Deal creates world’s largest travel retailer; South Korea to join China-led Asian bank; Japan’s emphasis on quality time at home

1 Deal creates world’s largest travel retailer (BBC) The Benetton family has sold its controlling stake in World Duty Free to Switzerland’s Dufry. The deal creates the world largest travel retailer, with a market share of 25% and projected annual sales of $9bn (€8.3bn; £6bn).

Dufry is paying €10.25 a share for the 50.1% stake, valuing the group at €3.6bn. World Duty Free operates 495 stores in 98 airports, including London’s Heathrow and Gatwick. Based in Basel, Dufry has 1,650 stores in more than 60 countries with around 20,000 employees.

Last year it made a record turnover of $4.3bn. That compares to World Duty Free’s turnover of $2.6bn, currently owned by Edizione, the holding company of the Benetton family. Retail spending at airports is expected to rise in the years ahead, particularly in Asia where more than 350 new airports are set to be built.
2 South Korea to join China-led Asian bank (Straits Times) South Korea expects to take a stake of 4 to 5 per cent in the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), in which it is seeking to be a founding member, a deputy finance minister has said.

South Korea also seeks to play an important role in the management of the proposed bank, Deputy Minister Choi Hee-nam said on radio, noting that the senior management positions had yet to be discussed. “Stakes of the individual members will be decided based on economic size and other factors, and it looks like (South Korea’s stake) will be 4 to 5 per cent,” Choi said.

He said South Korea has a 5.1 per cent stake in the Asian Development Bank, which is dominated by the US and Japan and to which the AIIB will likely be a major challenge.

3 Japan’s emphasis on quality time at home (Khaleej Times) Japan’s prescription to use the sunlight at its maxim has a science of its own. Though many countries across the globe, including the US and Scandinavian countries, rewind and forward their clocks to make use of daytime and cope with long chill nights, Tokyo’s contribution to it is more in social essence.

While energy factor is of pivotal importance in such decisions, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe believes that workers can spend quality time in the evenings back home by avoiding late working hours. The island-nation state wants government employees, at least, to get to work earlier in the summer to improve their work-life balance. The dictum is not clear as far as the private sector is concerned, which employs the maximum workforce in Japan.

Abe says if the public sector can start as early as 7.30 am and wind up their chores by five in the evening, they will be left with many more hours to spend with their children and parents. Japanese work for an average of 1,745 hours each year, which according to the OECD is much more than their European counterparts. But as far as Japan is concerned, which is one of the most ageing societies in the world, it will be a welcome social aspect to see people getting more time for child-rearing and taking care of the elders.


About joesnewspicks

This blog captures interesting news items from around the world for those strained by information overload and yet need to stay updated on global events of significance. The news items displayed are not in order of merit. (The blog takes a weekly off — normally on Sundays — and does not appear when I am on vacation or busy.) I am a journalist for nearly three decades.
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