UPDATE 2-China’s Youngman comes up with vital cash for Saab
* Saab shares rise 20 pct, top Amsterdam gainerBy Mia Shanley and Aaron Gray-BlockSTOCKHOLM/AMSTERDAM, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Chinese car maker Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co. gave ailing Saab a new injection of cash, Saab said on Thursday, keeping alive the Swedish car maker’s hopes of survival.The money is part of a 70 million euros ($97 million) loan planned by Youngman that is intended to see Saab through a period of creditor protection until Chinese authorities approve a bigger investment by Youngman and China’s Pangda .That approval could come in weeks, Saab said.”We are putting bridge financing in place so we can fund business during the reorganisation — so we don’t incur new debt,” said Saab spokeswoman Gunilla Gustavs.”We have running costs, such as electricity, that we need to take care of. There are a number of business-critical operations that need to be funded,” she added.Saab hopes the Chinese investment will give it a long-term future, though analysts have noted the company’s small size in what is a competitive market. Chinese investment has already saved one Swedish car maker when Geely bought Volvo in 2010.Saab would not say how much money had been paid by Youngman, but Swedish newspaper Dagens Industri reported on Wednesday that Saab had received about 100 million crowns ($15 million).More payments will be made this week.Gustavs would not say why the Youngman cash was being paid in chunks but said the full amount should arrive by Oct. 22.She said some of the Youngman cash would likely be used to pay October salaries. A state guarantee on wages that kicked in during the company’s reorganisation is due to expire on October 21, just days before October wages are due.Saab has struggled for months to stave off collapse, seeking new investors and selling off assets to pay suppliers and employees and resume production at its plant in Sweden.In June, Saab’s owner signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding for Youngman to take a 29.9 percent stake in the company and for Pangda to take a 24 percent stake, for a combined 245 million euros.Saab expects Youngman and Pangda Automobile Trade Co Ltd to receive Chinese approval for the planned long-term investment “during the next weeks”, it said in a statement.Still, gaining Chinese government clearance could be difficult because Beijing follows a strict, price-sensitive policy when it comes to overseas acquisitions.Failure to gain Beijing’s approval on time torpedoed a deal Saab entered into with Chinese company Hawtai Motor Group in May, while Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery’s bid to buy GM’s Hummer in 2010 also fell through.
Pace of global farm productivity must increase-Ag group
* Group estimates $90 bln/year needed for agricultureBy Christine StebbinsDES MOINES, Iowa, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Global agricultural productivity is rising but more effort is needed to meet the world’s long-term food needs, a group of agribusiness leaders advised on Wednesday.”While the new evidence of faster productivity growth for this year is welcome, it does not alleviate the concern or urgency about addressing the pace of agricultural development in parts of the world where much of the population increase will take place, especially Sub-Saharan Africa,” the group, called the Global Harvest Initiative (GHI), said.Funding needed to boost agriculture in all developing countries was estimated at $90 billion a year, it said.The group, founded in 2009 by crop processor Archer Daniels Midland , seed giants DuPont and Monsanto , and farm equipment maker John Deere ; issued its annual report at the World Food Prize Forum that opened here on Wednesday.The United Nations in May projected world population to rise to more than nine billion people by 2050 from seven billion today. About 49 percent of that growth is projected in sub-Saharan Africa and another 41 percent in Asia.”Both of which are low income areas with relatively low levels of agricultural productivity,” the report said.At present, the report added, there are nearly one billion people who lack access to safe and adequate daily food and 20 percent of the world population lives “on less than $1.25 a day.”The group calculates that an index, called Total Factor Productivity, needs to grow 1.75 percent a year until 2050 to meet food needs based on population projections. A 1 percent increase in TFP means that 1 percent fewer ag resources are required to produce a given output of crops or meat.The index rose 1.74 percent in 2011 compared with 1.4 percent in 2010, GHI said. But it spotlighted uneven regional trends. TFP for sub-Saharan Africa was averaging 0.85 percent, for instance, compared to above 2 percent in Brazil and China.SUPPORTIVE POLICY AND FUNDING NEEDEDCurrent food production trends “indicate the need for a substantial increase in food production, as well as improvements in both domestic agricultural production patterns and trade flows, in order to meet the needs of changing dietary patterns,” including more meat and dairy consumption, it said.Removing trade barriers was key because by 2050 a larger fraction of agricultural production will need to move through trade since the world population distribution by region is not the same as the distribution of arable land, the report said.”Regions like North America, South America, Europe and Oceania have a higher proportion of arable land and will continue to be a source of agricultural output for other regions, including Asia,” the GHI report said.The report cited the economic multiplier effect of poor countries investing in rural agriculture and the problems caused by laborers migrating to cities rather than staying on the land. About 50 percent of world population now lives in cities, which is expected to rise to 70 percent by 2050.China and Brazil were examples where an embrace of farming technology, infrastructure like new roads, enhanced private sector involvement and rural investment were boosting productivity.”Countries across the globe, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, must actively invest in agricultural research, reduce trade barriers, and embrace science-based technologies and innovation while working to establish a business environment to attract private capital,” the report concluded.
UPDATE 1-Patterson-UTI sees Q3 revenue above estimates
Oct 12 (Reuters) - Onshore driller Patterson-UTI Energy Inc expects its third-quarter revenue to top analyst estimates, helped mainly by its drilling segment.Patterson-UTI Energy expects revenue of $674 million for the July-September quarter. Analysts, on average, expect revenue of $668.6 million according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.However, Patterson-UTI said it expects the increase in revenue to be offset by higher operating expenses in the drilling and pressure pumping segments, due to higher activity levels.The Houston-based company also said it will retire 22 of its mechanical drilling rigs and use the spare parts for other rigs in the fleet.”Unusually high levels of repairs and maintenance expenses were incurred during the quarter in connection with operating the company’s conventional rig fleet,” the company said in a statement.Shares of the company closed on $18.74 on Tuesday on Nasdaq.
Small business employment falls again in Sept: NFIB
The survey was published ahead of the release of the government’s more comprehensive nonfarm payroll count on Friday. Nonfarm employment likely increased 60,000 in September, according to a Reuters poll, after being flat in August.The unemployment rate is seen steady at 9.1 percent.”Overall, the employment picture is weak. We are anticipating a weak payroll number and little change in the unemployment rate,” said the NFIB in a statement.Fourteen percent of respondents reported unfilled job openings last month, down a point from August.Over the next three months, 11 percent plan to increase employment, unchanged from August, while 12 percent said they would reduce their workforces. That was unchanged from August.
Christie’s sets one wine record, blows another
Christie’s auction in Geneva on Tuesday claims to have set a world record price for a bottle of red Burgundy. A U.S. buyer bought the 750 ml bottle of 1945 Romainee-Conti for $123,889. But the house failed to sell its showcase lot of the auction — 315 bottles representing every vintage from ’45 to ’07 produced by each of the first five growths of Bordeaux. Meanwhile in New York on Saturday, the star lot – a complete vertical of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild spanning ’45-’07 sold to an Asian collector for $150,000.