks

Euro-area exports fell in September as the regions economy slipped into a recession for the second time in four years. Exports from the 17-nation currency bloc declined a seasonally adjusted 1.1% from August, when they gained 3.3%, the European Unions statistics office in Luxembourg said today. Imports dropped 2.7% and the trade surplus widened to 11.3 billion euros ($14.4 billion) from a revised 8.9 billion euros in the previous month. The sovereign debt crisis in the euro area is taking its toll as governments impose budget cuts to narrow their fiscal deficits. GDP in the monetary union fell 0.1% in the third quarter after a 0.2% decline in the previous three months. Greeces economy has contracted for 17 straight quarters and the Portuguese economy completed its second year of quarterly contractions.

Kirin follows Heineken with $2.2-billion bid

Kirin Holdings Co, Japans largest drinks maker, may pay S$2.7 billion ($2.2 billion) to expand in Southeast Asia, following brewers Anheuser-Busch InBev and Heineken NV as they buy into emerging-market growth. Kirin is seeking to acquire Fraser & Neave Ltds food and beverages unit as part of a proposed takeover of the Singapore- based company by a group led by Overseas Union Enterprise Ltd. The OUE group offered S$13.1 billion for F&N yesterday, topping a bid from Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, and said Kirin will buy the food and beverage unit. Shares of Kirin fell the most in a month today on concern whether the investment will pay off. The Tokyo-based company, which generates a higher percentage of sales from overseas than any other Japanese drinks maker with revenue exceeding $1 billion, is seeking further expansion abroad as demand weakens at home and growth at its Australian unit stutters.

Man Group sells Lehman exposure for $456 million

Hedge fund manager Man Group is selling off its legal claims to the estates of defunct US investment bank Lehman Brothers in a $456-million deal that will boost its net cash position and capture attractive gains for investors. Hutchinson Investors, managed by the Baupost Group, has agreed to buy the portfolio at a 32% premium to the June 30 valuation and Man may receive a further $5 million if future recoveries from the claims exceed certain thresholds. Man originally acquired the claims in July 2011 from funds managed by its GLG Partners subsidiary for $355 million. GLG was one of hundreds of hedge fund and asset managers who had struck trades with Lehman that collapsed when the bank faltered in 2008.

TNT Express sells airline ops before UPS takeover

Dutch delivery group TNT Express, which has agreed to be bought by US rival United Parcel Service, has conditionally sold its airlines operations to ASL Aviation Group. The flight operations sale depends on the completion of the merger of UPS and TNT Express, the Dutch company said in a statement on Friday. TNT Express and UPS had said in their takeover agreement that TNTs airlines would be sold to comply with European Union rules that forbid a non-EU entity from owning or controlling 50% or more of an EU airline operator. The European Commission last month warned UPS, the worlds No. 1 package delivery firm, about the combined companys high market share and said it would be seeking concessions before it approves the deal.

End of an era as Airbus sells last two A340 jets

Airbus announced the sale of two A340 passenger jets to a UK services company on Thursday, marking the final deliveries of its longest-range model but also one of its least profitable. The two A340-500s will be the last examples of the four-engined jetliner to be delivered brand-new from their French factory and had previously been earmarked for struggling Indian carrier Kingfisher Airlines, industry sources say. Airbus has already halted production of the A340, which came out in 1993.