Sun, Nov 25, 2007 - Page 11 News List

Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ TRADE

Malaysia, India eye FTA

Malaysia and India will begin negotiating a free trade agreement (FTA) in January, a report said yesterday. Malaysian Trade Minister Rafidah Aziz was quoted as saying that a bilateral trade pact could boost Malaysia's exports to India by 1.3 times, or US$12 billion, by 2012. The talks would aim for a comprehensive bilateral agreement covering goods and services, investments and economic cooperation, the New Straits Times newspaper reported her as saying. Last year, India was Malaysia's ninth-largest trading partner, ninth-largest export destination and 17th-largest import source.

■ AUTOMOBILES

Fiat to invest in Brazil

Fiat is to invest nearly US$3.4 billion in South America's biggest car market, Brazil, over the next three years to boost in-country production, the CEO of the automaker, Sergio Marchione, said on Friday. The lion's share of the investment -- US$2.8 billion -- will go to expanding a factory that the company already has in the state of Minas Gerais, Governor Aecio Neves told reporters. The expansion will push the plant's production from a current 700,000 vehicles per year to more than 1 million in 2010, Neves said following a meeting with Marchione and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

■ BANKING

BoCom, HSBC to team up

Bank of Communications Ltd (BoCom, 交通銀行), part-owned by HSBC Holdings Plc, plans to cooperate overseas with the UK bank, BoCom chairman Jiang Chaoliang (蔣超良) said. The Chinese lender is seeking overseas acquisitions and branches, Jiang said yesterday at a conference in Beijing, without elaborating. The Shanghai-based lender in April raised US$3.3 billion in a Shanghai share sale. HSBC, Europe's biggest bank by market value, raised its ownership in BoCom to 19 percent from 18.6 percent after buying 172.5 million shares on the open market for HK$2.16 billion (US$278 million) on Oct. 23 and Oct. 24. The London-based bank has said it wants to return its holding in BoCom to 19.9 percent.

■ MINERALS

Rusal wants Norilsk stake

Aluminum giant United Company Rusal said on Friday that it would acquire a stake of 25 percent plus one share in metals conglomerate OAO Norilsk Nickel from former general director Mikhail Prokhorov if his former business partner does not buy him out. In exchange for turning over the stake in Norilsk to Rusal, Prokhorov's Onexim group will receive 11 percent of shares in Rusal plus an undetermined amount of cash, Rusal and Onexim said in a joint statement. However, the statement said, "the transaction is conditional upon non-acceptance of an offer to buy 25 percent of Norilsk Nickel made by Onexim to Vladimir Potanin." Potanin owns Norilsk Nickel.

■ ELECTRONICS

Sanyo disputes report

Sanyo Electric Co said a Nikkei newspaper report that it plans to book an additional ¥100 billion (US$926 million) loss for fiscal year 2000 is a "presumption" and that auditors were still finalizing past earnings. The company will make the auditor's report public when it is completed, Sanyo said in a statement to the stock exchange yesterday. Sanyo undervalued losses at poorly performing semiconductor and liquid-crystal-display units during a review of unconsolidated earnings for the period from fiscal 2000 to 2005, the Nikkei said yesterday. The additional loss would mean Sanyo was operating at a loss, the report said.

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