Thu, Feb 22, 2007 - Page 6 News List

Business Briefs


■ Computers
HP profit up 35 percent

Hewlett-Packard said on Tuesday that its profit increased 35 percent in its first quarter as revenue grew 11 percent. The company said net income for the quarter ended on Jan. 31, was US$1.8 billion, or US$0.65 a share, compared with US$1.4 billion, or US$0.48 a year earlier. Revenue climbed to US$25.1 billion from US$22.7 billion a year earlier. Analysts had been expecting net earnings of US$0.62 a share. Strong sales of personal computers were crucial to the firm's performance. Revenue for its PC unit grew 17 percent to US$8.7 billion. While desktop sales declined slightly, sales of notebook computers rose 40 percent.

■ Takeovers

UB Group eyes whisky firm

Indian liquor baron Vijay Mallya's UB Group said yesterday it was scrutinizing the books of scotch-whisky maker Whyte and Mackay prior to a possible takeover reportedly worth US$1.07 billion. "The due diligence process is under way," P.A. Murali, chief financial officer of UB Spirits Ltd, India's largest distiller, told reporters in Bangalore. Murali said it would be "speculative" to comment on the likely date of an agreement. UB Group, founded in 1915 to make bulk beer for British troops, said last month that it was in talks to acquire Glasgow-based Whyte and Mackay.

■ Internet

Wikipedia not in trouble

The president of the Wikimedia Foundation, which runs the free Internet encyclopedia Wikipedia, on Tuesday rebutted rumors circulating on the web that it is dangerously short of money. Florence Devouard, who lives in France, is quoted by bloggers as saying that the foundation only has resources for a few more months and that without new funding it could close. But she told reporters remarks she made at a conference were being misconstrued. "There are indeed only about US$1 million in the bank, but compared to previous years that is almost comfortable. It is enough for three or four months -- nothing to panic about," she said.

■ Automakers

Hyundai chairman in India

Hyundai Motor Co chairman Chung Mong-koo left for India on business yesterday, the company said, on Chung's first trip abroad since he was handed a prison term earlier this month. Chung plans to check progress at Hyundai's second Indian plant, which is slated to start operating in the third quarter of this year in the city of Chennai, said Oles Gadacz, Hyundai's director of global public relations. The Seoul District Court on Feb. 5 convicted Chung for illegally raising a US$110 million slush fund from affiliates, as well as other wrongdoing in one of South Korea's most high-profile corruption scandals. Last year Chung was jailed for about two months before being released on bail.

■ Steel

Mittal to sell Baltimore mill

The US Justice Department on Tuesday ordered global steel giant Mittal Steel Co to sell its Sparrows Point mill near Baltimore, Maryland, to settle antitrust issues raised by the Dutch firm's recent merger with Arcelor SA. The proposed consent decree would allow Mittal to keep a Weirton, West Virginia, mill that had volunteered to be sold to preserve competition for tin-plated steel, used primarily for food and aerosol cans. Illinois-based Esmark Inc said it might consider a joint venture to buy Sparrows Point if the Weirton mill is unavailable, and industry experts said a number of German, Indian and Russian companies are shopping for North American steel mills.

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