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RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4.SA) has rejected the most recent bid by an EIG Global Energy Partners-backed firm to purchase a pair of shallow-water oil clusters, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said, potentially derailing a major divestment late in the process. Ouro Preto Oleo e Gas, a Brazilian energy firm backed by sector-focused private equity firm EIG entered exclusive talks in July with Petrobras, as the state-run oil firm is known, to purchase its Pampo and Enchova clusters. At the time, the fields, located in the Campos Basin off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, were seen fetching around $1 billion.

Petrobras is cutting stakes in shallow-water fields to focus on Brazil’s larger deepwater play, That is creating an opportunity for smaller oil companies and private equity firms eager to extract value from relatively mature assets, But the process has been rocky at times, For Petrobras, the collapse or delay of the Pampo and Enchova deal could hurt its bid to meet an ambitious antique silver cufflinks divestment target of $26.9 billion over five years, With combined oil production of about 39,000 barrels per day, Pampo and Enchova is the largest mature production asset currently in Petrobras’ divestment portfolio..

In December, Petrobras reopened bidding for the clusters, as Brazil’s federal audit court, known as the TCU, requires for most Petrobras divestitures. Under the final rebidding round, investors can submit bids of varying values, so long as they have the same contractual terms as the winning bid in the original round. Ouro Preto took advantage of the rebidding process to cut its offer, due in part to a drop in oil prices, Reuters reported in December. [nL1N1YJ1P0]. However, Petrobras, unhappy with Ouro Preto’s price cut, has rejected the consortium’s updated bid, according to the sources, who requested anonymity to discuss confidential matters.

EIG and Ouro Preto declined to comment, Petrobras did not respond to a request for comment, The setback underlines the slow, at times convoluted process surrounding Petrobras’ divestments, which have often frustrated potential buyers, The next steps in the Pampo and Enchova divestiture are unclear, One of the sources said the Ouro Preto consortium may try to come back antique silver cufflinks to the table to resume bilateral negotiations with Petrobras, Should Petrobras re-open the process to other potential buyers or open a fresh bidding round, it could create an opportunity for firms like Trident Energy, backed by private equity firm Warburg Pincus, which had submitted an offer for Pampo and Enchova during the original bidding round in mid-2018..

STRASBOURG (Reuters) - General Electric (GE.N), which bought Alstom’s energy business in 2015, aims to slash close to 470 jobs across the division in France in the face of falling orders worldwide, unions said on Wednesday. GE has opened negotiations to trim its staff in France under a “collective mutually agreed termination” agreement, a measure introduced in France in September 2017. An early retirement plan is also on the table, union officials said. “In a particularly difficult time for the power sector, GE is currently reviewing its businesses to ensure they are best fitted to market reality and ensure their success,” the company said.

Some 229 jobs could be cut at Alstom Power Systems (APS), including 146 at GE Energy’s European headquarters in Belfort, eastern France, unions said, Another 149 jobs could go at GE Energy Power Conversion France and 90 at GE Grid, they said, GE employs 16,000 people antique silver cufflinks in France, including 6,000 in the power branch, When it bought Alstom’s energy business, GE had committed to maintain jobs for at least three years in France and create 1,000 net new jobs by the end of 2018, The French government brandished the threat of fines in June 2018 after former GE Chief Executive John Flannery told Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire that the company would fail to create as many jobs as promised..

BANGKOK (Reuters) - U.S. fast food chain Taco Bell plans to double its international footprint with Asian markets as the main driver for overseas growth as awareness about Mexican cuisine grows, a senior executive said on Wednesday. The Mexican-inspired Yum! Brands (YUM.N) subsidiary, which has 7,000 restaurants in the United States, will bring its overseas store count to “over 500 units this year .. (with) a goal of getting to a thousand units internationally in the next few years,” Liz Williams, President of Taco Bell International, told Reuters in an interview.

Taco Bell retreated from Singapore in 2009, It returned to Japan in 2015 after withdrawing in the 1980s, “Consumers weren’t ready in terms of awareness and the brand wasn’t positioned right at the time,” antique silver cufflinks she said, But thanks to a “heightened awareness” of Mexican food, broader palettes and brand exposure by millennials from more travel and technology, at least half of the new units will come from the Asia-Pacific region, she said, Taco Bell, which sells tacos and burritos, was also adding new flavors and items for local markets citing that its signature sauce was modified for its new store in Thailand, which will open on Thursday..