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Chinese buying spree accelerates with takeover of GE unit

Chinese buying spree accelerates with takeover of GE unit by Joe McDonald, The Associated Press Posted Jan 15, 2016 1:54 am MDT Last Updated Jan 15, 2016 at 11:20 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email In this March 20, 2014 photo, a sign with the Haier logo stands in front of the company’s headquarters in Qingdao in eastern China’s Shandong province. Haier Group, the world’s biggest home appliance maker, announced Friday, Jan. 15, 2016, that it is buying General Electric Co.’s appliance business for $5.4 billion to expand its U.S. and global presence. (Chinatopix via AP) CHINA OUT BEIJING, China – Haier Group, the world’s biggest home appliance maker, is buying General Electric Co.’s appliance business for $5.4 billion to expand its U.S. and global presence.The acquisition announced Friday comes as Haier tries to transform itself into a premium brand. GE is shifting emphasis from traditional businesses such as appliances, in which it has been a prominent presence for more than a century, to higher-technology areas such as medical equipment and clean energy.The two companies also agreed to form a strategic partnership to co-operate in areas such as the Internet, healthcare, and advanced manufacturing. They said the sale is subject to regulatory and anti-trust approvals in relevant countries.The purchase is the third in a string of multibillion-dollar foreign acquisitions this week by Chinese buyers.On Tuesday, conglomerate Wanda Group said it was buying Hollywood’s Legendary Entertainment for $3.5 billion. The previous day, a state-owned chemical company announced the purchase of a German manufacturer for $1 billion.Chinese companies are on a buying spree abroad, looking for technology and brands to improve their competitive position at home and speed their global expansion.Chinese buyers have announced 23 outbound acquisitions so far this year, totalling $12.3 billion, up from $2.9 billion in the same period last year, according to Dealogic, a financial information provider.Haier, headquartered in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao, makes a wide range of refrigerators, washing machines and other home appliances. It reported 2014 revenue of $32.6 billion. It operates a string of 21 industrial parks worldwide.Its purchase of GE Appliances is the biggest global corporate acquisition so far this year and the third-biggest in the United States by a Chinese buyer to date, according to Dealogic.Haier said the GE acquisition would be carried out by its unit Qingdao Haier Co. Ltd., a publicly traded entity of which Haier owns 41 per cent.GE Appliances, headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, reported $5.9 billion in 2014 revenue. It has 12,000 employees, 96 per cent of them in the United States.The two companies said the deal will give GE Appliances more access to the growing Chinese consumer market. The purchase includes GE Appliances’ 48.4 per cent stake in Mabe, a Mexican appliance company with which it has operated a joint venture for 28 years.“This strategic alliance provides a new starting point for both Haier and GE and I am confident that this partnership will deliver enhanced value to the stakeholders of both companies,” Haier Group chairman Zhang Ruimin said in a statement.Zhang is credited with building Haier out of a bankrupt refrigerator factory after he was assigned by the Qingdao city government to manage it in 1984.Haier’s takeover of GE Appliances is the second-biggest purchase in the household appliance sector on record, behind Panasonic Corp.’s 2008 purchase of 50 per cent of Sanyo Electric Co. for $7.1 billion, according to Dealogic. It said Haier’s six foreign acquisitions to date total $6.3 billion.“Haier has a stated focus to grow in the U.S., build their manufacturing presence here and to invest further in the business,” GE chief executive Jeff Immelt said in the joint statement. “In addition, we see the opportunity to work together to build the GE brand in China.”GE, headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut, announced plans earlier to sell the appliance business to Sweden’s Electrolux for $3.3 billion. They called that off in December after opposition from American anti-trust regulators. read more

NSERCfunded student exploring connection between gut health and bone strength

A substantial scholarship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council will allow Brock PhD student Kirsten Bott to delve deep into the relationship between gut flora and overall musculoskeletal health.The Applied Health Sciences student will continue her research with the help of a prestigious Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship worth $70,000 over the next two years.Bott is one of nine Brock graduate students who received scholarships in NSERC’s latest funding round. They, along with 18 faculty researchers at Brock University, received a total of $3.2 million in NSERC funding this year.“Over the past 20 years, there has been a lot of research done on the trillions of microorganisms living in our guts called microbiota,” says Bott. “We know that they play a large role in our overall health.  Everything from the brain to the cardiovascular system is affected by gut microbiota. I am interested in expanding the research on how gut microbiota specifically affects bone and muscle structure and metabolism.”It is already known that an unhealthy gut produces higher levels of toxins that cause low-grade inflammation in the body, Bott explains.“The inflammation has a negative effect on bone and muscle function,” she says. “I am hoping to show that exercise can favourably alter gut microbiota and therefore reduce the low-grade inflammation in the body.”Wendy Ward, one of Bott’s co-supervisors, emphasizes the importance of Bott’s work.“Low-grade inflammation is a threat to the musculoskeletal system and can contribute to a weakening of the skeleton, making an individual more prone to fracture. Lifestyle factors including a poor diet and sedentary behaviour may contribute to low-grade inflammation and are also known to impact both gut microbiota and the skeleton,” Ward says. “Kirsten’s research will provide novel insights into these associations and also consider how changes in lifestyle, specifically exercise, can be used as a potential solution to prevent or attenuate the negative impact of inflammation.”Bott was honoured to receive the prestigious scholarship.“To have my work recognized at this level is an honour and motivates me to continue my research in this field,” she says.Bott has been studying at Brock for several years, having completed both her undergraduate and master’s degrees at the University. She credits the amazing researchers at Brock, specifically supervisors Ward and Sandra Peters, for helping her find her passion in research.“The combination of my supervisors, who have always been very supportive and allowed me to follow my own research interests, and access to equipment has largely contributed to my research success,” she says.“Kirsten demonstrated an early interest in research when she was an undergraduate in Kinesiology,” says Peters. “I am so pleased to see that her passion and hard work has brought her this great success.”This year’s Brock NSERC recipients:NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship – Master’sRachel Clemens, Mathematics and Statistics — “On High Quantile Regression Methods.”Emily Davis, Psychology — “The neural mechanisms underlying “hyper-binding” associative memories in aging.”Grant Hayward, Applied Health Sciences — “Investigating the role of estrogen on insulin signalling and amyloid-B production in the brain.”Michael Tolentino, Biological Sciences — “Retinoic acid signalling and glial cell responses in regenerating axolotl spinal cord.”NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship – DoctoralNico Bonanno, Chemistry — “Rational Design of Redox-Active Ligands for the Assembly of Novel Paramagnetic Clusters.”Kirsten Bott, Applied Health Sciences — “Effects of exercise and low-grade inflammation on bone structure and metabolism.”Christine Kempthorne, Biotechnology — “Biochemical diversity in Vincetoxicum rossicum, a highly invasive plant in Canada.”Michael Yousef, Applied Health Sciences — “Effects of Rosemary Polyphenolic Components on FceRI Mast-Cell Signalling.”NSERC Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship DoctoralClaire Matthews, Psychology — “Cognitive mechanisms underlying face learning: The role of perceptual experience.” read more