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The former president of Peru, Alan Garcia, speaks during the First International Meeting of the Pacific Basin, in Cali, Colombia, on October 5, 2011.

Luis Robayo | AFP | Getty Images

The former president of Peru, Alan Garcia, speaks during the First International Meeting of the Pacific Basin, in Cali, Colombia, on October 5, 2011.

Peru’s former president Alan Garcia died in a hospital in Lima on Wednesday, hours after shooting himself in the head to avoid arrest in connection with a bribery probe, authorities said on Wednesday.

Garcia was 69.

A skilled orator elected president twice, first as a firebrand leftist and then as a champion of foreign investment and free trade, Garcia had been dogged by allegations of corruption in recent years that he repeatedly denied.

Garcia had been one of nine people a judge had ordered to be arrested on Wednesday for alleged involvement in bribes distributed by Odebrecht, a Brazilian construction company that triggered Latin America’s biggest graft scandal when it admitted in 2016 that it had paid kickbacks to politicians across the region to secure lucrative contracts.

Members of his party announced his death to crowds gathered outside of hospital Casimiro Ulloa, where he suffered three cardiac arrests and underwent emergency surgery.

President Martin Vizcarra said on Twitter that he was “consternated” by Garcia’s death, and sent his condolences to his family members.

Garcia governed as a nationalist from 1985 to 1990 before remaking himself as a free-market proponent and winning another five-year term in 2006.

He had denied wrongdoing involving Odebrecht, and blamed his legal troubles on political persecution.

“Others might sell out, not me,” Garcia said in broadcast comments on Tuesday, repeating a phrase he has used frequently as his political foes became ensnared in the Odebrecht investigation.

Interior Minister Carlos Moran said at a news conference before Garcia died that the former president had told police he needed to call his attorney after they arrived at his home in Lima to arrest him.

“He entered his room and closed the door behind him,” Moran said. “Within a few minutes, a shot from a firearm was heard, and police forcibly entered the room and found Mr. Garcia sitting with a wound in his head.”

Last year, Garcia asked Uruguay for political asylum after he was banned from leaving the country to keep him from fleeing or obstructing the investigation. Uruguay rejected the request.

Garcia would have been the third former president in Peru to have been jailed in the Odebrecht case. Ollanta Humala spent nine months in pre-trial detention in 2017-2018 and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski was arrested without charges last week.

A fourth former president, Alejandro Toledo, is fighting extradition from California after a judge in Peru ordered him jailed for 18 months in connection with Odebrecht in 2017.

All have denied wrongdoing in connection with Odebrecht.

In Peru, criminal suspects can be ordered to spend up to three years in jail before trial if prosecutors can show they have evidence that likely would lead to a conviction and the suspect would likely flee or try to interfere in the investigation.

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Q2 net profit falls 18% amid Popular costs

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Santander said on Tuesday second-quarter net profit fell 18% from a year earlier, due to one-off restructuring costs from its acquisition of troubled lender Banco Popular and a weak performance in Britain.

The euro zone’s largest bank in terms of market cap — which took over Banco Popular in June 2017 — reported a net profit of 1.39 billion euros ($1.56 billion) for the April to June period, topping analysts’ expectation of 1.29 billion euros in a Reuters poll.

Steady growth in Latin America business volumes, where it makes 46% of its earnings, was not enough to offset charges of 706 million euros, mainly in Spain.

Like its European rivals, Santander is struggling to lift earnings from loans in its home market with interest rates hovering at historic lows.

“We have delivered the strongest underlying quarterly performance in over 8 years, reflecting the progress that we have made in our commercial and digital transformation,” Jose Garcia Cantera, chief financial officer of Santander, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe.”

“Our businesses in both North and South America continue to perform extremely well and while the charges relating to ongoing infrastructure in Europe have impacted attributable profit — something that we anticipated — we are already starting to see the value that this will create going forward,” Cantera said.

Net interest income, a measure of earnings on loans minus deposit costs, was 8.95 billion euros, up 5.6% from the second quarter of last year and 3.1% higher against the previous quarter due to a solid lending growth in Latin America.

Analysts had forecast a NII of 8.76 billion euros. 

In Britain, its third-largest region, profit fell 41%, partly due to restructuring costs of 26 million euros and provisions of 80 million euros.

Santander ended the quarter with a core Tier-1 capital ratio, a closely watched measure of a bank’s strength, of 11.3%, compared with 11.23% in the previous quarter.

Shares of the bank were up over 2% shortly after the opening bell.

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Coca-Cola raises revenue forecast after earnings beat

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Coca-Cola on Tuesday reported quarterly earnings and revenue that beat analysts’ expectations, driven by sales of its namesake soda brand.

Shares of the company jumped 5.6% in early trading. The beverage giant’s stock, which has a market value of $230.6 billion, is up 14% in 2019. Shares of rival PepsiCo, which are valued at $182.8 billion, have been closing the gap with Coke, rising 18% over the same period.

“Our strategy to transform as a total beverage company has allowed us to continue to win in a growing and vibrant industry,” CEO James Quincey said in a statement.

