Toyota issues global recall
Toyota Motor Corp said yesterday it was recalling more than 1.35 million cars worldwide because of seatbelt and exhaust defects. The world’s biggest automaker is recalling 525,000 Vitz, Belta and Ractis vehicles in Japan made between January 2005 and last April. About 830,000 Vitz and Belta vehicles sold in North America, Europe and other markets are also subject to the recall, a Toyota spokeswoman said. The cars are called the Yaris Hatchback and Sedan in some markets. The recalls are mostly due to problems linked to the seatbelt tensioner that may cause a fire in the case of a collision, the company said.
STMicro cutting 4,500 jobs
French-Italian semiconductor maker STMicroelectronics said yesterday it would cut 4,500 jobs, one-tenth of its workforce, and predicted the global chip market will slide by at least 25 percent this year. STMicro, ranked fifth among global chipmakers, registered a loss last year of US$786 million as sales fell 1.6 percent to US$9.84 billion. The company said sales fell 17 percent in the final quarter of last year to US$2.28 billion and that with the sharp decline in demand, its factories would likely be operating at around 50 percent of their capacity in the first three months of this year.
Rio Tinto considers options
Global miner Rio Tinto, facing persistent rumors it might need to sell shares to help pay off US$39 billion in debt, conceded an equity raising was one option being considered. Rio Tinto announced sweeping plans last month to cut jobs, slash capital spending and expand asset sales aiming to cut debt by US$10 billion this year, after bigger rival BHP Billiton scrapped a US$66 billion takeover bid, blaming Rio’s debt levels and sliding metals prices. “In order to preserve maximum flexibility for the Group, the Boards do not rule out the potential to issue equity as one of the options it has available,” the company said in a statement. Media reports have speculated the group might raise as much as US$7 billion through a rights issue.
LG Display buys Cree chips
LG Display Co, the world’s second-largest maker of liquid-crystal displays, agreed to buy chips from Cree Inc to make backlights used in flat-panel screens. LG Display signed an agreement this month to order the so-called light-emitting diode (LED) chips, the company said in a statement yesterday, without providing financial terms. Cree, a Durham, North Carolina-based maker of semiconductors for energy-saving lights, will supply the LED chips to LG Display and provide technological support, the statement said. The South Korean display maker plans to expand the share of panels using LED backlights to 50 percent of its total notebook LCD-screen production, the company said.
Total wants UTS Energy
French oil giant Total said on Tuesday it had offered C$617 million (US$504 million) in cash for Canada’s UTS Energy Corp. The unsolicited offer of C$1.30 per share represents a 51 percent premium over the weighted average trading price UTS Energy shares at the Toronto Stock Exchange for the last 30 days, Total said in a statement.
The takeover bid made by Total’s Canadian affiliate will be open for at least 60 days and would have to be accepted by at least two-thirds of UTS shareholders.