Sun, Apr 11, 2010 - Page 11 News List

Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■INVESTMENT

Private investment robust

Private investment in Taiwan totaled NT$386 billion (US$ 12.2 billion) in the first quarter of the year, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said on Friday. The amount was 37.57 percent of the government’s full-year target of NT$1.272 trillion (US$43.1 billion), indicating that the nation is emerging from the shadow of the global financial crisis, the ministry said. Among the industries that saw growing investment, the green energy sector attracted NT$41.8 billion, amounting to 78 percent of the industry target for this year, the ministry said.

■BEVERAGES

Coke raises Innocent stake

US soft drinks giant Coca-Cola has taken a majority stake in fast-expanding British smoothie maker Innocent Drinks, but its founders said on Friday that they would maintain operational control. Coca-Cola increased its stake in Innocent to 58 percent, one year after taking an inital 18 percent share. Financial details of the latest deal were not revealed.

■CEMENT

Cemex to invest in Peru

Mexico’s Cemex, the world’s third-largest cement maker, said on Friday it would invest up to US$100 million in Peru to build a production plant with investment firm Blue Rock Cement Holdings. The new plant will have an initial capacity of 1 million tonnes of cement per year, a statement from the company’s headquarters in the northern city of Monterrey said. The company aims to complete construction of the US$230 million plant in early 2013.

■ICELAND

Official optimistic on loan

Finance Minister Steingrimur Sigfusson on Friday expressed optimism that the country would receive final approval for a crucial IMF loan payout, after an agreement was reached on its conditions. “I’m very optimistic that the path is clear and we will get the review,” Steingrimur Sigfusson said, adding that he expected “a unanimous decision” from the IMF board. The IMF and Iceland on Friday announced an agreement on the conditions for the controversial US$159 million IMF loan payment, which awaits IMF board approval.

■PUBLISHING

Fund buys ‘Reader’s Digest’

A management buy-out backed by an investment company has saved the British division of Reader’s Digest from administration, the deal’s organizers said on Friday. The British arm collapsed into administration on Feb. 17, six months after its US parent group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and almost 100 potential buyers had expressed interest to administrators. Better Capital Ltd said its BECAP fund had backed the buy-out in a transaction valued at £13 million (US$20 million). Managing director Chris Spratling will remain head of the company.

■TECHNOLOGY

Hiring practices probed

The US Department of Justice is investigating whether some of the biggest technology companies agreed not to recruit each others’ employees, violating antitrust laws, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. The investigation is looking into hiring practices at companies including Apple Inc, Google Inc, IAC/InterActiveCorp, International Business Machines and Intel Corp, the newspaper reported. In particular, the Justice Department is investigating whether computer engineers and other workers have missed opportunities to move to better-paying jobs because of these companies’ hiring practices, the newspaper said.

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