Sun, Feb 08, 2009 - Page 11 News List

Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■HOUSING

Taiwan rental prices drop

The average price of apartments in Taiwan fell to the lowest in almost two years last month, with replacement demand from home owners ebbing as the country’s economy enters recession. Housing prices declined 7.8 percent to an average NT$228,700 (US$6,800) per ping (3.3m²), the lowest since March 2007, said Stanley Su, senior researcher at Sinyi Realty Co, Taiwan’s only listed property broker. Prices in the capital Taipei averaged NT$368,800, he said. “Dwindling replacement demand is the main reason prices fell,” Su said yesterday. “Home owners who wish to move into nicer apartments in better locations are holding back as the recession deepens.”

■EMPLOYMENT

Cabinet to create jobs

The Cabinet expects to create more jobs this year to help combat the rising number of unemployed, an economic planning official said on Friday. Vice chairman of the Council for Economic Planning and Development San Gee (單驥) said the number of created jobs would be increased to 330,000 this year, from 150,000 jobs estimated previously. To help solve the unemployment problem for college graduates, the government will offer 35,000 internships in local enterprises for unemployed college graduates who got their degrees between 2006 and last year, at a monthly salary ranging from NT$22,000 to NT$35,000, San said. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and the National Science Council would offer the same monthly pay to college graduates serving as assistants in research projects.

■CONSUMING

Ma La Sun sold in China

The “Ma La Sun” millet wine made famous by Taiwan’s blockbuster movie Cape No. 7 has made inroads into China’s market even before the movie opens there next Saturday. The millet wine producer, the Shinyi Hsiang Farmers’ Association from Nantou County, has already begun exporting the liquor to a Xiamen-based trading company that is serving as its exclusive distributor in China. Jin Jun (金君), the deputy general manager of the trading company, said yesterday that the Ma La Sun millet wine went on sale in China on Jan. 8.

■OIL

Offshore Group bought

Colombia and South Korea’s state oil companies announced on Friday their US$900 million purchase of US-based Offshore International Group Inc, whose main asset is the oil developer Petro-Tech Peruana SA. Ecopetrol SA and Korean National Oil Corp will each have a 50 percent interest in Petro-Tech, which has 11 blocks in Peru — one in production and the rest in exploration. Petro-Tech has been operating on the country’s northern coast since 1994, producing nearly 12,000 barrels of crude daily and has more than 100 million barrels in reserves, Ecopetrol said in statement issued in Bogota.

■PHARMACEUTICALS

Glaxo eyes Piramal

British drug developer GlaxoSmithKline PLC is reportedly in talks to buy Indian generic drug developer Piramal Healthcare Ltd for about US$1.5 billion. Late on Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that people familiar with the potential deal said the companies are at an early stage of talks. GlaxoSmithKline said it would not comment and Piramal could not be reached for comment. In December, GlaxoSmithKline agreed to buy Bristol-Myers Squibb Pakistan Ltd and certain associated trademarks for about US$36.5 million, adding an emerging market to its business.

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