Sun, Nov 16, 2003 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

AGENCIES

■ Mobile phones
Motorola chooses Singapore

Motorola, the US-based cellphone giant, has picked Singapore to house its first procurement center to buy parts for manufacturers the company engages around the world, it was reported yesterday. The center is expected to handle S$3 billion (US$1.6 billion) in transactions annually by 2006. The second-largest mobile-phone maker announced two weeks ago it was expanding its research and development activities here. Chief procurement officer Theresa Metty told The Straits Times the center will purchase 80 percent of the parts needed by companies to which Motorola has outsourced production. "As we outsourced more manufacturing, our purchasing base was getting more fragmented," she was quoted as saying. Singapore is now Motorola's headquarters for its Asian operations and employs more than 2,200 workers.

■ Trade

Taiwan is losing ground

Economists issued a warning over the week about Taiwan's deteriorating competitiveness, despite the fact that the domestic economy grew by more than 4 percent in the third quarter of this year. Since the beginning of the year, Taiwan exports to China increased by less than 10 percent, a stark contrast to a 40-percent expansion level in China's imports during the same period, experts at the Directorate General of Accounting, Budget and Statistics (DGBAS) said. Taiwan's economy is expected to post a growth rate of 4.1 percent or better for next year should Taiwan-China ties remain sound. The DGBAS reported Friday that the economy grew by 4.18 percent for the third quarter and predicted that it will increase by 4.81 percent in the fourth quarter, white the ratio for the whole of this year will be 3.15 percent.

■ Mobile phones

Intel teams with DoCoMo

Japan's top mobile phone operator NTT DoCoMo Inc and US chipmaking giant Intel Corp will jointly develop next-generation chips for mobile phones, a business daily said yesterday. Through the alliance with Intel, DoCoMo aims to gain an advantage in operations in Europe, the US and other parts of Asia, the <> said. They will develop a new chip for DoCoMo's flagship third-generation `FOMA' cellphones to allow users to enjoy audio and data communications and image processing at once, it said. DoCoMo has said FOMA subscribers in Japan will reach two million by next March against an earlier forecast of 1.46 million. In the six months to September, DoCoMo's group net profit soared to US$3.24 billion, its highest ever half-year profit.

■ Luxury goods

Waterford posts loss

The maker of Waterford crystal, Waterford Wedgwood, said it lost 42.7 million euros (US$50.2 million) in the six months to the end of September as a result of a 32.7 million-euro restructuring charge and trading uncertainty caused by the SARS epidemic and the war in Iraq. Profit was 28.6 million euros in the same period last year. Waterford Wedgwood expects to save 14 million euros over the next six months from recent downsizing efforts, the chairman, Sir Anthony O'Reilly, said. It will issue 213 million shares, at 0.18 euros each, to existing investors to raise 38.5 million euros to pay down debt, and will raise another 165 million euros through a seven-year bond issue.

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