Mon, Aug 01, 2011 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

AUTOMOBILES

Honda to build Mexico plant

Japan’s Honda Motor will build a new plant in Mexico to produce cars for the North American market to improve its profitability against a stronger yen and tariffs, a press report said yesterday. Construction on the plant may start next year near Honda’s existing factory in Jalisco, Mexico, the Nikkei Shinbum said, adding that the new facility was due to begin operations in 2014. Honda plans to spend about ¥20 billion (US$260 million) on the investment, with the plant’s initial production capacity expected to be 100,000 vehicles a year, the Nikkei said. The plant will produce such vehicles as a next-generation model of the popular compact Fit, the report said. Honda’s existing plant in Mexico produces and exports sport-utility vehicles to such countries as the US and Brazil, it added.

BANKING

HSBC to announce cuts

Global banking giant HSBC plans to axe between 10,000 and 15,000 jobs in the coming year as part of a drastic cost-cutting drive, a report said on Saturday. The bank, headquartered in London but with a major focus on Asia, will unveil the job cuts today as it posts its half-year results, Britain’s Sky News television reported, without citing its source. The bank’s results are expected to be disappointing and rivals Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland are also likely to reveal a drop in their profits this week. In May, HSBC said it would slash costs by up to US$3.5 billion by 2013, with its new chief executive Stuart Gulliver saying the savings would be ploughed back into fast-growing markets around the world, especially in Asia. The lender has already said it would be hiring at least 2,000 extra people in China and Singapore over the next five years, as it seeks to tap the fast-growing Asia Pacific market.

BANKING

Intesa Sanpaolo to cut jobs

Italy’s second-largest bank, Intesa Sanpaolo, reached a deal with unions on Saturday to cut 3,000 jobs by 2013 under a plan also aimed at bolstering the lender’s capital reserves, Italian media reported. The agreement will also see 1,200 new hirings and 5,000 existing posts reallocated within the bank’s network over the same time period. Intesa Sanpaolo currently employs about 75,000 people in Italy. Like other Italian lenders, including the biggest bank UniCredit, Intesa Sanpaolo has been under heavy pressure from financial markets in recent weeks amid market jitters. Its share price has fallen by 8.29 percent in the past month.

FINANCE

Two arrested in ‘scam’

Indian police have arrested two top officials of -Singapore-based online survey company Speak Asia in Mumbai for allegedly duping investors out of US$294 million, reports said on Saturday. Police identified those arrested as Tarak Bajpai, Speak Asia’s chief operating officer in India and financial manager Ravi Khanna, according to the Press Trust of India (PTI) and other media. Two Web technicians were also held. The suspects were arrested “in connection with a financial fraud,” said joint crime police commissioner Himanshu Roy, according to the Times of India. Roy told PTI the company had allegedly told investors they would get 54,000 rupees (US$1,221) a year in return for investing 11,000 rupees annually, cheating investors out of 13 billion rupees.

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