In Brief


LONDON

BP says no share-issue planned to pay for Gulf spill cleanup

BP PLC said Tuesday it has no plans to issue new shares to help pay for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, giving its shares a further boost amid rumors of interest from sovereign wealth funds.

"(BP) is always happy to welcome new shareholders or existing shareholders who wish to increase their shareholdings," BP spokesman Mark Salt said, "but there's no current plans to issue new equity to anyone."

The company's statement is good news for investors whose own holdings would be diluted by a larger stock base.

Recent reports have suggested that a number of Middle East sovereign wealth funds are considering purchasing a stake in BP, helping calm fears of a full takeover. BP declined to comment on "market rumor and speculation."

DETROIT

After run-up last week, shares of Tesla fall below IPO price

Shares of high-end electric carmaker Tesla Motors Inc. ran low on voltage Tuesday, falling beneath the stock's initial public offering price after a stunning run-up last week.

Tesla shares lost more than 16 percent of their value to close at $16.11 -- below the $17 price that the Palo Alto, Calif., company got when it first sold the stock on June 29.

Tesla's shares rose 40 percent in their first day of trading as excited investors bet on the automaker's future as a player in the electric car market. They pushed the stock as high as $30.42 on Wednesday, but prices began falling later in the week, closing Friday at $19.20.

On Tuesday, shares dropped as low as $15.83 before recovering to finish down $3.09 at $16.11.

"The euphoria has worn off," Scott Sweet, senior managing partner of IPO research firm IPO Boutique, noted Tuesday. "In this market environment, people are not buying $109,000 cars."

Tesla has not turned a profit since it was founded in 2003, and so far the company has sold only about 1,000 of its high-end electric cars. It now sells just one vehicle, the $109,000 Roadster sports car, which is popular among celebrities and performance-car enthusiasts. But by 2012 it plans to start selling a four-door luxury sedan, the Model S.

TRENTON, N.J.

European Union approves version of Lipitor for children

The European Union has approved a new chewable form of cholesterol blockbuster Lipitor for children 10 and up with high levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides, a type of blood fat, Pfizer said Tuesday.

The approval includes children whose high blood fats are due to an inherited disease that causes extremely high cholesterol levels, familial hypercholesterolemia.

New York-based Pfizer Inc. won U.S. approval for Lipitor use in children 10 to 17 with that condition in 2002.

Lipitor is the world's top-selling drug, with 2009 sales of about $13 billion, but its U.S. patent expires at the end of November 2011. Pfizer, the world's biggest drugmaker, will quickly lose most Lipitor revenue once generic competition hits, so the company has been trying to boost sales where possible before then.

Pfizer said last fall that it plans to apply for a six-month extension of its patent in European countries, after doing studies of Lipitor in youngsters.

NEW YORK

Offering that raised $19 billion could be biggest IPO ever

The Agricultural Bank of China's initial public offering has raised more than $19 billion in what could turn out to be the largest IPO ever.

The last of China's big four state-owned banks to go public, AgBank is selling 25.41 billion shares in Hong Kong and 22.24 billion shares in Shanghai. Based on Tuesday's pricing, the rural lender would raise about $19.23 billion, according to a person familiar with the deal. The person requested anonymity because details of the IPO have not yet been released.

If underwriters buy up about $2.89 billion more shares to sell to investors, the dual-listing deal could raise $22.12 billion -- the most funds ever for an IPO. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China raised $21.9 billion in its October 2006 IPO.

 

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