News in brief


  • Business
  • Thursday, 13 Mar 2003

Sinopec buys into giant Kazakh field 

LONDON: Sinopec, China’s biggest refiner, has paid US$615mil for a one-twelfth stake in one of the world’s largest oil and gas projects, in Kazakhstan, thereby reducing the country’s long-term reliance on Middle East crude. 

The seller was British oil and gas producer BG Group plc, which last week sold a similar one-twelfth stake in the North Caspian Sea Production Sharing Agreement to CNOOC Ltd, China’s main offshore oil producer, also for US$615mil. – Reuters 

Casino operators can now list in HK  

HONG KONG: The local stock exchange has updated an internal guideline to allow casino operators and bookmakers to list their shares in the territory. 

Companies in the gaming business can now apply for share sales here as long as their operations are legal and outside the territory, according to a statement from the exchange. Under the new guideline, listed firms can also invest in gaming businesses. 

According to local press reports, Macau’s Galaxy Casino, a business venture led by Las Vegas gaming tycoon Sheldon Adelson, is seeking a Hong Kong initial public offering worth some HK$4.4bil. – Reuters 

Telstra buys balance NZ unit stake  

WELLINGTON: Australian telco Telstra Corp has agreed to buy the balance 42% of New Zealand unit TelstraClear Ltd from loss-making pay-TV operator Austar United Communications Ltd. 

Telstra said it would pay A$25mil for the outstanding stake in TelstraClear, subject to various conditions, including regulatory approval. – Reuters 

Govt to sell up to 35% of Air France  

PARIS: The French government hopes to press ahead with plans to sell off most of its controlling stake in Air France this year, provided market conditions are right. 

Transport Minister Gilles de Robien said the government would likely put between 30% and 35% of the carrier on the market during the second semester of 2003. The state currently owns 54.4% of the airline. – AP  

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