Tue, Nov 13, 2007 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

AGENCIES

More trouble for Samsung

South Korean prosecutors said yesterday that they would launch a probe into allegations of bribery by Samsung Group, while a former lawyer for the conglomerate released a list of senior prosecutors that he claims took bribes.

The Supreme Public Prosecutors' Office plans to launch an investigation sometime this week, said Kwon Ki-hyun, a prosecution spokesman.

The decision followed the filing of a criminal lawsuit last week by two civic organizations against three top Samsung executives.

The suit came after Kim Yong-chul, a former top Samsung legal affairs official, claimed that chairman Lee Kun-hee masterminded the paying of bribes to prosecutors, judges, government officials, lawmakers and journalists.

Samsung has strongly denied the allegations.

Honda raises solar stake

Honda Motor Co, Japan's second-largest automaker, will increase the number of outlets where it sells solar panels and is planning overseas sales to compete against Sharp Corp and Kyocera Corp in the solar-power market.

Honda will sell panels through 200 independent outlets next year compared with 80 now, the company said in a statement yesterday. The Tokyo-based carmaker also said it was planning overseas sales, without providing details.

Honda opened a solar-panel factory last month with capacity to make 220,000 panels totaling 27.5 megawatts a year. Sharp, the world's largest supplier of solar panels, sold panels totaling 434 megawatts last year.

The maker of Fit compact cars started selling home-use solar panels in Japan nationwide last month to make electricity through its Honda Soltec Co subsidiary.

NYMEX buys into IMAREX

NYMEX Holdings Inc, parent company of the New York Mercantile Exchange, agreed to buy a 15.1 percent stake in the Norwegian financial derivatives exchange IMAREX ASA for about US$52 million, the companies announced yesterday.

Oslo-based IMAREX specializes in markets for bulk and tanker shipping, electrical power, oil, carbon dioxide emissions and seafood. It has operations in key Norwegian cities, as well as in Singapore, London, Houston and Zurich.

A news release said IMAREX is the world's only regulated market for trading of freight derivatives.

"This investment and partnership in one of Europe's leading derivatives exchanges advances our strategic goal to expand our product distribution and clearing into the European market," said Richard Schaeffer, chairman of NYMEX.

Olivant in Northern Rock offer

Troubled British mortgage lender Northern Rock PLC may be subject to a management proposal -- including an offer for a minority stake -- from Olivant Advisers Ltd.

Olivant said it was not proposing an offer for the entire share capital of Northern Rock.

"The proposal would involve the immediate introduction into Northern Rock of a core team of Olivant's experienced principals, led by its chairman, Luqman Arnold, to work intensively alongside its existing board and management," Olivant said.

Luqman Arnold is a former president and chairman of the Group Executive Board of UBS AG, and former CEO of Abbey National PLC.

NT dollar rises, then falls

The New Taiwan dollar opened higher but fell back against the US dollar and traded NT$0.002 lower to close at NT$32.290 against its US counterpart yesterday.

Turnover was US$962 million (NT$29.79 million) on the Taipei Forex Inc.

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