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TRADE WARS
Chinese group bids $11.6 bn for warehouse firm GLP
by Staff Writers
Singapore (AFP) July 14, 2017


China wants free trade deal with Canada
Washington (UPI) Jul 13, 2017 - China, a country with one of the largest appetites for oil in the world, wants to start talks with Canada about a free-trade deal, the country's president said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping met in Beijing with David Johnston, the representative of the Canadian monarchy, to discuss an evolving partnership. The official Xinhua News Agency reported that the Chinese president called for the "launch negotiations on a free trade agreement at an early date."

China is the second largest economy in the world, behind the United States. Economists at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said Chinese demand is robust, in large part because of demand from the transportation and industrial sectors.

Total Chinese oil demand should increase 2.6 percent from last year, compared with 0.7 percent growth from the United States.

"China will continue to grow at a slightly lower rate of 6.2 percent in 2018, compared with 6.6 percent in 2017," OPEC economists wrote in their monthly report for July. "This still represents a considerable level of expansion, as the country continues to shift its growth drivers from exports and investments to domestic consumption.

Imports to China in May increased nearly 15 percent from last year.

Canada, meanwhile, has reached out to Asian economies in an effort to diversify an economy that depends heavily on trade with the United States. In May, the Canadian government issued a public call to weigh in on the possibilities of reaching a free-trade agreement with China as the Central Bank of Canada warned that some of the protectionist policies from U.S. President Donald Trump left many economists and corporations guessing.

Canada is largely landlocked and relies almost entirely on the United States as its export destination for oil, a primary export commodity.

A Chinese consortium on Friday offered more than $11 billion for Singapore's Global Logistic Properties Ltd, which provides warehouses for the likes of Amazon China and WalMart, as e-commerce drives demand for logistics space.

In filings with the Singapore Exchange, both firms said they were "pleased to announce the proposed acquisition" after GLP selected Nesta Investment Holdings as its preferred bidder.

Under the deal, Nesta would buy GLP shares at Sg$3.38 apiece, valuing the company at around Sg$16 billion ($11.6 billion).

Data compiled by Bloomberg showed the deal will be the biggest private equity buyout of an Asian company by enterprise value.

It would be the second-largest logistics deal this year after China Investment Corp agreed to acquire Blackstone Group LP's European logistics business for 12.25 billion euros ($13.8 billion) in June, Bloomberg said.

GLP -- of which Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC is the biggest shareholder with an almost 37 percent stake -- owns and manages a portfolio of modern logistics facilities in China, Japan, the United States and Brazil. It counts Amazon China, WalMart, Adidas, FedEx and DHL among its clients.

It is also one of the world's largest real estate fund managers with assets under management of around $39 billion, filings with the Singapore stock exchange said.

The growth of websites such as Amazon and Alibaba means customers can buy anything from mobile phones to sports equipment online and send them straight to loved ones, driving growth in e-commerce.

This has also fuelled demand for state-of-the-art warehouse space worldwide to facilitate such shipments, analysts said.

US-based research firm eMarketer has said online sales are expected to reach $1.9 trillion this year and top $4.0 trillion by 2020.

Nesta is comprised of five Chinese companies, including private equity investment firm HOPU Logistics Investment Management and Bank of China Group Investment.

The deal is expected to be completed on or before April 14 next year, subject to shareholders' approval.

GIC has assured Nesta it will vote in favour of the buyout. GLP shares closed nearly 22 percent higher Friday after the deal was announced.

mba/mtp

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TRADE WARS
Things to know about Bitcoin
Tokyo (AFP) July 11, 2017
Mark Karpeles, the former CEO of collapsed Bitcoin exchange MtGox, went on trial in Tokyo on charges stemming from the disappearance of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of the virtual currency from its digital vaults. Here are some key facts about the world's most widely used crypto currency: What is Bitcoin? Bitcoin is a virtual currency created from computer code. Unlike a r ... read more

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