Business Digest, February 19, 2013

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 February, 2013, 6:20am

Sinopec mulls buying assets from parent

Oil and gas major China Petroleum & Chemical (Sinopec) says it is weighing the potential acquisition of oil and gas assets owned by parent China Petrochemical Corp. It does not have a definite timetable but says such an acquisition will be part of its business plan. In response to speculation that proceeds from its HK$23.9 billion share placement this month will be used for such an acquisition, it said the proceeds might be used as working capital, to repay loans and fund project investments. Eric Ng


Beijing okays project to build rail line in Iran

The State Council in Beijing approved plans to take part in the building of a high-speed railway line in Iran, two people familiar with the matter said. The project would cost at least US$1 billion, but the firms participating had not yet been chosen, they said. The United States, the European Union and their allies have tightened sanctions on Iran for a nuclear programme they argue is meant to develop atomic bombs. China and Iran have maintained "normal business co-operation", Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said. Bloomberg


Abu Dhabi fund near deal to buy 42 hotels

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority is close to buying 42 hotels managed by Marriott International and controlled by the Royal Bank of Scotland, a person familiar with the matter said. The sovereign wealth fund, also known as Adia, has been a preferred bidder since last summer and the sale includes hotels in London and Edinburgh, the person said. Bloomberg


Zijin profit falls for first time since listing

Zijin Mining, the mainland's largest listed gold miner by output, says its unaudited net profit for last year was 5.2 billion yuan (HK$6.45 billion), down 9 per cent from 2011. Operating revenue rose 21.9 per cent to 48.5 billion yuan. Zijin attributed its first profit decline as a listed firm to lower prices of metal products except gold, losses in some smelting units, lower grades of ores processed and higher production and management costs. Eric Ng