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Family Business Roundup: Country Garden Holdings, Vivendi, and Heineken

By Michael Finnigan

China's Country Garden Holdings to spin off property division

Chinese real estate conglomerate Country Garden Holdings, owned by the country's second richest woman Yang Huiyan, is planning to spin off its property management business in order to raise capital.

The Foshan-based company is shoring up its balance sheets after a pickup in property sales and will sell 6 billion yuan ($966 million) of onshore three-year bonds as part of the capital raise, chief financial officer Wu Jianbin told Bloomberg.

China's struggling stock market is further supporting the real estate market as investors seek out reliable returns, according to Wu.

The chief financial officer also revealed that Country Garden is in talks with local investors to buy or jointly invest in projects on more than 10 sites in first-tier cities.

Country Garden was founded in 1997 and in 2014 generated revenues of $12.9 billion. Its subsidiaries are engaged in the property development, construction, fitting and decoration, property management and hotel operation.

Vincent Bolloré causes uproar with leaked memos

The chairman of French media group Vivendi, Vincent Bollore, ruffled feathers this week after leaked reports claim he is planning to shut down a satirical TV show known for its political criticism.

Bollore's plan to terminate the 28-year old “Les Guignols de l'Info” was met with sharp criticism and a number of high-profile voices, including former Canal Plus boss Pierre Lescure, have expressed their concern.

The news comes just six months after the Charlie Hebdo terror attack that killed two dozen individuals and sparked demonstrations in support of free speech across France. “Les Guignols” is French television's equivalent of Charlie Hebdo.

Some reports have suggested that Bollore's plans tie in with an upcoming presidential campaign that could be hampered by the left wing show.

Heineken returns to Myanmar after twenty-year absence

Netherlands-based brewer Heineken is set to open a new $60 million facility in Myanmar this week, bringing to an end a near twenty-year absence that began in 1996 with international sanctions for human rights violations.

The opening of the new Heineken manufacturing site comes just two months after Denmark's Calsberg entered the former no-go zone and will likely signal to other large brewers in Europe that the former military dictatorship is open for business.  

“It's very clear when you look at the region that Myanmar is one of the most unusual territories where there is a huge potential for growth in the beer industry, says Roland Pirmez, Heineken's president for Asia Pacific.

The world's third-largest beer maker is increasingly looking to far flung parts of the world for growth opportunities. Myanmar has one of the largest populations in southeast Asia with more than 53 million individuals.

Heineken was founded in 1864 in Amsterdam by Gerard Adriaan Heineken. Today it has operations in more than 70 countries and sells around 170 different brands of beer. The company had 2013 annual revenues of €19.2 billion.

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