Sun, Nov 28, 2010 - Page 11 News List

Business Quick Take

Agencies

ELECTRONICS

Sony won’t boost Sharp stake

Sony has scrapped a plan to raise its stake in a joint venture with Sharp manufacturing LCD panels because of a tough business environment, the Yomiuri Shimbun said yesterday. Sony had planned to boost its stake in Sharp’s LCD factory in Sakai from the current 7 percent to 34 percent by April, so that it could be fully involved in the venture’s management. However, the company abandoned the plan in the face of a strong yen and a slowdown in sales of TV sets worldwide, the evening edition of the newspaper reported. Instead, Sony will increase its purchases of LCDs from Taiwanese companies, which offer less expensive panels than Sharp, the paper said.

AUTOMOBILES

GM sets IPO record

General Motors Co’s (GM) initial public offering became the world’s biggest at US$23.1 billion after underwriters swiftly took up additional shares following last week’s IPO. The added shares vaulted GM past Agricultural Bank of China’s (中國農業銀行) US$22.1 billion IPO in July and underscored the strong demand for the taxpayer-rescued automaker’s stock. GM said on Friday that underwriters led by Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Citigroup Inc, exercised their full option on an additional 71.7 million common shares worth US$2.37 billion.

BANKING

Glitch shuts out Australians

A freak computer glitch at Australia’s biggest bank froze cash machines and left millions of people struggling to access their money yesterday. National Australia Bank (NAB) said a corrupted file wiped out a huge number of transactions, including salary payments and transfers, and crashed some ATMs, angering many customers who were facing a weekend without money. Bank spokeswoman Meaghan Telford said that NAB was opening branches yesterday and today and bringing in extra call-center staff as technicians scrambled to fix the problem.

TRADE

Putin upbeat on WTO bid

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Friday said membership in the WTO next year was “possible.” “I think this is possible and this our wish,” he said after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. “There are virtually no unresolved issues left.” Merkel said that she was in favor of this happening in order to help the Doha round of world trade talks be completed. She continued to pour cold water on Putin’s proposal of a free-trade zone between the EU and Russia, however, saying that although this was desirable, it was more of a long-term goal.

ECONOMY

Japan concerned about US

US growth may slow further and the economy could slip into deflation as unemployment stays high and consumption stagnates, Japan’s Cabinet Office said in an annual report published yesterday. “We consider there is a risk of deflation in the US in the not-distant future,” Tomoko Hayashi, an economist at the Cabinet Office, told reporters in a briefing ahead of the report’s release. US consumer prices excluding food and fuel, the gauge followed by central bankers, increased 0.6 percent from October last year, the smallest gain in year-over-year data going back to 1958, the US Labor Department said this month.

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