Fri, Dec 09, 2011 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

ELECTRONICS

Panasonic fined 7.7m euros

Japanese electronics giant Panasonic yesterday said it has been fined 7.7 million euros (US$10.3 million) for violating European competition law in connection with sales of refrigerator parts. The firm said it had been “fully cooperating” in a European Commission probe on compressors, which are used to cool refrigerators and freezers, that Panasonic and other manufacturers sold in Europe. On Wednesday, the commission said it had fined the firm and three others — Italy’s ACC, Denmark’s Danfoss and Brazilian firm Embraco — a total of 161.2 million euros for running a price-fixing cartel from April 2004 until October 2007. Panasonic said the fine would have no material impact on its financial forecast for the fiscal year ending in March.

CONGLOMERATE

McGraw-Hill plans to split

McGraw-Hill Companies Inc launched a new US$500 million accelerated share repurchase program and said it will cut about 550 jobs from its textbook unit as it proceeds to split into two companies. Chief executive Terry McGraw, a great-grandson of the founder, said he would head the new company, which will hold the ratings business, the S&P stock index business and market information and research services. The other company, to be called McGraw-Hill Education, will reduce its executive ranks by about 20 percent and its workforce by about a tenth, the company said in a statement on Wednesday. Most of the education reductions are expected to take place in the fourth quarter, the company said.

MACHINERY

Japan orders drop 6.9%

Japan’s core private-sector machinery orders, a leading indicator of corporate capital spending, fell 6.9 percent in October from the previous month, official data showed yesterday. The core data, which exclude volatile demand from power companies and for ships, was worse than the market expectation of a small rise. The drop followed an 8.2 percent fall in September. Meanwhile, Japan’s current account surplus fell 62.4 percent from a year earlier in October as the nation slipped into a trade deficit on weak exports, government data showed.

INTERNET

Facebook fixes picture bug

Facebook has fixed a bug that allowed the viewing of some private photographs of other members and which was reportedly used to access personal pictures of founder Mark Zuckerberg. The bug involved Facebook’s system of reporting inappropriate images on the social network. By reporting a member’s profile picture as inappropriate, a user was asked whether they had other photographs to report, providing access to other private pictures. The glitch was first revealed in a bodybuilding forum at bodybuilding.com.

SMARTPHONES

Rim denied use of ‘BBX’

Research In Motion Ltd was barred by a federal judge from using Basis International Ltd’s “BBX” trademark at an industry conference in Asia that began on Wednesday. US District Judge William Johnson in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Tuesday ruled that RIM can’t use the BBX trademark at the DevCon conference in Singapore. Basis is likely to win its trademark-infringement claims against RIM, and consumers are “likely to be confused by RIM’s use of BBX in connection with RIM’s goods and services,” Johnson wrote in the ruling.

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