Spainís Repsol is negotiating the sale of a block of liquefied natural gas assets with more than one international bidder and expects to finalise a deal in the coming weeks, a source with knowledge of the matter said. The Spanish oil major is selling LNG assets based in Canada, Trinidad and Tobago and Peru in a drive to remove debt from its balance sheet and improve its chances of keeping an investment grade rating. Earlier, newspaper Cinco Dias said Repsol would likely announce the sale of the assets to Royal Dutch Shell after a board meeting on Wednesday. Repsol declined to comment on any deal, but said the sale of the LNG assets was not on the boardís agenda for Wednesday.
IMF gives Romania more time to meet aid targets
The International Monetary Fund will give Romania an extra three months to hit targets under an 5 billion euro ($6.7 billion) aid scheme, a Fund official said. Erik de Vrijer, IMF mission chief to the European Unionís second poorest state, said on Tuesday he would ask the IMF board to allow the agreement to run past its March expiry date. Doubts about whether Romania can sustain its IMF programme have sent the leu currency to record lows but it has recovered some ground since Prime Minister Victor Ponta won a December election and pledged to seek a new agreement. However, Pontaís leftist government is keen to avoid the fate of its rightist predecessor, which cut wages and raised the sales tax to stay on track with the IMF, only to be hammered at the polls.
WhatsApp breaches privacy: Canada, Holland
Regulators in the Netherlands and Canada say that popular messaging application WhatsApp is violating internationally accepted privacy norms by stockpiling phone numbers belonging to people who donít even use the service. Officials in both countries say that WhatsApp Inc is going through its usersí address books and copying every single phone number before transmitting them to the Mountain View, California-based companyís servers. Many communications services ask for access to their customerís address books to help connect them with friends. But under Canadian and Dutch law, personal information belonging to nonusers must be destroyed once itís no longer being used.
Eli Lilly Q4 profit falls as generics hurt sales
Eli Lilly and Co said on Tuesday that fourth-quarter earnings had fallen as competition from generic drugs drove revenue lower. The US drugmaker said it had earned $827 million, or 74 cents per share, compared with $858 million, or 77 cents per share, a year earlier. Excluding special items such as asset impairments, restructuring and other special charges, Lilly earned 85 cents per share. Analysts on average were expecting 78 cents per share.
Ford Q4 net beats Street, predicts flat profit in 2013
Ford Motor posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit and predicted 2013 operating profit will be about equal to its performance last year, as market share gains in the US auto market offset deepening losses in Europe. The second largest US automaker expects to lose $2 billion in Europe, reflecting its deteriorating outlook for the region. Previously, Ford said it expected its 2013 loss in the region to close to last yearís levels. But CFO Bob Shanks predicted Fordís losses in Europe will bottom out this year.
Pfizer Q4 nos top forecast, gives cautious 2013 view
Pfizer on Tuesday reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter results, helped by rebounding sales in emerging markets, but the drugmaker forecast earnings for 2013 that was mostly below consensus analyst expectations. The largest US drugmaker said its earnings quadrupled to $6.32 billion, or 86 cents per share, in the quarter as it recorded gains from the $12-bn sale in November of its nutritional products business to Swiss food groups Nestle SA.