INVESTOR CONFIDENCE: An official 2014 World Cup football printed with an Adidas logo, in Sion May 31 2014, Switzerland. Picture: REUTERS
Adidas named Henkel CEO Kasper Rorsted as its new CEO, replacing Herbert Hainer, who has headed the sportswear maker since 2001. Picture: REUTERS

Ride-sharing service Uber takes to the skies with Airbus helicopters

PARIS — European aircraft maker Airbus is teaming up with global ride-sharing service Uber to test plans for offering an on-demand helicopter service.

Airbus’s new Silicon Valley-based innovation centre "is collaborating with terrestrial mobility provider Uber on a market pilot to provide an on-demand transportation service", it said. It will offer on-demand rides on Airbus’s H125 and H130 helicopters, it said, without giving an indication of their likely price. Its goal is "proving out a new business model for helicopter operators to access a broader customer base".


Renault aims to follow record 2015 with growth in all regions

PARIS — French car maker Renault on Monday reported a 3.3% rise in global sales in 2015, saying new models helped it to grab a bigger share of rebounding European demand and hold its own in troubled emerging markets.

Deliveries in 2015 increased to 2.8-million cars and vans — a record for the group — at a rate that was more than double the global market’s 1.6% advance.

Renault pledged to increase sales across the board in 2016 as the global market expands by a forecast 1%-2%, with European and French demand growth at the upper end of the range.


Zimbabwean beverage giant Delta’s recovery fades

HARARE — Delta, Zimbabwe’s biggest company by market capitalisation, said revenue fell 5% in the third quarter as a "nascent recovery" in the previous three months waned.

The beverage maker, which is about 23% owned by SABMiller and owns rights to produce Coca-Cola products in Zimbabwe, said revenue fell 7% in the nine months to end-December. Sales of lager beer declined 14% from a year earlier "consumers continue to shift to cheaper alcohol categories". Revenue from sparkling, nonalcoholic beverages fell 9% and sorghum beer recorded an 8% decline, though Delta said it could not yet meet demand for its Chibuku Super brand.

Zimbabwe is facing its worst liquidity crisis yet, with both the government and the private sector struggling to meet monthly wage bills.


Casino determined to avoid junk rating

PARIS — French retailer Casino has emphasised its commitment to maintaining its investment grade after ratings agency Standard & Poor’s threatened to downgrade its debt to junk status, citing weakness in Brazil and high debt.

Casino said an expected improvement in its operating performance in France in 2016 and the scale of its divestment plan would help strengthen its financial structure.

The warning from S&P comes as another blow for Casino, which has been in the crosshairs of Muddy Waters since December, when the research and investment firm said the retailer was "dangerously leveraged", used financial engineering to mask a deteriorating core business, and was only managed for the short-term.


ChemChina buys stake in Swiss trader Mercuria

Shanghai — China National Chemical Corporation (ChemChina) on Monday said it had bought a 12% stake in Swiss energy and commodities trader Mercuria, the second overseas investment by the Chinese state giant in a week.

Last week ChemChina said it would buy Germany’s KraussMaffei, which makes machinery for producing plastics and rubber, for €925m.

Neither company disclosed financial terms.

Beijing encourages companies to invest abroad to secure raw materials and expand into foreign markets. Last week Haier unveiled a deal to buy the appliances business of US industrial giant General Electric for $5.4bn and Wanda acquired Hollywood studio Legendary Entertainment for $3.5bn.


Adidas names Henkel’s Rorsted as CEO

FRANKFURT — Adidas has named Henkel CEO Kasper Rorsted as its new CEO, replacing Herbert Hainer, who has headed the sportswear maker since 2001 and is the longest-serving boss of a German blue-chip company.

Mr Rorsted will join the Adidas management board on August 1 and take the helm on October 1. Henkel said earlier that he would leave at the end of April at his own request.

Mr Hainer’s contract runs until March 2017, but he has come under fire as Adidas has lost market share to Nike, prompting the board last February to say it had launched a search for a successor.