News round-up: Ambani, Cargill, Logothetis, Batista, Cho


Ambani Payments

No laws or parliamentary rules have been broken, but eyebrows have been raised after it emerged that Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries conglomerate paid two senior politicians hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal retainers. One later became broadcasting minister. Ambani owns a broadcasting business, and will launch a telecoms one next year.

Cargill to battle SHV

Family-owned conglomerates Cargill, from the US, and SHV, owned by the Fentener van Vlissingen family, are in a battle to take control of Dutch animal and fish feed group Nutreco. SHV has already made a €3bn offer, but this week Cargill announced their intention to make their own bid, promising that they would be “very good stewards” of the business.

Libra Goes Long

George Logothetis, the head of the family-owned Libra Group, said that he is pushing ahead with plans to invest $500m in Greece, despite political turmoil there. Two-thirds of the investments have already been made. Among them are $200m in renewable energy projects and a 50% stake in Coco-Mat, a family-owned maker of mattresses which are popular in luxury hotels. Libra started as a Greek shipping business before diversifying, and is also buying up container ships as a bet on a global upturn.

Beef Billionaires

Beef company JBS, owned by the Batista family, has become the second biggest business in Brazil after a combination of rising beef prices and the opening up of the Russian market to Brazilian beef saw the company’s stock-price increase by 48%. The five children of founder Jose Batista Sobrinho who control JBS are now billionaires.

Nut Case Continues

A flight attendant involved in the now-infamous “nut rage” incident, in which Korean Air heiress Heather Cho had a tantrum after being served macadamias in a bag instead of on a plate, has given an interview to local media. He claims that Cho made him kneel and ask for forgiveness, then hit him on the knuckles with a flight manual. Meanwhile, global sales of macadamias have rocketed.