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Latvia’s top banking official has been accused of taking a bribe

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ILMARS RIMSEVICS, governor of Latvia’s central bank for the past 17 years, had been due to retire next year. Instead, he is facing calls to resign. On February 17th he was detained by Latvia’s anti-corruption authority on suspicion of taking a bribe of at least €100,000 ($123,000). The prime minister, Maris Kucinskis, says the allegations are so serious that Mr Rimsevics cannot possibly return to work. Mr Rimsevics, for his part, is staying put. Released on bail on February 19th, he denies the allegations, saying he was set up and is facing death threats.Just a few days earlier, in an unrelated case, the US Treasury had proposed sanctions on ABLV, one of Latvia’s largest banks. It claimed ABLV had “institutionalised money laundering” and facilitated transactions with North Korea, which is

Senate seeks FG intervention to halt downward review of import tariff on milk powder

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The Senate has condemned the downward review of import duty on milk powder by the Federal Government from 10% to 5%. The Upper House of the National Assembly went further to request its committees on Agriculture, Finance and Customs Excise and Tariff to investigate the ministries, departments and agencies involved in the reduction. In a motion brought forward by Sabo Mohammed (APC, Jigawa State) titled ‘Urgent Need to Halt the Implementation of a New Import Duty Tariff on Powdered Milk Imported into the Country’, the Senator asked how the economic diversification efforts by the government could succeed if its policies were not favourable to the agricultural sector. The senate unanimously granted prayers of the motion to “call on the Federal Government to suspend the new tariff policy and m

PepsiCo sees flat sales and earnings slump in full year as firm struggles with beverage sales

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PepsiCo reported a sharp drop in earnings for the full year 2017 by 23% to $4.9bn, blamed on a host of factors including sales decline in its North America Beverages business unit and Quaker Foods North America business segment plus a $2.5bn one-time charge related to the new U.S. tax laws. The US-based soft drinks maker saw declining sales in three out of six of its geographic business units. While total sales for the year rose marginally by 1% to $63.5bn, sales in its Quaker Foods North America business unit and North America Beverages unit fell by 2% respectively. The bright spots for the beverage maker were in the company’s Frito-Lay North America business unit which grew 2%. The firm’s Latin America business segment grew 6%, while its Europe Sub-Saharan Africa business region rose 8%

UACN to liquidate Warm Spring Waters Nigeria Limited

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United Africa Company Nigeria Plc (“UACN Plc”), a diversified conglomerate and one of Nigeria’s oldest companies announced on Thursday that it will wind up the assets of one of its subsidiary businesses, Warm Spring Waters Nigeria Limited, makers of ‘Gossy’ Table Water based in Ikogosi, Ekiti State. The company cites weak operational performance due to problems associated with the rural location of the plant at the source of the spring water, logistical challenges, 100% reliance on company-generated power and a difficult operating environment as reasons to shut the business. Warm Springs Waters commenced business in 2002 in Ikogosi, Ekiti State, in partnership with the Ekiti State Government and some private investors to produce premium quality spring water under the ‘Gossy’ brand. UACN ho

Heineken toasts full year 2017 results

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Heineken N.V cheered its full year results for 2017 as it reported a 5.37% (5% organic) rise in revenue to €21.9bn. Profits in the same period jumped 7.1% to €2.2bn from €2.09bn in 2016. Commenting on the results, Jean-Francois van Boxmeer, chief executive officer, Heineken NV said, “We delivered strong results in 2017, with all regions contributing to organic growth in volume, revenue and Operating Profit.” Beer volumes grew 3%, with the “Heineken” beer brand growing 4.5% per hectoliter. The company said that revenue per hectoliter in all regions improved except for Asia Pacific due to negative mix effects. The firm stressed that it continued to invest in key developing markets with expansion of production capacity in Mexico, Cambodia, Vietnam, Ethiopia and Haiti, with the opening of a ne

7-UP receives regulatory approval to delist shares from NSE

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Seven-Up Bottling Company Plc has received approval from the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to delist its shares from the Exchange following the submission of an application it made to the Exchange, seeking to delist its shares and end its 32 years on the big board. The company was first listed on the Exchange in 1986. A regulatory filing at the Stock Exchange suggest that the company which was incorporated in Nigeria in 1959 and became a publicly traded company in 1978 begun the process of delisting on 8th February 2018 similar to steps taking by its main rival, Nigerian bottling Company (NBC) to exit the Exchange in 2011. Seven-Up announced on 30th November that it had received an offer from Affelka S.A, its majority shareholder to acquire the remaining shares of minority shareholders it ...

Pinkberry Frozen Yogurt opens stores in Nigeria

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Eat N’ Go Limited on Wednesday announced the launch of Pinkberry, a famous frozen yogurt brand with origins in Los Angeles, California into the Nigeria market. Presently located at Admiralty way Lekki Phase 1 and Aromire Street, Ikeja, Lagos, the new brand promised to bring light, refreshing and craveable frozen yogurt experience to Nigeria. “We are excited to finally serve a distinctly light and refreshing taste of frozen yogurt in Nigeria,” said Aaron Serruya, President and CEO of Pinkberry International. “We are happy to serve and become a local favorite of the sophisticated community in Lagos in partnership with Eat N’GO Limited, who shares our values and commitment on exceeding customer expectations day in and day out” Commenting on the new store at the Dominos Pizza Shop on Admiralty

Indian teaching startups make work for idle thumbs

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TO ANY outsider it looks as if the children have been hypnotised by yet another smartphone game. As the spying elders in a TV ad try to break the spell, the sprogs flash a grin at their screens. “It’s maths, dad,” giggles a fifth-grader to her father. The company behind the ad, Byju’s, sells an educational smartphone app which has been downloaded 14m times since its launch in 2015.Byju’s is one of many education technology (or “edtech”) startups that have emerged in India in the past few years. Their target is vast—some 260m pupils in schools and over 30m graduates who train in order to pass entrance tests for a seat in medical, engineering and elite management institutes. KPMG, a consultancy, reckons the industry will grow eightfold to be worth around $2bn by 2021.Much of the expected gro

The world’s largest-ever tech deal now depends on Qualcomm

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Hock Tan hones the art of the dealVALENTINE’S DAY might seem like a good time to discuss a proposal. But whether it brought luck to Broadcom’s attempt to woo its rival chipmaker, Qualcomm, is still unclear. As The Economist went to press, a meeting between the boards of both firms to discuss Broadcom’s bid of $146bn (including debt) proved inconclusive. Having rejected an initial approach in November, Qualcomm’s board will soon meet to discuss next steps.Should the board reject Broadcom’s offer, the fate of the largest-ever tech acquisition would then lie with Qualcomm’s shareholders. The deal could still proceed if they elect a majority of Broadcom’s nominees to the board at Qualcomm’s annual investor meeting on March 6th. But it would have a complicated course to run.Neither firm may be

Japanese businesses are struggling to keep up standards

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KUMIKO HIRANO has noticed a disquieting change when she goes to her neighbourhood konbini, one of Japan’s ubiquitous convenience stores. “No one is around and I have to use a loud voice to get someone to serve me,” says the 48-year-old worker in Tokyo. “It irritates me.”This might not seem a big problem, but Japan prides itself on the standard of customer service, which approaches the level of bespoke attention elsewhere. Taxi drivers, who often wear white gloves, sometimes get out to bow when they drop off a passenger. Staff in shops and restaurants are unfailingly polite. Shoppers can order on Amazon and take delivery reliably the same day. Now Japanese are having slowly to adapt to levels of service long suffered by the rest of the world.The human touch is becoming rarer. Lawson, anothe