Sun, Nov 26, 2006 - Page 11 News List

Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Trade

Three-way talks finalized

Talks for a free trade agreement between Taiwan, Honduras and El Salvador ended on Friday with a final pact expected to be signed in January, Salvadoran officials said. "We have closed today negotiations for a free trade agreement with Taiwan. This is a good sign, it is a goal that we have sought in our open trade strategy and without a doubt will have commercial benefits for El Salvador," Economy Minister Yolanda Mayora said. Mayora said the agreement will mean sharp reductions on duties levied by Taiwan on imports from El Salvador and Guatemala and openings for their products up to now prohibited by Taiwan, like textiles and some farm products. Taiwan will enjoy easier access to the markets of the Central American countries as well.

■ Airlines

CAL to buy replacement jets

Taiwan's China Airlines Ltd (CAL, 華航) plans to buy 10 long-range passenger jets to replace its ageing fleet of Boeing 747-400s and Airbus A340s, the Chinese-language Commercial Times said yesterday. The paper quoted CAL president Chao Kuo-shuai (趙國帥) as saying that CAL plans to place the orders -- worth between US$2 billion and US$3 billion -- in the first half of next year. "The jets must be fuel-efficient, environmental-friendly and can carry more passengers. Boeing 747-8, Boeing 747-9 and Airbus A350XWB are under consideration," he said. The paper said as CAL is unlikely to split the orders between Boeing and Airbus.

■ Incubators

Central park exceeds target

After exceeding its turnover target of NT$120 billion for the whole of this year in just the first 10 months of the year, the Central Taiwan Science Park (中部科學園區) now forecasts that its annual turnover will reach NT$170 billion (US$50 billion), a spokesman for the park said yesterday. The park's turnover for September and last month amounted to NT$37 billion, marking an increase of 20.9 percent over the figure for the previous two months and an increase of 134.2 percent year-on-year. For the January-October period, the park's turnover amounted to NT$138.2 billion, up 244 percent over the year-earlier figure.

■ Appliances

Goldman to buy Midea stake

Goldman Sachs Group Inc agreed to pay 716.6 million yuan (US$91 million) for 10.7 percent of Guangdong Midea Electric Appliances Co (廣東美的電器), China's biggest publicly-traded appliance maker by sales, Midea said yesterday. Goldman will buy 75.6 million new shares for 9.48 yuan each, the Chinese company, based in the southern city of Foshan, said in a statement to Shenzhen's stock exchange yesterday. "Goldman's offer was overwhelmingly accepted by our board with nine directors voting for the deal and none objecting. ... This deal will help us expand going forward," Midea said in a statement on the company's Web site.

■ Energy

Prodi praises Suez delay

A delay in the merger of French energy groups Suez and Gaz de France (GDF) could prompt friendly talks between French and Italian companies, Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi said on Friday in reference to interest expressed in Suez by Enel of Italy. "The delay in the decision [on a merger of Suez and state-owned Gaz de France] will be very useful for the resumption in friendly talks between French and Italian companies," Prodi said following a summit meeting in Lucca, Italy, with French President Jacques Chirac.

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