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FB Roundup: Bolloré Group, Grosvenor Group, and Korean Air

Bolloré held over corruption enquiry, Grosvenor ‘resilient’ despite weak UK valuations, and ‘rage’ sisters ousted from family firm

Bolloré held over corruption enquiry

French billionaire Vincent Bolloré has been detained in custody near Paris, as part of an investigation into the bribery of public officials in Africa.

The investigation came only days after he made a surprise announcement at the annual meeting of his media company Vivendi that he would step down as chairman of the supervisory board and hand the reins to his 38-year-old son Yannick.

The allegations against Bolloré, pictured, relate not to Vivendi, but SDV Africa, a former subsidiary of his family holding company Bolloré Group, which turned over €10 billion ($12.1 billion) last year.

A statement from the group dated 24 April said SDV was under an investigation relating to the payment for communication services in Guinea and Togo from 2009 and 2010.

“Its former subsidiary, SDV Africa, did not engage in any illegal actions and the Bolloré Group reaffirms that these communication services were conducted in full transparency,” the statement said.

Grosvenor ‘resilient’ despite weak UK valuations

Grosvenor Group this week posted one of its highest annual profits for 2017, with a healthy year in its Americas and Asia Pacific businesses offset by weaker performance in the UK and Europe.

The group, owned by its namesake family, recorded profits of £143.5 million ($200 million), an increase of 81% on 2016 and the second highest on record.

However its rate of return dipped to 2.7%, down from 8% in 2016, reflecting weaker UK and European valuations and the sterling’s appreciation.

Mark Preston, chief executive, said performance had been “much more resilient than expected”.

“The lack of correlation in the performance of our regional operating companies yet again demonstrated the benefits of operating as an internationally diversified property company,” Preston said.

However, Preston also said the late stage of the market cycle and the rising cost of capital meant there was potential for a fall in rental yields. Of the 25 cities Grosvenor tracks, the majority are considered over-valued, he said.

He concluded that 2018 returns were likely to be similar to 2017.

‘Rage’ sisters ousted from family firm

The South Korean sisters who have become a symbol of next-generation entitlement have been ousted from their jobs at the airline chaired by their father, with him apologising for their behaviour.

Cho Hyun-min and Cho Hyun-ah, of the family behind Korean Air, are known for their respective “rage” scandals. The former this month allegedly threw water at people during a business meeting, while her sister became infamous for her “nut rage” in 2014 when she flew into a fury after being served macadamia nuts in a bag while aboard her family’s airline.

The family have become so unpopular that people have petitioned the president to force them to remove “Korean” from the airline’s name

The women’s father, Korean Air chairman Cho Yang-Ho, said in a statement he was “crushed” by their “immature” behaviour. The airline is a subsidiary of Hanjin Group, the conglomerate founded by Cho Yang-Ho's father in 1945.

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