Business Digest, February 20, 2013

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 February, 2013, 5:30am

HSBC selling Panama unit to Colombian bank

HSBC has agreed to sell HSBC Bank (Panama) to Bancolombia - the largest commercial bank in Colombia - for US$2.1 billion in cash. The price is based on the unit's estimated net asset value of US$700 million at completion, which is expected by the third quarter of this year. HSBC Latin America chief executive Antonio Losada said the sale was part of the bank's strategy to concentrate on the core markets of Brazil, Mexico and Argentina in Latin America. The Panama unit had unaudited assets of US$7.6 billion, loans of US$5.7 billion and deposits of US$5.8 billion at the end of September last year. Eric Ng


Year of Snake sends Sa Sa's sales soaring

Cosmetics retailer Sa Sa International says its Hong Kong and Macau retail sales grew about 30 per cent in the first seven days of the Lunar New Year from the first seven days of last year's Lunar New Year. Same-store sales rose 20 per cent. Eric Ng


Beijing to increase fuel prices today

Beijing will raise the retail price ceiling for petrol and diesel on the mainland by between 250 yuan (HK$310) and 300 yuan per tonne from today, consultancy C1 Energy said. The 22-day moving average price of a basket of crudes on Friday was 4.3 per cent above the level of the last adjusted fuel prices, hitting a trigger point for a rise. Reuters


BMW recalls 750,000 cars around the world

German luxury car maker BMW is recalling about 750,000 cars worldwide, including 500,000 in the United States. Various versions of its 1-Series and 3-Series cars built between 2007 and 2011 and its Z4 built between 2009 and 2011 have a battery cable connector that could break and cause a loss of electrical power, causing the car to stall and even crash. AFP