Chinas annual economic growth may have quickened to 7.8% in the fourth quarter a Reuters poll showed, snapping seven straight quarters of weaker expansion, but the recovery is likely to be tepid and the economy may need continued policy support. The median forecast of 24 analysts polled is for gross domestic product to have expanded 7.8% in Q4 from a year earlier, quickening from 7.4% in the third quarter the weakest expansion since the depths of the global financial crisis in early 2009. The modest recovery in the worlds second-largest economy follows a raft of pro-growth policy steps over recent months, and may reassure Chinas leaders after Novembers power transition. But the outlook in 2013 remains cloudy given the lingering global uncertainties.
AMR exec Kreeger to head Virgin Atlantic
Richard Bransons Virgin Atlantic Airways appointed Craig Kreeger, a 53-year-old American, as its chief executive officer, four weeks after Delta Air Lines Inc agreed to buy a 49% stake in the UK carrier. Kreeger, who takes over on February 1, joins from American Airlines, where he is a senior vice-president, and replaces Steve Ridgway, who said in September that he would step down this year after running Virgin Atlantic since 2001. The new CEO has the experience needed to tap opportunities created by the Delta deal, which will see the carriers operate a joint venture on 31 daily flights between the UK and North America, billionaire Branson said in a statement. Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, Kreeger has worked at AMR Corp for 27 years in commercial, financial and strategic roles, according to Virgin. Sometimes it can make sense to have a fresh pair of eyes from the outside, said Douglas McNeill, an analyst at Charles Stanley in London.
Alitalia investors weigh potential share sale
Investors in Alitalia who helped rescue the airline four years ago are considering selling their shares, with some pushing for a deal with long-time stakeholder Air France-KLM, sources with knowledge of the situation said on Monday. Shares in Italian holding company IMMSI, which owns 7% of Alitalia, closed up 18% at 0.53 euros following speculation of a possible sale to Air France-KLM. But the Franco-Dutch group which owns a quarter of Italys flagship airline said there were no talks going on. There is nothing. There are no negotiations, Air Frances chief executive Alexandre de Juniac told Reuters. He also said that the airlines resources for such a move were extremely limited.
CEO says Novartis will focus on mid-sized deals
Novartis AG will limit deals to $4 billion this year and wont sell assets such as its money-losing vaccines unit, Chief Executive Officer Joe Jimenez said. I dont think we need a big acquisition in the short term, Jimenez said in an interview at the JPMorgan Chase & Co health conference in San Francisco. You may see us do more bolt-ons, that would range between $2 billion and $4 billion, not more than that. The Basel, Switzerland-based drugmaker wants to grow its generics business by adding respiratory and dermatology products as well as injectable cancer therapies, Jimenez said. The Swiss drugmaker may do more transactions similar to last years $1.5 billion acquisition of closely held Fougera Pharmaceuticals, which allowed it to gain generic skin medications. Novartis is on the prowl for assets that will help it fill revenue holes left by expired patents.
Wynn to form unit to look beyond Las Vegas
Wynn Resorts will form a new subsidiary to develop hotels and casinos outside Las Vegas, to be headed by Gamal Aziz, the former president and CEO of MGM Hospitality, chairman Steve Wynn said on Monday. The formation of Wynn Resorts Development LLC, continues Wynns efforts to expand beyond Las Vegas, after opening properties in Macau, the worlds largest gambling destination, and announcing plans to build a casino in the islands area known as the Cotai strip. Steve Wynn said the company needed to expand its leadership given its activities in North America and Cotai.