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Coca Cola reports seventh straight drop in quarterly revenue


Coca-Cola Co (KO. N) reported a 6 percent drop in quarterly revenue, the seventh straight drop, hurt by high levels of inflation in certain Latin American countries and as a strong dollar reduced the value of sales outside the United States. Net income attributable to the company's shareholders fell to $550 million, or 13 cents per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, from $1.24 billion, or 28 cents per share, a year earlier. The fourth quarter included a $919 million charge related to the refranchising of some of the company's bottling operations in North America.

Net operating revenue fell to $9.41 billion from $10 billion.

Twitter reports slowest quarterly revenue growth Twitter Inc reported its slowest quarterly revenue growth since going public, as the company continues to grapple with intense competition from newer services such as Snap Inc's Snapchat and Facebook's Instagram.

U.S. court blocks Anthem-Cigna merger, dealing blow to consolidation A federal judge on Wednesday ruled against U.S. health insurer Anthem Inc's proposed $54 billion merger with smaller rival Cigna Corp , derailing an unprecedented effort to consolidate the country's health insurance industry.

Singapore Airlines places $13.8 billion wide-body Boeing order SINGAPORE/PARIS Singapore Airlines (SIA) announced a $13.8 billion provisional order to buy 39 Boeing wide-body aircraft as it pursues expansion opportunities, dealing a setback for Airbus Group in the battle of big twinjets between the two manufacturers.

Samsung chief questioned behind closed doors in arrest warrant hearing


A South Korean judge questioned Samsung Group leader Jay Y. Lee and another executive behind closed doors on Thursday to decide whether they should be arrested over their roles in a corruption scandal that has engulfed President Park Geun-hye. Dozens of protesters surrounded by riot police met Lee, 48, who was wearing a dark coat and navy tie as he arrived at the Seoul Central District Court to attend the hearing. South Korea's special prosecutor's office has focused its investigations on Samsung Group's [SAGR. UL] relationship with Park, who was impeached by parliament in December and has been stripped of her powers while the Constitutional Court decides whether to uphold her impeachment. Prosecutors accuse Lee in his capacity as the head of South Korea's largest conglomerate of pledging 43 billion won ($37.7 million) to a business and organizations backed by Park's friend, Choi Soon-sil, in exchange for support of a 2015 merger of two Samsung companies. That funding includes Samsung's sponsorship of the equestrian career of Choi's daughter, who is in detention in Denmark after being sought by South Korean authorities. Park, Lee, Choi and Samsung Group all deny any wrongdoing.

Prosecutors have also sought an arrest warrant for Samsung Electronics Co Ltd president Park Sang-jin, who also heads the Korea Equestrian Federation and arrived for the hearing after Lee. Neither man answered questions from reporters. It is the second time in a month the special prosecutor's office has sought Lee's arrest.

The same Seoul court rejected its request for a warrant in January but a spokesman for the special prosecutor's office said on Wednesday it had since expanded the charges against Lee to include hiding the proceeds of a criminal act, as well as bribery, embezzlement, hiding assets overseas and perjury. Two groups of protesters - one calling for Lee's arrest and another carrying South Korean flags and demanding that the warrant request be dismissed - stood outside the courthouse in southern Seoul. After the hearing concludes, Lee and Park Sang-jin were expected to await the court's decision in a detention center, a prosecution spokesman said. The decision may come late on Thursday or early Friday, based on previous instances.

On Wednesday, Samsung Group repeated an earlier denial on its official Twitter account: "Samsung has absolutely never bribed the president seeking something in return or sought illicit favors.""We will do our best for the truth to be revealed in court," it said. The corruption scandal erupted late last year and has engulfed South Korea's political and business elite. Park, who remains in the presidential Blue House, could become the first democratically elected leader in South Korea to leave office in disgrace. If Lee is arrested it could also deal a serious blow to Samsung, the world's biggest maker of smartphones, memory chips and flat-screen televisions, potentially hampering strategic decision-making such as new investments and acquisitions.