Court overturns Cathay ruling
A Hong Kong court yesterday overturned a ruling that ordered Cathay Pacific to pay 18 pilots about US$8 million for unfairly dismissing and defaming them. The city’s Court of Appeal cut the amount of defamation damages for each pilot to HK$700,000 (US$90,000), down from a lower court’s HK$3.3 million award last year. The appeals court’s ruling also overturned unfair dismissal claims for which the pilots were each awarded HK$150,000. “We welcome the court’s ruling that reduces the amount of damages payment to the pilots,” Cathay said in a statement. “We are reviewing the 78-page judgment with our legal counsel on other points of the ruling.” A spokesman for the former employees could not be reached.
Vinashin defaults on loan
Nearly-bankrupt Vietnamese shipbuilder Vinashin (Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Group) has defaulted on a loan to international lenders and told them it will pay only interest, a report said yesterday. Citing a person familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal said Vinashin did not meet a deadline earlier this week to pay the first US$60 million installment on a US$600 million loan arranged by Credit Suisse in 2007. However, the paper’s source called it “positive” that the company was willing to pay the interest. Vinashin has agreed to meet creditors in the middle of next month to discuss the repayment of the loan principal, the source said.
JVC Kenwood to downsize
JVC Kenwood Holdings Inc, a Japanese maker of audio equipment, video cameras and televisions, plans to eliminate 500 jobs at its Victor Japan unit by March 31 amid falling sales. The cuts are needed because the strong yen and competition with Asian manufacturers have reduced revenue, JVC said yesterday in a statement to the Tokyo Stock Exchange after the market closed. The company, which had about 18,000 employees as of June, said in October it planned to cut 150 jobs at its Victor Japan unit, seeking early retirement volunteers among executives aged 50 or older.
Dreamliner to resume tests
Boeing was to resume flight tests of its 787 jet on Thursday, six weeks after tests were suspended because of an in-flight electrical fire in the plane’s power distribution system. The company says it installed an updated, interim version of software that controls the system in the first of six flight test airplanes that will return to the skies. Boeing had hoped to deliver its first 787, which it calls the Dreamliner, to Japan’s All Nippon Airways in February until flight tests were halted. That is nearly three years after Boeing had planned to deliver its first plane. A fire broke out on a Nov. 9 flight to Laredo, Texas, causing smoke to enter the cabin and forcing an emergency landing.
Crude to hit US$100: official
Oil prices will climb to US$100 a barrel, said Shokri Ghanem, chairman of Libya’s National Oil Corp, as Arab oil ministers and officials gathered in Cairo for a weekend meeting. Ghanem told reporters that market conditions would determine whether OPEC decides to increase production quotas next year, without specifying a timeframe. Libya’s top oil official is in the Egyptian capital to attend a meeting of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries today.