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Johnson & Johnson is to spin off its consumer products division, best known for Band-Aids and baby shampoo, as the world’s largest healthcare company seeks to focus on pharmaceuticals and medical devices. The division, which is forecast to generate $15bn in sales this year, will be split off in 18 to 24 months. The company plans to make the transaction tax-free and keep the overall dividend at the same level. Shares in J&J gained 4 per cent this morning on the news… It is the latest in a wave of well-known global companies to announce plans to split up this week, following US industrial conglomerate General Electric and Japan’s Toshiba, in an effort to slim down and focus on individual businesses.

 

The United Kingdom and European Union are back at the negotiating table today in an attempt to dodge a looming trade war. While Britain officially left the EU in January 2020, a number of hard-fought trade arrangements that have been inked since then have been criticized for disrupting trade. Specifically, the U.K. feels there are difficulties in implementing required checks on goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

 

The Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba said $84.5 billion in merchandise was sold on its platforms during the Singles Day shopping festival that ended yesterday, an 8.5 percent increase over last year and an indication that Beijing’s campaign to tighten regulation of internet companies has not dimmed consumers’ enthusiasm for buying stuff online. The growth in sales was down from the 26 percent increase that the company reported in 2020 compared with the year before.

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