Ukraine payment

KIEV: Ukraine on Friday made a crucial Eurobond interest payment that kept the war-torn country from slipping into technical default and potential isolation from global credit markets. Two sources close to the situation told AFP that money to cover the $120 million (110 million euro) coupon was transferred as soon as business hours opened in Kiev. The $2.6 billion note matures in July 2017.

Reliance profits up

MUMBAI: India’s Reliance Industries announced better-than-expected profits on Friday as income from core operations of refining and petrochemicals offset the impact from the slump in global oil prices. The Mumbai-based firm owned by Mukesh Ambani, India’s wealthiest man, said in a statement that standalone profit in the three months until June 30 rose 11.8 per cent to INR 63.18 billion ($987.19 million) from INR 56.49 billion a year ago. This outpaced the profit estimate of INR 62.5 billion predicted by 16 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Reliance Chairman, Mukesh Ambani, said the firm’s ‘integrated hydrocarbon chain activities’ helped it perform well despite crashing global prices.

India’s sugar surplus

MUMBAI: India, the world’s second biggest sugar producer after Brazil, is likely to churn out a surplus for the sixth straight year despite erratic rainfall in key growing areas, a leading industry body said in its preliminary estimate on Friday. The South Asian country is likely to produce 28 million tonnes in the 2015-16 year starting October 1, compared with local demand of about 25 million tonnes, the Indian Sugar Mills Association said in a statement. In the current season, the country is likely to produce 28.3 million tonnes sugar, it said. The surplus production could depress local prices and increase losses of debt-ridden sugar mills, prompting the country to maintain exports to trim rising inventory.

Anthem to buy Cigna

NEW YORK: Anthem Inc said on Friday it would buy Cigna Corp in a deal valued at $54.2 billion, creating the largest US health insurer by membership. The deal — the biggest ever in the health insurance industry — comes three weeks after Aetna Inc agreed to buy Humana Inc for $37 billion and is part of an industry-wide consolidation following the roll-out of the Obama government’s healthcare reform law. Antitrust authorities are expected to aggressively scrutinise how the combinations will affect competition for Medicare and individual and commercial insurance. By most measures, US insurance markets are extremely concentrated. That means companies could have trouble selling assets if forced to do so by antitrust regulators.