Sun, May 25, 2008 - Page 11 News List

Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■CHINA

Loans dropped after quake

Millions of dollars in bad loans caused by China’s massive earthquake will be written off in an effort to help disaster victims, the China Banking Regulatory Commission said in a statement posted on its Web site yesterday. The commission also ordered banks to write off bad credit card loans whose holders and guarantors died or went missing in the quake and who have no other assets to pay back the loans. It was not immediately clear how many loans would be written off, but the Agricultural Bank of China estimated it was facing up to 6 billion yuan (US$863 million) in bad loans linked to the earthquake.

■AUTOMOBILES

Hyundai chief stays home

The chairman of Hyundai has pulled out of a visit to China with South Korea’s president, an official at the presidential office said yesterday. Chung Mong-koo, who has been convicted of embezzling millions of dollars from Hyundai Motor Co, was among a group of South Korean business leaders due to accompany President Lee Myung-bak on an official visit to Beijing. Chung, 69, was sentenced to three years in jail in February last year for breach of trust and embezzling US$93 million in company funds.

■AVIATION

Boeing delays new jet

The Boeing Co has pushed back the date for a possible replacement to its popular 737 jet by several years, saying it needs more time to advance the underlying technology. Chicago-based Boeing spokeswoman Sandy Angers said in an interview on Friday that conversations with airline customers made it clear that requirements for a replacement plane — 15 percent to 20 percent better fuel efficiency, 25 percent lower maintenance costs — would require major technological advances in aerodynamics, materials, and the jet’s engine and electrical systems, among other areas. Angers said that first deliveries of a replacement 737 are now expected in the latter part of the next decade instead of in 2012.

■AUTOMOBILES

Suzuki may import Splash

Suzuki Motor Corp is considering selling its European-made Splash family car in Japan, the first time the automaker would import vehicles for the domestic market. “We’re considering the introduction of the model” in Japan from our Hungarian plant, company spokesman Yoichi Kojima said yesterday by telephone. Suzuki will import the model this year because its factories at home are already running at full capacity, the Nikkei Shimbun reported. The Splash was developed as the third global strategic model after the Swift and SX models.

■FINANCE

Brazil to vote on fund

Plans for the country to invest state assets in a new sovereign wealth fund will likely head to the nation’s congress in the next few weeks, Finance Minister Guido Mantega said on Friday. The fund will likely hold the equivalent of US$10 billion to US$20 billion, Mantega said when he announced its creation about 10 days ago. Much of the cash would be lent to Brazilian companies looking to boost trade and investments abroad, he said. The bill will be sent next week for the president’s approval before being forwarded to the legislature for consideration, the finance minister said.

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