Qatar Air sounds defiant note over sanctions

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker struck a defiant tone in the face of the continued sanctions against his country, calling them a “challenge to civilization” that has only strengthened his resolve to push for more growth and add destinations. Speaking at the annual tourism fair in Berlin, Al Baker blasted the measures as an assault on his nation, saying “we’re not a grocery shop, we’re a sovereign country.” Rather than curb growth last year, the embargo had the opposite effect, the CEO said as he announced higher frequencies to places like Barcelona and Madrid and a new twice-daily service to London Gatwick.

Investor group cancels deal to buy Weinstein Co.

A group of investors pulled out of a deal to buy the beleaguered Weinstein Co. on Tuesday after discovering tens of millions of dollars in undisclosed debt, according to people familiar with the negotiations. Businesswoman Maria Contreras-Sweet, who has been leading the group of buyers along with billionaire investor Ron Burkle, said in a statement that “disappointing information about the viability of completing this transaction” had led her to call off the sale.

Kia plans India push with small cars

The affiliate of South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Corp. plans to make three or more models in the compact hatchback and sport-utility vehicle segments within three years of starting production in 2019, Manohar Bhat, head of marketing and sales at Kia’s local unit said in an interview. Hatchbacks account for almost two-thirds of India’s car market, which is poised to become the world’s third largest by 2020. About a dozen companies already make small hatchbacks in India where profit margins are relatively low, a key factor that led General Motors Co. to announce an exit from the market last year. Success in India is essential for Kia after losing ground in China due to political tensions and in the U.S. where consumers are increasingly lapping up big SUVs.

Swedish banks reject cashless warnings

Sweden’s biggest banks say warnings that the country might be running dangerously low on cash are overblown. The Swedish central bank has in recent weeks sounded the alarm, arguing that the largest Nordic economy may be going cashless too fast. Riksbank Governor Stefan Ingves has even called for legal changes to safeguard the governance of Sweden’s payment system. But the industry says it still offers the cash needed and argues that there’s little point in fighting a trend that bank customers themselves are driving, according to interviews with industry representatives conducted by Bloomberg.

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