Sun, Feb 22, 2009 - Page 11 News List

Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ENERGY

Eurus to build solar plant

Tokyo Electric Power Co will build a solar power plant in the US state of California through its subsidiary Eurus Energy Holdings Corp, a report said yesterday. It plans to begin operations at the 1,000 kilowatt plant by next year on a site to be selected, the Nikkei Shimbun business daily reported. Eurus, already engaged in wind power generation in the US, wants to take advantage of incentives expected to be provided by the new US government to boost solar power generation nationwide, Nikkei said. The US$787 billion US economic stimulus package passed on Tuesday earmarks US$38 billion for investments in the environmental and energy sectors.

■AUTOMOBILES

Nissan cuts US team

Nissan Motor Co is chopping its California-based advanced planning team to nine positions from 19, possibly paring its ability to create models for the US. Nissan’s cutback of the Los Angeles group follows the company’s announcement last month that it will close a design studio at its Farmington Hills, Michigan, engineering center. On Feb. 9 in Japan, the company said it would cut 20,000 jobs worldwide because of the sales slump, following plans to shed 110 US sales, marketing and design positions. Meanwhile, Mazda Motor Corp said it’s eliminating 110 jobs in the US market to remain competitive in the current environment, spokesman Jeremy Barnes said in an interview.

■INSURANCE

Prudential to help Yamato

US life insurer Prudential Financial Inc is to help restructure Yamato Life Insurance Co, the first Japanese financial firm to fall victim to the financial crisis, the Nikkei Shimbun daily reported yesterday. The financial services firm, unrelated to British insurance group Prudential Plc, has two Japanese units, Prudential Life Insurance Co and Gibraltar Life Insurance Co. Tokyo-based Yamato went bankrupt in October with debts of US$2.9 billion. It was the first Japanese life insurer to fail in seven years, and only the eighth since the end of World War II.

■STEEL

Production falls by 24%

Global steel production fell by a quarter between last January and last month, but rose slightly from December because of increased output in China, the World Steel Association said on Friday. Total production last month was 86 million tonnes in the 66 countries included in the association’s survey — 24 percent lower than in the same month last year. Production rose 4.5 percent from December “mainly because of a 9.9 percent increase in Chinese production,” the group said in a statement. China’s steel production went up by 2.4 percent between last January and last month, the group said.

■BANKING

UBS cannot share data

A Swiss tribunal has barred financial regulators from handing banking information of UBS bank clients to US authorities investigating tax fraud, ATS news agency reported. Siding with a complaint from UBS clients, the tribunal on Friday issued an order forbidding Swiss bank regulator FINMA from giving the plaintiffs’ “banking documents to third parties, particularly US authorities,” ATS said. The tribunal’s decision came amid US Justice Department efforts to break through Switzerland’s banking secrecy to go after tax cheats hiding their money in the European country. UBS reached a settlement with US authorities on Wednesday in which it admitted to US tax fraud and agreed to pay US$780 million.

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