Sat, Mar 19, 2011 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

century Gold Rush helped boost its value. Agencies

AUTOMAKERS

Nissan to monitor radiation

Nissan Motor said yesterday it would monitor all its vehicles made in Japan for radioactivity, amid international concern over efforts to avert a nuclear catastrophe at a stricken atomic plant. “We will continue to implement all appropriate measures to reassure the public that all products from our company remain within globally accepted safety standards,” the company said in a statement. The testing will continue “until we are confident that any risk of contamination is completely removed,” the automaker said. Attempts are being made by the Japan Self-Defense Forces to douse fuel rods and prevent a calamitous radiation release at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power station.

BEVERAGES

Diet Coke takes Pepsi’s spot

Diet Coke has knocked full-calorie rival Pepsi from the No. 2 slot on list of most popular US soft drinks, handing Coca-Cola the top two spots, an industry report said on Thursday. Beverage Digest said Diet Coke leaped into second place, securing about 10 percent of the market, in a major setback for rival Pepsi. Diet Coke sold 927 million cases and Pepsi 892 million for the year. Regular Coke retained its strangle hold on the top spot, with US$74 billion in sales and 17 percent market share.

BANKING

RBS, ING maintain high pay

Bailed-out European banks Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and ING paid many of their top staff more than US$1 million each last year, reigniting criticism over bankers’ pay. Dutch opposition parties said in parliament on Thursday they were “shocked” about bonuses that ING had paid to its executive board, which were between 80 and 93 percent of fixed annual salaries or between 600,000 euros (US$840,700) and 1.25 million euros. “People on the street face difficulties. They don’t understand this. Don’t do this,” ChristianUnion MP Arie Slob told Dutch Minister of Finance Jan Kees de Jager in parliament. British lender RBS paid an average of £1.2 million (US$1.94 million) each to more than 300 senior bankers last year, according to its remuneration report on Thursday.

FOOD MAKERS

General Mills ready to buy

General Mills Inc is prepared to pay US$2.22 billion for a majority stake in Yoplait to beat out competitors for the French yogurt company, according to published reports. The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing a person familiar with the matter it did not name, that the US food maker would beat out seven bidders for the 51 percent stake in Yoplait held by French investment fund PAI Partners. General Mills already has a relationship with Yoplait. The food company has manufactured Yoplait products for 30 years in the US.

COMMODITIES

Gold nugget bid above value

A bidder has paid US$460,000 for a roughly 3.6kg gold nugget found in Northern California’s Gold Rush country. Spectrum Numismatics came away with the nugget on Wednesday after a feverish two minutes of bidding at the Golden West Auction in Sacramento. The company was bidding on behalf of an anonymous buyer. What may be the biggest California gold nugget in existence was found in the unincorporated town of Washington in Nevada County in March last year with a metal detector. At current gold prices, the nugget would have fetched less than US$138,000, but auctioneers said its connection to the 19th

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