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Updated: Nov 23 2012, 09:24am hrs
Reckitt clinches deal to buy Schiff for $1.4 billion

Reckitt Benckiser has signed a deal to acquire US group Schiff Nutrition for $1.4 billion, winning an entry into the $30-billion vitamins and nutrition supplements market after beating out Germany's Bayer. The deal brings Reckitt a new portfolio including MegaRed for heart care, Move Free for joints and Tigers Milk nutrition bars to add to existing over-the-counter (OTC) health products like Gaviscon for heartburn and Strepsils for sore throats. The OTC healthcare market is an increasingly attractive space for consumer companies and prescription drugmakers alike, due to its steady growth, even though the medical value of certain products has sometimes been disputed.

Glencore gets conditional EU nod for Xstrata deal

Commodity trader Glencore clinched EU regulatory approval for its $31-billion bid for miner Xstrata on Thursday after agreeing to cut its European Union zinc market share to below 40%. The worlds largest diversified commodities trader must scrap an exclusive zinc sales deal and sell its 7.8% stake in world No. 1 zinc producer Nyrstar, the European Commission said in a statement. The proposed remedy ensures that competition in the European zinc metal market is preserved, so that European customers such as steel galvanisers and carmakers can continue to produce valuable consumer goods at low prices and good quality, EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said.

Spain starts 2013 funding with 3.9 bn-euro bond sale

Spain sold nearly 4 billion euros of bonds with ease at an auction on Thursday that kicked off its funding programme for a daunting 2013 when Madrid must shoulder regional debt needs and will struggle to meet deficit targets. The Treasury beat the top end of the target of 2.5-3.5 billion euros at borrowing costs that were slightly down on previous outings of the same paper but remain too high for comfort. The average yield on the 2021 bond was 5.517%, compared with around 5.6% for the benchmark 10-year on the secondary market, a long way from over 7% levels in July.

Santander weighs sale of US car finance unit

Spains Santander is considering a listing of its car financing division in the US as it spins off overseas businesses to shore up its balance sheet against weakness in Spain caused by the country's economic slump.

A listing is envisaged in deal signed last year with other shareholders in the Fort Worth, Texas, unit, a spokeswoman for Santander told Reuters on Thursday.

Emerging markets boost SABMiller H1 net

SABMiller, the worlds second-biggest brewer, met expectations with a 12% rise in first-half profit, and said strong growth in Africa and Latin America should continue during its second half. Robust demand in emerging markets, which account for around two-thirds of group sales, has helped offset the impact of tough economic conditions in Europe and the US, executive chairman Graham Mackay also said on Thursday. A lot of eastern Europe is struggling, especially the Czech Republic and Poland, while consumer sentiment is not really positive in Australia either, he told reporters. The maker of Grolsch, Miller Lite and Peroni said adjusted pretax profit rose to $2.76 billion in the six months to September on sales up 11% to $17.5 billion, helped by its acquisition of Australian brewer Fosters.

Toyota to launch China-only brands from 2013

Toyota Motor Corp will launch two China-only brands through its two Chinese joint ventures starting next year, a senior executive said on Thursday. Toyota makes cars in partnership with FAW Group and Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. Hiroji Onishi, Toyotas senior managing Officer, did not say which venture will roll out its China-only brand first. Rivals Nissan Motor Co and Honda Motor Co are among other foreign automakers that also have China-only brands.