Netflix splits video services
Netflix is separating its DVD rental service from its online streaming unit and apologizing for the handling of a price hike that upset many subscribers to the popular video service. Chief executive Reed Hastings made no change to the new pricing scheme, which resulted in a whopping increase for many customers, but apologized for the communications surrounding the move. Netflix announced in July that online streaming and DVD-by-mail service that previously cost subscribers US$10 per month will jump to US$16.
Botswana, De Beers ink pact
Botswana and De Beers signed a 10-year deal that will see the world’s leading producer of diamonds moving its rough stone sorting and trading division from London to Gaborone, an official said on Monday. “Under the new 10-year sales agreement, De Beers has agreed to move its sorting and trading of the gems to Botswana by the end of 2013, thus ending its long-standing arrangement for such sales to take place in London,” government spokesman Jeff Ramsay said.
Fund to clean up Bohai spill
ConocoPhillips plans a new fund to address environmental problems in China’s Bohai Bay, following harsh criticism from marine authorities and environmentalists over oil spills in the heavily polluted sea. The Houston-based company’s announcement of the fund did not include any details regarding its size or specific uses. The company earlier said it would set up a separate fund to pay compensation for damage from the spills, which began in June in Penglai 19-3, China’s largest oil field.
Russia, Iran to mine zinc
Russia and Iran are creating a US$1.2 billion joint venture between state company Russian Technologies and Tehran state Bank Saderat to tap into Iran’s colossal zinc deposits, Kommersant daily reported yesterday. The joint venture will build a mining complex and develop the Mehdiabad mine, according to a Sept. 11 protocol from the Russian-Iranian trade commission meeting. A source close to the negotiations told Kommersant that the project is worth up to US$1.2 billion, with most funds expected to come from Iran.
SK, US firm to build plant
South Korea’s SK Engineering and Construction yesterday said it had teamed up with a US engineering firm to build a US$3.5 billion petrochemical plant in Egypt. The deal was signed in South Korea by executives of SK, its US partner Shaw Group and Egyptian firm Carbon Holdings, the company said in a statement. The plant capable of producing 1.35 million tonnes of ethylene a year will be built in the Ain Sokhna industrial complex 120km east of Cairo, it said. The construction will be completed in 2016.
Prada net income up 74%
Italian luxury fashion house Prada said first-half profit surged on strong sales of leather goods such as bags and wallets to Chinese and other Asian customers. Prada said net income jumped 74 percent to 179.5 million euros (US$244 million) in the six months to July 31. Revenue rose 21 percent to 1.13 billion euros. It was Prada’s first earnings report since the company listed on Hong Kong’s stock exchange in June. The company said Asia-Pacific sales grew an “outstanding” 35.4 percent in the first half, with the Greater China region making the biggest contribution.