TNK-BP sees end to dispute
The head of British-Russian oil giant TNK-BP yesterday said a dispute within the company seen as a test of Russia’s investment climate would be resolved soon. “I am sure the dispute will be resolved within days,” Robert Dudley was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying on the sidelines of an economic forum in Saint Petersburg. TNK-BP is Russia’s third-largest oil producer and is jointly held by British oil major BP and three Russian billionaires, who have called for Dudley to step down, accusing him of working solely in BP’s interests. Dudley was also summoned this week by Russian authorities in a tax investigation.
Toyota plans more hybrids
Toyota Motor Corp plans to produce hybrid cars in Australia and Thailand as demand for fuel-efficient vehicles surges along with oil prices, Japan’s top business daily said yesterday. Toyota, the world’s second-biggest automaker by annual vehicle sales, will roll out the hybrid version of the popular Camry sedan in Thailand at the end of next year and in Australia as early as 2010, the Nihon Keizai newspaper said. Officials at Toyota could not be reached for comment. Toyota is hoping to sell 1 million hybrids a year sometime after 2010.
Credit card borrowing slows
Americans relied a lot less on their credit cards in April with debt in that area rising at the slowest pace in nearly three years. The Federal Reserve said on Friday that consumer borrowing increased at an annual rate of 4.2 percent in April, slower than the 6.2 percent increase of March. The slowdown reflected the fact that borrowing in the category that includes credit cards rose at an annual rate of just 0.4 percent, the weakest performance since borrowing in this area actually declined at a 1.8 percent rate in May 2005.
Firms take state to court
General Motors Corp and other automakers said California was trying to enforce carbon-reduction rules not yet approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and asked a judge for an order blocking the regulations. Without an injunction, automakers will have to spend billions of dollars by the end of this year, said the filing to the federal court in Fresno, California. The companies are seeking a court order that would prevent California from requiring companies to take any steps toward compliance before 2017. In December the EPA blocked California’s efforts to require cuts in greenhouse gas exhaust starting with next year’s models, saying a nationwide regulation was needed. It was the first time the EPA rejected a California pollution program.
Farmers to end strike
Argentine farm leaders said they would end their latest strike against a new export tax plan tomorrow in order to enter talks with the government and calm fears of food shortages. Argentina’s four biggest farming groups said on Friday that they were willing to enter talks aimed at ending the dispute, which started when the taxes were introduced on March 11. Farmers will remain “on alert” along roadsides as talks begin, said an e-mailed statement drafted after an eight-hour meeting in Buenos Aires. Blockades by truck drivers, who are protesting the farmers’ actions, have raised the threat of food shortages in the South American country for the second time since March.
POOR INTERNAL CONTROLS: Insurance Bureau Director-General Shih Chiung-hwa said the company is expected to get back on track while its chairman is suspended The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) yesterday fined Shin Kong Life Insurance Co (新光人壽) NT$27.6 million (US$939,415) for a reckless investment that endangered its solvency, and suspended its chairman Eugene Wu (吳東進) for poor supervision. The penalty is the second-highest in a single case after Nan Shan Life Insurance Co (南山人壽) was fined NT$30 million in September last year and its chairman Du Ying-tzyong (杜英宗) suspended for two years, the commission said. In three rounds of special and regular examinations conducted since last year, the commission found that Shin Kong Life had given too much power to an asset and liability management committee
Continental AG, which makes control units for Daimler AG cars, cannot pursue antitrust claims against a group of patent owners, including Qualcomm Inc, which are seeking royalties on telecommunications technology, a federal judge in Texas ruled. Avanci LLC, a licensing pool formed by Qualcomm, Nokia Oyj, Sharp Corp and other owners of patents on technology standards, is not breaching antitrust laws when it negotiates license agreements with automakers rather than the component makers, Barbara Lynn, chief district judge for the Northern District of Texas, said in dismissing the suit in a decision posted on Friday. The licensing group charges US$15 per vehicle
Sony Corp has cut its estimated Play Station 5 (PS5) production for this fiscal year by 4 million units, down to about 11 million, following production issues with its custom-designed system-on-chip (SOC) for the new console, people familiar with the matter said. The Tokyo-based electronics giant in July boosted orders with suppliers in anticipation of heightened demand for gaming in the holiday season and beyond, as people spend more time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the company has come up against manufacturing issues, such as production yields as low as 50 percent for its SOC, which have cut into
HEAVY INVESTMENT: Moody’s affirmed the firm’s ‘Aa3’ rating with a ‘stable’ outlook due to its leading position in the industry and ability to match customer requirements Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) revenue this year is expected to increase about 21 percent to NT$1.29 trillion (US$44.01 billion) from NT$1.07 trillion last year, driven by strong demand for advanced 5-nanometer and 7-nanometer chips mainly used in smartphones and high-performance computing devices, a Moody’s Investors Service report on Wednesday said. TSMC’s rate of revenue growth next year is to increase to 7.5 percent, the ratings agency said. The company, which supplies 5-nanometer chips for Apple Inc’s new iPad series, has introduced the advanced chips ahead of its competitors and gained a significant share of the market for the foundry industry’s