HSBC denied request
HSBC Holdings PLC was denied a request for dismissal of a lawsuit by a group of Taiwanese banks that accuse HSBC Bank USA of helping deceased financier Danny Pang’s (彭日成) PEM Group (保盛豐集團) defraud them of more than US$500 million. US District Judge Philip Gutierrez on Thursday rejected HSBC’s arguments that the banks should have brought their claims in the British Virgin Islands, where the PEMGroup entities that issued the securities were based, rather than in Los Angeles. He also dismissed contentions that the banks didn’t provide enough facts to support their fraud and conspiracy claims. Hua Nan Commercial Bank (華南商業銀行) claimed US$191 million in losses; Hua Nan Investment Trust (華南永昌投信) US$48 million; Cosmos Bank Taiwan (萬泰銀行) US$45 million; EnTie Commercial Bank (安泰商業銀行) US$50 million; Bank SinoPac (永豐銀行) US$122 million; and Taichung Commercial Bank (台中商業銀行) US$70 million, according to their complaint in October last year.
ArcelorMittal to expand
Global steel giant ArcelorMittal will create 8,900 construction and mining jobs with a US$2.16 billion expansion of its Quebec mining complex near Labrador. The Luxembourg-based company said on Friday that annual production of iron ore concentrate will increase to 24 million tonnes from 14 million tonnes by 2013. ArcelorMittal Mines Canada is also evaluating doubling its iron ore pellets output to 18.5 million tonnes.
Exchange to start gold funds
The Shanghai Gold Exchange is planning to start exchange-traded funds, tapping rising demand in China, the world’s biggest investment market for the precious metal. “There are some complexities, as the central bank is in charge of gold management, while we still need to go through the procedures for launching new exchange products,” Wang Zhe (王?), chairman of the bourse, said at a Shanghai forum. There is no timetable and the exchange is working with regulators on the plan, Wang said. China is the world’s largest gold producer and second-largest in overall consumption. Gold investment demand by China more than doubled in the first quarter, overtaking India to become the largest market for gold coins and bars, the World Gold Council said on Thursday.
IMF approves Portugal loan
The IMF on Friday approved a 26 billion euro (US$36.9 billion) three-year loan to Portugal as part of an EU bailout of the struggling eurozone country. The “front-loaded program makes about 6.1 billion euros “immediately available to Portugal” from the IMF, the Washington-based institution said in a statement. EU finance ministers on Monday backed a three-year, 78 billion euro EU-IMF bailout for Portugal on condition Lisbon embarks on a major raft of public sell-offs.
IBM briefly tops Microsoft
IBM briefly topped Microsoft in market value on Wall Street on Friday to become the second-largest technology company after Apple. However, IBM shares lost 0.25 percent to close at US$170.16, giving the New York-based company known as “Big Blue” a market capitalization of US$206.1 billion. Microsoft shares shed 0.91 percent to close at US$24.49, giving the US software giant a market capitalization of US$206.5 billion.