A federal jury in the U.S has ordered Dow Chemical (NYSE:$DOW) to pay $400 million in fines over price fixing of urethane. Several companies were named in the $1 billion class action law suit filed by urethane buyers but Dow was the only one that had not settled. Other defendants in the case included Bayer AG, Huntsman Corp’s (NYSE:$HUN) Huntsman International and BASF SE. Dow will try to have the lawsuit dismissed in a post-trial motion.However, if the verdict is sustained by the judge, then the $400 million could potentially become $1.2 billion under federal anti-trust statutes.
While the world’s attention was diverted from the reforms in Myanmar to Hurricane Sandy in the U.S., the little known landlocked communist country Laos–with a population of just 6.4 million and one of the least developed countries of the world — was finally able to secure itself a place in the world trade organization (WTO) after it applied for membership some 15 years ago. Meanwhile, the Asian Development Bank is expecting Laos to post GDP growth of 7.9% for 2012/13 which will be driven in part by its electricity sector. Laos has been working on several hydro power plants and its production in the next three years will reach 3,856MW from the current level 2,560MW. It has 17 hydropower plants working at the moment that light up 78% of its houses while it has dozens of projects in pipeline. If things go according to its plan, Laos would emerge as the net exporter of electricity by 2015, a landmark which most of its peers have been unable to reach.
PepsiCo (NYSE:$PEP) its expanding its PepsiCo10 program, that begins their making investments into digital media startups in Brazil. The strategy is to build a strong image of the company by investing in mobile, entertainment and retail startups in the digital media industry. For the past two years, the initiative has been focusing on companies in the US and Europe and this will be the first time that Pepsi is stepping into a developing market. In this program, Pepsi will invite University students to submit their innovative business ideas to promote engagement of Pepsi with its consumers.
General Electric (NYSE:$GE) has sold 7.6% of its 32.9% stake in Thailand’s(AMEX:$THD) Bank of Ayudhya Pcl for $462 million and is reviewing bids from Singapore’s (AMEX:$EWS) OCBC and Malaysia’s (AMEX:$EWM) CIMB for the remaining 25%.Ayudhya is not in a bad shape and according to Citigroup, its profits are likely to double in two years, after increasing by 115% since 2008, due to increase in demand for consumer loans.This sale will help put behind them their days as a financial company and complete the transition back to a manufacturing and research powerhouse.
According to some estimates global fresh water requirements are expected to rise by as much as 50% from 4,500 billion cubic meters in 2010 to 6,999 billion cubic meters in 2030. The current global water supplies will be able to satisfy just 60% of that projected demand. Furthermore, the UN believes that fresh water sources will deplete by 20% per capita. This high demand for drinking water will necessitate first large investment and, most likely a rise in price, depending on what technologies are developed.The best estimates out there point to water becoming a $400 billion industry worldwide.
Peter Pham is an author, international fund manager, and a registered financial director by the Cayman Monetary Authority (CIMA). In 2013 he published his first book entitled, The Big Trade: Simple Strategies for Maximum Market Returns. He currently manages the portfolio of a global hedge fund and runs an asset management company, Phoenix Capital. (read more)
The Big Trade: Simple Strategies for Maximum Market Returns
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