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KUALA LUMPUR, May 16:

Malaysia’s largest convenience store chain, 7-Eleven Malaysia Holdings Bhd, has raised about RM732 million in a share sale priced at the top of expectations, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the deal.

The company, controlled by Malaysian billionaire Vincent Tan, priced the initial public offering (IPO) at RM1.38 per share – which compares with an indicative price range of RM1.33 to RM1.38.

The company plans to use most of the proceeds to open 600 stores over the next three years, a much faster pace than the 300 opened over the past three years, according to its prospectus. It currently has almost 1,600 outlets.

Alitalia suspends Venezuela flights

CARACAS, May 16: Italian airline Alitalia confirmed that it is suspending service to Venezuela between the start of June and the end of October because of growing disputes over delays in repatriating revenue under the country’s currency controls.

Venezuela owes airlines some US$4 billion (RM12.9 billion), according to the International Air Transport Association, because the airlines are required to sell tickets in the local bolivar currency but the government has not granted them approval to repatriate that revenue.

Air Canada halted its operations in March, citing security concerns related to street protests, and Venezuela immediately cut ties to the airline. Major airlines flying to Venezuela include American Airlines, Lufthansa, Delta, Avianca and Copa.

Kia seeks upmarket branding image

DETROIT, May 16: Kia Motors Corp is out to change its image among Americans as a low-priced value brand with the recently launched US$66,000 (RM212,850) luxury K900 sedan, but analysts said it should expect an uphill climb.

Kia, the South Korean automaker with the same corporate parent as Hyundai Motor Co, has been asking US consumers to “challenge the luxury you know” since its February Super Bowl ad featuring Laurence Fishburne who reprised his role in the futuristic “The Matrix” movie trilogy.

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