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Australia approves Chinese Fortescue investment

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Press release states “Today I approve the application by Hunan Valin Iron and Steel Group for up to a 17.55 per cent shareholding in Fortescue Metals Group, subject to the formal and strict undertakings I have sought from Hunan Valin, and which have also been agreed to by Fortescue Metals Group.

These undertakings are as follows:

Any person nominated by Hunan Valin to Fortescue’s board will comply with the Director’s Code of Conduct maintained by Fortescue;
Any person nominated by Hunan Valin to Fortescue’s board will submit a standing notice under the Corporations Act 2001 of their potential conflict of interest relating to Fortescue’s marketing, sales, customer profiles, price setting and cost structures for pricing and shipping; and
Hunan Valin and any person nominated by it to Fortescue’s board will comply with the information segregation arrangements agreed between Fortescue and Hunan Valin.

Hunan Valin will report to FIRB on its compliance with these undertakings. These undertakings ensure consistency with Australia’s national interest principles for investments by foreign government entities, which I set out in February 2008. They ensure the appropriate separation of Fortescue’s commercial operations and customer interests, and support the market-based development of Australia’s resources.

Penalties for non-compliance with these undertakings are contained in the Corporations Act 2001 and breaches of the Code of Conduct can lead to the director’s removal from the company board.

I note Fortescue’s involvement in negotiating the above arrangements, and its responsibility to its shareholders for enforcement of the company’s Directors’ Code of Conduct.

Under the proposal, Fortescue has agreed to issue new shares to Hunan Valin to raise funds for the next expansion phase of its iron ore mining operations in the Pilbara. Hunan Valin also intends to acquire some shares from other shareholders. Consistent with this approval and with its agreement with Fortescue, Hunan Valin will not hold above 17.55 per cent in total. It is on these bases that I have approved the acquisition under the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975.”

read more: Press Release – Australia – Treasurer

Petrobras to Spend $320 Million to Hedge Portion of Oil Production

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Revealed on March 22, 2019, Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) spent US$ 320 million on put options as a hedge. Brazil’s state-owned oil company bought the options to hedge part of its crude production for 2019. This is at an equivalent of US$ 60 per Brent oil barrel. The options will expire by the end of 2019.

The put options enable Petrobras to deliver oil at US$ 60 per barrel, but not the obligation to do so.

In a securities filing, Petrobras said, “The strategy is to hedge the export operations expected for the year, that way partially protecting the company’s operational cash flow.”

To compare to 2018, Petrobras is spending less on options in 2019. Petrobras had put options at US$ 65 a barrel, covering 128 million barrels.

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Storebrand Generates Steady Returns for 2017 and 2018

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Norway’s largest private asset manager, Storebrand, had a 13.7% return on equity in 2018. Storebrand now has total assets under management of US$ 82.6 billion. The staggering results topped 2017’s returns of 11.3%. Odd Arild Grefstad, CEO, was keen to point out that “2018 was a good year,” in Storebrand’s annual report. Grefstad also reflected on the peculiarities that were overcome during the year: “Our financial solidity was strengthened and there was an increase in the dividends distributed to shareholders. At the same time, the financial markets experienced turbulence at the end of the year, in a somewhat uncertain macroeconomic situation.”

Last year, new initiatives were implemented to bolster sustainable investments. The fund is also pushing to improve water management. Another investment coming this year will address deforestation. That will include tackling soy and palm oil farming, and cattle ranching. Grefstad addressed Storebrand’s “green” priorities: “The financial industry is an important contributor in the efforts to limit global warming, and we have a clear strategy . . . we have strict environmental, climate, and sustainability criteria for all our investments.”

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Biogen and Eisai Battered by Markets Over Alzheimer’s Trial Fail

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Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Biogen Inc. (BIIB) took a tumble of 28% in the morning of March 21st after it announced that it would cease its Phase 3 trials of Aducanumab. The therapy was intended to slow cognitive decline in patients with early onset Alzheimer’s. Biogen continued falling on March 22, 2019. Biogen and its Japanese development partner Eisai Co., Ltd. (ESALY) shared that the decision was based on results from an analysis conducted by an independent committee. The analysis determined that the trials were not going to demonstrate that Aducanumab could slow cognitive impairment. Eisai also fell 28% on the day, though it staged a relatively modest recovery on March 22nd. Some large institutional holders of Biogen include APG Asset Management (manager of Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP), Norges Bank Investment Management (manager of Norway Government Pension Fund Global), and Swiss National Bank.

The last time a treatment for Alzheimer’s made it to market was in 2003. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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