Bank levy revenue raised
The government said it will raise ￡2.5 billion (US$4 billion) this year from a levy on banks, increasing the amount it is getting from the industry by ￡800 million in the first year of the plan. The government said in June last year it would introduce a levy on banks that would raise about ￡2.5 billion a year by 2012-2013 when it was fully running. It had expected to raise ￡1.7 billion this year as the scheme was phased in. The Treasury said yesterday it had increased the levy to raise the full target in the first year, adding it wanted banks to make “a fair contribution” to the potential risks they pose to the financial system and to encourage them to move to less risky funding.
Posco seeks Indian plant
Posco, which won approval after six years for its first steel complex in India, is seeking land for a second factory to be built at a cost of US$7 billion. The world’s third-largest steelmaker asked the Karnataka State government for about 1,200 hectares to set up a 6 million tonne mill, V.P. Baligar, principal secretary for the state’s commerce and industry ministry, said yesterday in a telephone interview. Posco paid 250 million rupees (US$5.5 million) in advance, about 40 percent of the cost of land, he said. Posco and bigger rival ArcelorMittal SA said last June that they would invest in Karnataka after their projects were stymied in Orissa and Jharkhand. Karnataka, aiming to exploit its iron-ore resources, is competing with the eastern states, where steel projects worth approximately US$80 billion remain languishing because of issues related to land acquisition and forestry clearances.
M&S appoint e-tail head
British retailer Marks & Spencer PLC (M&S) has poached Laura Wade-Gery from supermarket group Tesco PLC to head its Internet business, underscoring new boss Marc Bolland’s commitment to growing sales online. M&S, the UK’s biggest clothing retailer, said on Monday Wade-Gery would join as executive director of e-commerce at a time and on terms to be confirmed. In his strategic review in November, Bolland unveiled plans to double M&S’s online sales, which totaled ￡413 million in the year ending in March last year, by 2013-2014. M&S, which also sells housewares and upmarket groceries, has been criticized by some analysts for being slow to take advantage of the boom in Internet shopping.
China boosts reserves
China is building up strategic reserves of rare earth metals in a move that could give it better control over the resource so indispensable to high tech products, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. Storage facilities have been built in recent months in Inner Mongolia with the capacity to hold more than the 39,813 tonnes of the metals China exported last year, the paper said. However, details of the strategic reserves have not been made public, it added. China controls about 95 percent of the global trade for the 17 minerals that collectively make up the rare earth metals market. The rare earth metals, which are prized for their special chemical or electromagnetic properties, are used in the manufacture of mobile phones, batteries for hybrid cars, wind turbines, flat-screen televisions and other high tech products.