Pharmaceutical makers are worried about a shortage of opium and are asking Australia to expand its poppy production outside of Tasmania. Boeing shares have dropped as the search for the Malaysian Airlines jet continues. Chiquita to merge with Fyffes to become world's largest banana producer. China will allow private banks. And…the passengers of the ill-fated Carnival Triumph cruise ship are demanding $5,000 per month for life.
Chiquita to merge with Fyffes to create world’s largest banana supplier
Chiquita Brands International Inc. agreed to merge with Fyffes PLC to create the world’s largest banana company, according to the Wall Street Journal. The $1.07 billion all-stock deal will create a new company to be called ChiquitaFyffes, which will have 32,000 employees and $4.6 billion in annual revenue from sales of more than 160 million boxes of bananas. The new company will be larger than Dole Food Co., its chief rival. ChiquitaFyffes will be headquartered in Dublin. Four companies control more than 80 percent of the global banana trade and anti-trust issues may become a challenge for the merger.
Pharmaceutical makers warn on poppy shortage
Big pharmaceutical makers, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, and TPI Enterprises of Australia, are lobbying the Australian government to be allowed to grow opium poppies on the Australian mainland for the first time. Currently, poppies are only grown on the remote island of Tasmania. According to CNBC, there is an increasing demand for painkillers and the drug makers are worried about the current amount of available opium. The UN has indicated that demand for pain relief more than tripled between 1993 and 2012 as more middle class consumers, especially in Asia, consumed more pain relief medications. Poppy growing and processing is the primary business of Tasmania, who argues that it should retain its monopoly in the marketplace because it is away from large population centers and has the perfect climate. (The worry is that the poppy crop cannot be controlled if it is around larger populations.) Tasmania currently has a 49 percent of the global market share for opium. Recently, bad weather has impacted its poppy crop and threatened the production of the pharmaceutical companies.
China allows private banks
In an effort to step up the liberalization of its financial sector, China has launched a pilot project to establish five banks owned entirely by private companies. The Financial Times reports that the banks will be owned entirely by private companies such as Alibaba and Tencent and will be set up in the cities of Shanghai and Tianjin. The central bank has also said that they will set a government cap on bank deposit rates which will be lifted within two years highlighting the “last step” in interest rate liberalization. The new privately owned banks will be subject to the same regulations as China’s large, state-owned institutions but will be encouraged to focus on small and medium-sized enterprises. Private investment currently accounts for less than 12 percent of the Chinese banking industry’s total capital.
Boeing shares drop amid safety concerns
Boeing shares dropped almost 1.3 percent as the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines’ Boeing 777 continues to deepen. USA Today reports that despite the fact that business analysts believe that the Boeing 777 is one of the safest planes on earth, the lack of information regarding the flight’s disappearance have impacted the brand. Separately, Boeing said on Friday that it had discovered hairline cracks on the wings of 42 Dreamliner 787 jets that are being built. No cracks were found on 122 planes already delivered. Boeing has assembled a team to assist in investigating the crash, while investigators continue to look for the plane and its “black box”. Boeing stock rose 58 percent in 2013 and its fourth quarter profit rose 26 percent.
Carnival cruise passengers demand $5,000 per month for life
A group of passengers suing Carnival Corp. for damages after sailing on the Carnival Triumph cruise ship that drifted at sea for days is asking for $5,000 per month for the rest of their lives for ongoing medical and mental problems. Fox News reports that many of the 33 passengers complain of lingering emotional issues including PTSD, anxiety and depression. Some claim to have physical conditions including leg pain, diarrhea, upper respiratory problems and aggravated hemorrhoids. The Judge who is hearing the case indicates that Carnival should not be subject to punitive damages and that passengers will only be entitled to medical costs conclusively linked to what happened on the Triumph.
Catherine S. McBreen is President of Millionaire Corner. McBreen plans and develops content for Millionaire Corner. Catherine balances editorial content to meet the informational needs of both new and seasoned investors. She designs special monthly surveys on topical issues affecting the economic environment.
McBreen has a B.S. in speech communications from Northwestern University and a J.D. from DePail University College of Law. She is a member of the American Bar Association, the Illinois Bar Association, and the Chicago Bar Association.
Well-known for her expertise in the affluent and retirement arenas, McBreen is a frequent speaker at industry conferences. She has been quoted widely by the financial media, including The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Research, Private Asset Management, On Wall Street, Reuters, Bloomberg News, The Dow Jones Newswires and Worth. Cathy has appeared as a guest on CNBC Closing Bell, First Business Morning News, Neal Cavuto at Fox Business News, ABC and CBS radio.
McBreen is co-author with Spectrem President George H. Walper, Jr. of the book "Get Rich, Stay Rich, Pass It On: The Wealth-Accumulation Secrets of America's Richest Families" (Portfolio, January 2008)
Catherine is the mother of four and is involved in many school and community events.