Firms see huge Asian profits
Major companies in the country enjoyed record profits in Asia in the past fiscal year, surpassing their domestic figures, according to a survey released yesterday. The Nikkei Shimbun business daily carried out the poll covering 130 listed firms that published region-by-region profit data. The firms’ operating profit generated in Asia and Oceania, excluding Japan, rose 30 percent to a highest-ever ￥1.246 trillion (US$16 billion) in the fiscal year to March, the survey showed. The figure exceeded those for Europe and the US as well as the ￥740 billion profit generated in the country, reflecting the fact that these developed economies are still in recovery mode, the newspaper said.
Ethanol rules proposed
The country’s energy regulator has proposed rules to ensure sufficient stocks of ethanol fuel, its first move in plans to increase regulation of the stagnant industry and prevent a repeat of recent supply shortages. In a statement late on Friday, the ANP energy regulator said ethanol producers should by March 1 each year have stocks equivalent to 8 percent of their output of April the previous year. Distributors should by the same date have stocks equivalent to 15 days of their average sales of gasoline mixed with alcohol during the November-to--January period. The ANP also proposed that distributors could be suspended from selling gasoline if they did not ensure sufficient stocks of ethanol.
Web site blocks slammed
Thousands of people have decried a government effort to block access to 10 popular Web sites often used to illegally download movies, TV shows and music. It’s the biggest move to curb online entertainment piracy in the nation, which has long been accused by industry officials of not cracking down hard enough on the rampant sale of bootleg DVDs and CDs. A government regulatory body said on Friday that it wanted Internet service providers to block 10 Web sites that violated copyright laws. More than 6,000 people have joined a Facebook page slamming the decision.
Property projects canceled
The emirate canceled 217 property projects as of May 31 after completing a review of the industry in the past two years. The Real Estate Regulatory Authority reviewed more than 450 projects and expects 237 of them to be completed “in due course,” according to information contained in the emirate government’s bond prospectus. The total value of property sales transactions plunged to 119.5 billion dirhams (US$32.5 billion) at the end of last year from 152.9 billion dirhams a year earlier, it said. The emirate’s economy expanded 2.4 percent last year after contracting 2.4 percent in 2009. Real GDP was 293.6 billion dirhams last year, according to the bond prospectus.
Murdoch urges liberalization
Hoping that the record-breaking Chinese revenues from Avatar can be replicated many times over, Rupert Murdoch has urged Beijing to further open up its movie market at the country’s leading international film festival. Speaking before a panel discussion on film finance attended by a top Chinese film regulator, the Australian-born media mogul said yesterday at the Shanghai International Film Festival that “the promise” of China’s huge investment in screen infrastructure “has not been fully realized because market access remains so restricted.”