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Updated: Nov 24 2012, 08:12am hrs
Blackstone shortlisted for Ingham Chicken deal

Blackstone Group LP and China agribusiness company New Hope Group are through to the final round of bidding for Australia's largest poultry producer Inghams Enterprises, a deal that could be worth as much as A$1.4 billion ($1.5 billion), sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. Second-round bids are due by mid-December in the deal, which could be the largest private equity buyout in Asia this year, the sources said. Inghams Enterprises, which owns the Ingham Chicken brand, was founded in 1918 by Walter Ingham and employs 9,000 people across Australia and New Zealand. Bob Ingham, who turned 81 this year, decided to sell the business he inherited in 1953 from his father. Australian food manufacturers have been highly sought after by private equity and other Asian buyers in the past two years due to resilient sales and steady cashflows, which have withstood a slowing economy.

Business confidence in Germany surprisingly up

German business confidence unexpectedly rose from the lowest in 2 1/2 years in November, signaling Europes largest economy may regain some strength.

The Munich-based Ifo institute said its business climate index, based on a survey of 7,000 executives, climbed to 101.4 from 100 in October, the first gain in eight months. Economists predicted a drop to 99.5, according to the median of 48 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey. French business confidence increased from the lowest in more than three years this month, a separate report showed today. German growth slowed less than economists forecast in the third quarter even as the euro area, the countrys largest trading partner, slipped into recession and the outlook for the global economy dimmed.

Bundesrat rejects pact on undeclared Swiss A/cs

Germanys upper house of parliament rejected an accord over undeclared bank accounts in Switzerland, dealing a blow to Swiss efforts to retain European clients spooked by a crackdown on tax evasion.

The Bundesrat, controlled by the opposition parties after state election losses by Chancellor Angela Merkels Christian Democrats, voted to block the agreement signed by the two nations last year. The exact result of the vote today in Berlin wasnt disclosed. The collapse of an accord that would have imposed a withholding tax on offshore accounts held by Germans is a setback for Swiss banks as they try to stem withdrawals by European customers concerned about a widening hunt for tax dodgers. Germanys opposition Social Democratic and Green parties have said the agreement contains too many loopholes for tax evaders and keeps client identities secret.

Alcatel-Lucent seeks loan from Goldman Sachs

Alcatel-Lucent SA is in talks with Goldman Sachs Group Inc about obtaining a loan to strengthen the unprofitable network equipment vendors balance sheet, according to people familiar with the situation. Under terms still being discussed, the New York-based investment bank would grant Alcatel-Lucent funding of an undisclosed amount, while the Paris-based firm would offer some of its assets as collateral, said the people, who asked not to be named because the deal isnt final. Alcatel-Lucent shares surged as much as 8.3% to 1 euro in Paris trading today, after rising 16% yesterday. Before that gain, the stock had dropped 34% this year and was trading near a 23-year low.

SAP mulls Shanghai listing to tap funds

German software group SAP is considering a listing in China to give the world's biggest business software firm the option of tapping financial resources in one of its fastest growing markets. We are looking into the possibility of a third listing, a spokesman said. SAP will have to wait until China has finalised plans to set up an international board in Shanghai to attract foreign listings. China has been talking about the launch of an international board on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. It was about to kick off the new board in the second half of last year but the move was delayed by the euro zone crisis.