Here’s what the company reported for its fiscal second quarter compared with what Wall Street was expecting, based on a survey of analysts by Refinitiv:

  • Adjusted earnings per share: 63 cents, adjusted, vs. 61 cents expected
  • Revenue: $10 billion vs. $9.99 billion expected

The beverage giant reported net income of $2.61 billion, or 61 cents per share, up from $2.32 billion, or 54 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, Coke earned 63 cents per share, topping the 61 cents per share expected by analysts surveyed by Refinitiv.

Net sales rose 6% to $10 billion, narrowly beating expectations of $9.99 billion. Coke raised its full-year outlook for revenue and now expects organic revenue growth of 5% rather than 4%.

“We think the dollar is towards the end of a strong cycle,” CFO John Murphy said.

The company attributed its strong performance during the quarter to 4% volume and transaction growth in Coke’s namesake brand. Its Zero Sugar line once again saw double-digit volume growth across the globe.

Quincey told analysts that nearly 25% of the company’s revenue now comes from new or reformulated beverages, up from 15% just two years ago.

During its second quarter, Coke partnered with Netflix to bring back New Coke and help promote the third season of “Stranger Things.” It also rolled out Coca-Cola Plus Coffee in more markets, as the company expands into different kinds of caffeinated drinks.

That includes Coke’s first energy drink under the Coca-Cola brand. Coca-Cola Energy uses caffeine from naturally derived sources and is available in 14 countries, including Japan and South Africa. By the end of 2019, the beverage giant plans to bring it to Mexico, Brazil and four more countries.

Quincey declined to share any plans to sell Coca-Cola Energy in the U.S. but said it would benefit the company to wait to learn more from early markets before entering its home market. In July, an arbitrator ruled that Coke can peddle the energy drink under the terms of its contract with Monster Beverage.

The company has also launched its first product line with Costa Coffee since it acquired the U.K. coffee brand in January for $4.9 billion. The canned coffee drinks contain double shots of espresso and will launch in Poland and China this year. There are no plans to introduce the ready-to-drink coffee beverages in the U.S.

Coke reiterated its fiscal 2019 earnings forecast, saying that earnings per share could fall or rise by 1%. The company had pointed to currency fluctuations, Fed rate hikes and changing tax rates as reasons for its gloomy earnings projection. Murphy told analysts on the conference call Tuesday that “currencies have gotten worse,” but he expects a more “benign” currency environment in 2020.

Net sales in the Asia Pacific and Europe, Middle East and Africa segments were flat for the quarter, largely due to the impact of currency. Revenue in Latin America fell 6% because of a 13% currency headwind, although Coke said it had strong performance in Mexico and Brazil. Quincey told analysts that Mexico’s economic growth is slowing, so the company is tweaking its strategy for the country.

North America was the only region to reported net revenue growth. Price hikes and packaging initiatives helped propel revenue growth of 2%. The company said that it saw strong performance from soda, water, sports drinks, juices and dairy and plant-based beverages.

Correction: An earlier version misstated the amount of the Costa deal. It was $4.9 billion when it closed, according to a Coca-Cola spokesperson.

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Daimler, Bosch get green light for automated valet parking system

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Daimler and Bosch have been granted approval to roll out an automated parking system in Stuttgart, Germany.

In an announcement Tuesday, German auto giant Daimler said that the automated valet service would be introduced at the parking garage of the Mercedes-Benz Museum. It will be accessed using a smartphone app and will not need a safety driver.

Daimler said that the system was the “world’s first fully automated driverless SAE Level 4 parking function to be officially approved for everyday use.”

Five “levels” of driving automation have been defined by SAE International, a global association of over 128,000 engineers and technical experts. At Level 4, a vehicle can drive itself under limited conditions and “will not operate unless all required conditions are met.” At Level 5, a vehicle’s automated driving features can drive it under all conditions.

Michael Hafner, who is head of drive technologies and automated driving at Daimler, said in a statement Tuesday that gaining approval from authorities in Baden-Wurttemberg set “a precedent for obtaining approval in the future for the parking service in parking garages around the world.”

Hafner went on to add that the project paved the way “for automated valet parking to go into mass production in the future.”

The infrastructure for the system in Stuttgart has been supplied by Bosch, with Daimler providing the technology in the vehicles, which display turquoise lighting to indicate they are in driverless mode.

When the driver of a vehicle with the appropriate technology reaches the car park, they get out and use their smartphone to send their car to a space. The vehicle then drives to that space and parks up.

Sensors from Bosch assess the “driving corridor” of the garage and its surroundings, sending the vehicle all the information it needs. The vehicle processes this data to plot its maneuvers and route, driving up and down ramps to move through the garage if required. If an obstacle is detected, the vehicle will stop.

Around the world, major businesses are working to develop autonomous driving systems. It was only last week that another car giant, Groupe PSA, announced it was conducting tests in the Spanish city of Vigo to “advance the development of autonomous driving”.

The collaboration with the Automotive Technology Centre of Galicia will focus on a number of areas, including the protection of vulnerable users; automated valet parking; autonomous driving in urban areas; and “optimal speed regulation” when vehicles approach traffic lights.

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