Foreign business news in brief

HONG KONG: Hong Kong has reached a deal with the Walt Disney Co to expand the local Disney theme park, seen as necessary to bolster the park’s long-term prospects against a Shanghai rival, a government source said yesterday.

The agreement is expected to be announced by June 30, with details of the deal to be laid out to local legislators in a special meeting next Tuesday.

The Hong Kong Economic Times yesterday reported that the deal was expected to be worth HK$7bil (US$903.3mil) of which HK$4bil would be used for expansion.

But a Disney spokeswoman in the United States told Reuters that discussions were ongoing and that there was “no” deal yet. — Reuters

HOUSTON: R. Allen Stanford should be released on bond because he has no intention of fleeing before he can be tried on charges he swindled US$7bil from investors, his lawyer said.

The Texas financier was scheduled to appear at a federal court hearing in Houston yesterday to determine whether he should be jailed until trial on charges he ran a Ponzi scheme involving certificates of deposit sold by his Antiguan bank. Stanford has been in US custody since his arrest in Fredericksburg, Virginia, on June 18. — Bloomberg

NEW YORK: Warren Buffett said on Wednesday the US economy has “no bounce” and will take time to recover, but there is no risk of deflation to push it further into despair.

Speaking on CNBC television, the world’s second richest person also praised efforts by the Obama administration and Federal Reserve to jump-start economic activity.

He lamented that the slowdown had hurt his insurance and investment company Berkshire Hathaway Inc which runs close to 80 businesses and in the January-to-March period had its first quarterly loss since 2001. — Reuters

NEW YORK: Private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR) announced plans on Wednesday to merge into its Amsterdam-listed fund, a roundabout way of gaining a European listing, while holding the door open for a possible move to the New York Stock Exchange.

KKR, one of the world’s most powerful private equity firms, has been trying for two years to follow rival Blackstone Group LP and become a publicly traded company.

Under the deal proposed on Wednesday to merge with KKR Private Equity Investors LP (KPE), KKR plans to keep the Amsterdam fund listing a divergence from previous plans to delist it. KPE would own 30% of the combined business, an increase from the original 21% proposed to KPE shareholders. — Reuters

Daily: China to list railway operators

SHANGHAI: The Chinese government plans to float the major assets of its three major railway operators to help bankroll the frantic expansion of its railway system, the China Daily said yesterday.

The ministry would fold the assets of railway operators in Beijing, Shanghai and Jinan, worth 300 billion yuan (US$43.92bil) into a company which would then seek a public listing, the official English language newspaper said, citing unnamed officials. No timetable was provided. — Reuters

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