Sun, May 04, 2003 - Page 11 News List

World Business Quick Take


Welsh mission arrives

A trade mission from Wales composed of six company executives and two representatives from Wales Trade International will arrive in Taiwan today for a four-day visit. The mission will seek business and service opportunities with Taiwan companies, mainly in hi-tech sectors such as Internet integration systems, telecommunications, lasers and biotechnologies. The mission is slated to leave Taiwan May 7.

■ Headhunting

High demand for managers

Demand for executives and managers in emerging markets like China, Vietnam and India has grown unabated in recent months, a headhunting firm said on Saturday. Half of El Consult Singapore's recruitment assignments are for regional jobs, managing director Emily Foo told reporters. Last year they made up only 10 per cent of its business. The Sydney-based firm has seen more companies hiring managers and financial executives for postings in Guangzhou, Shanghai and Ho Chi Minh City in the last three months, Foo said. Other vacancies are in India and Indonesia.

■ Accounting

Scammers seek tax break

US firms under investigation for artificially inflating their earnings during the '90s boom times have found a new way to turn the sow's ear into a silk purse. MCI, which has changed its name from WorldCom, Enron Corporation and Quest Communications Inter-national are demanding that the US government refund taxes they paid on the inflated income figures, reported the Wall Street Journal. They are likely entitled to the rebates under the law, the Journal quoted officials as saying. The figure could run into hundreds of millions of dollars the government must pay back. MCI, which changed its name from WorldCom, tops the fraud list by having misstated profits of at least US$9 billion. Health South inflated earnings by US$2 billion, and Enron by US$586 million. Health South and MCI each a have overpaid taxes by US$300 million.

■ Labor

Survey lauds Singapore

American businesses see housing and labor costs as causes for concern, but give high marks to Singapore's stable government and security, a survey showed yesterday. The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) survey included more than 100 senior executives and was part of a larger regional poll of six Southeast Asian countries. Out of nine local business environment factors here, only two were of major concern -- housing and labor costs. Half of those surveyed felt dissatisfied with housing prices, a 19 per cent hike from last year. Fifty per cent of the respondents said they were dissatisfied with labor costs, up from 35 per cent last year.

■ Labor

Chevron doubles profits

Higher crude oil and gas prices contributed to a doubling of first quarter profits to US$1.92 billion for the US energy giant ChevronTexaco Inc, the company said Friday in San Ramon, California. Higher profit margins in production, refineries and distribution also improved the results, the company said. The figures compared to US$725 million in earnings in the same period last year. Revenues for the second largest energy concern after ExxonMobil were up 46 percent to US$30.97 billion, compared to US$21.16 billion in the same period last year.

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