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  • *Holcim and Lafarge rise after agreeing new merger terms. LONDON, March 20- Construction companies Holcim and Lafarge outperformed flat pan-European equity indexes on Friday after salvaging their merger. Holcim rose 1.3 percent and Lafarge added 3.5 percent after the companies agreed new terms on a planned multi-billion-euro deal that would create the...

  • LONDON, March 20- European shares inched higher in early deals on Friday, helped by gains in the construction sector after Holcim and Lafarge agreed to new merger terms. Holcim rose 1.6 percent and Lafarge added 3.6 percent after the companies agreed to new terms, including a new share-swap ratio for the deal, over their planned multi-billion-euro merger, which...

  • *Gold up 1 pct for the week after hitting 4- mth low earlier Dovish Fed boosts demand for gold. SINGAPORE, March 20- Gold held recent gains to trade near a two-week high on Friday and was headed for its biggest weekly jump since January, after the Federal Reserve cautioned over its rate hike path and U.S. economic growth. "Gold still getting traction from dovishly...

  • SINGAPORE, March 20- Gold retained recent gains to trade near a two-week high on Friday and was headed for its biggest weekly jump since January after the Federal Reserve cautioned over its rate hike path and U.S. economic growth. *Spot gold was steady at $1,170.80 an ounce by 0032 GMT, near a two-week high of $1,177.46 hit on Thursday. *Gold had dipped to a four-month...

  • What's China up to: World banker, economy   Thursday, 19 Mar 2015 | 8:17 PM ET
    What's China up to: World banker, economy

    Ron Napier, head of Napier Investment Advisors, discusses news that China will lend Venezuela around $10 billion in coming months and discusses how the country is coping with the persisting slowdown.

  • MILAN/ LONDON, March 19- Italy's biggest utility Enel is banking on emerging markets, green energy and digital power grids to boost profits and dividends over the next five years, after joining rivals by cleaning up its finances with writedowns on ailing plants. Under the first business plan of CEO Francesco Starace, Enel said it would invest 18 billion euros, more...

  • Battered Africa gold valuations to spur mines sales Thursday, 19 Mar 2015 | 8:07 AM ET

    JOHANNESBURG/ LONDON, March 19- Some of the lowest valuations in decades and rising pressure on Africa's gold producers to restructure or perish are likely to spur a wave of acquisitions in a sector attracting a growing number of potential buyers. Gold producers are now being forced to shape up to stay afloat and their focus has switched to cutting costs and...

  • The weather forecast is better more than 2,000 kilometers to the northeast, in the Arctic islands of Svalbard, where spectators can hope for a clear day. We love to watch them and being able to look at the corona with your eyes in the middle of the eclipse is really an exciting moment, to experience the diamond rings coming and going, "said Les Anderson, a 60- year-old...

  • French retailer Carrefour returning to Algeria - source Thursday, 19 Mar 2015 | 7:02 AM ET

    *Carrefour expanding in Africa through franchises, JVs. PARIS, March 19- Carrefour is preparing to return to Algeria after a six-year absence, as part of a drive to tap booming consumer demand in Africa. Rising incomes and an underdeveloped retail sector have made Africa an important new growth destination for retailers and consumer goods companies, with the...

  • Private equity investors pile into Africa Tuesday, 17 Mar 2015 | 2:24 PM ET
    Skyline of the business district of Lagos, Nigeria.

    Private equity firms are doing more deals in Africa to tap the continent's growing population and wealth.

  • *South32 net debt at $674 mln, well below forecasts. *Net assets $12.95 bln, based on book value. MELBOURNE/ LONDON, March 17- BHP Billiton said a proposed $13 billion spinoff of South32 would give the world's biggest miner a strong chance to ride out tough conditions in commodity markets and was a more attractive option than an asset sale.

  • PRETORIA, March 17- South Africa's current account deficit narrowed in the final quarter of 2014, although the economy and the rand remain vulnerable to shocks caused by capital outflows, the central bank said. The South African Reserve Bank, in its quarterly bulletin released on Tuesday, said rising exports helped shrink the current account deficit to 5.1...

  • GENEVA, March 17- Nigeria and Ivory Coast are looking to emulate Senegal's successful move into the market for Islamic bonds, the head of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector told Reuters. Despite strong growth in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, Islamic finance has lagged in Africa, home to a quarter of the world's Muslims,...

  • *South32 net debt at $674 mln, well below forecasts. MELBOURNE, March 17- BHP Billiton has put far less debt than expected into its $13 billion South32 spin-off, positioning the company formed from its unloved assets to weather tough markets and still pay a dividend. Named for the line of latitude linking its two main centers, Australia and South Africa, South32 had...

  • MELBOURNE, March 17- BHP Billiton has positioned its South32 spin-off for future growth, tipping in much less debt than expected to the new company made up of BHP's unloved assets when it lists in May. In the longer term, BHP would be better placed to achieve "substantial productivity gains beyond the $4 billion per annum already targeted" by the end of 2016/ 17, Chief...

  • LONDON, March 16- South Africa's mining minister said on Monday he expected to start issuing shale exploration licences later this year. "At the moment we are going through the consultation process," Ngoako Ramatlhodi told Reuters on the sidelines of the Chatham House extractive Industries in Africa conference. Earlier in the day, Royal Dutch Shell had said it...

  • UPDATE 2-Shell pulls back from shale in South Africa Monday, 16 Mar 2015 | 10:23 AM ET

    JOHANNESBURG, March 16- Royal Dutch Shell is pulling back from its shale projects in South Africa due to lower energy prices and delays in obtaining an exploration licence for the onshore Karoo Basin, it said on Monday. Chairman Bonang Mohale, who said the company was going to a "low cost holding position", told Reuters oil prices would need to be between $60 to $80 a...

  • *Africa key to rising global food demand. Human food production will need to increase 70 percent by 2050 to meet rising demand and Africa is home to more than half of the world's unused arable land, according to United Nations research. "Africa is key to global food supply and we need to unlock its potential," said Mark Davies, a dotcom veteran who runs Esoko, which...

  • LONDON, March 16- Scientists are to test a new two-shot Ebola vaccine using an experimental shot from Britain's GlaxoSmithKline, which is already in clinical trials in Africa, and a new kind of booster from Emergent BioSolutions. The Maryland- based biotech company said on Monday its modified vaccinia Ankara Ebola Zaire vaccine would be used in an initial Phase...

  • *Number of boats arriving in Italy jumps 43 percent. BRUSSELS, March 13- European Union foreign ministers will on Monday consider helping set up camps in the Middle East and Africa where people can request asylum on site without having to risk their lives crossing the Mediterranean to reach Europe, officials said. "The idea is to establish camps in Africa, on the...