Lee warns over economy
President Lee Myung-bak yesterday said growth in Asia’s fourth-largest economy may slow in the second half of the year as Europe’s debt crisis takes a toll on the country’s exports. Lee told his Cabinet that the government must be thoroughly prepared because the current situation would not be easy to deal with. He said the government’s earlier forecast that the local economy would pick up toward the end of the year might not hold. In April, the central bank cut its annual growth forecast by 0.2 percentage point to 3.5 percent.
Google buying Meebo
Google is buying Silicon Valley startup Meebo to help expand its social networking service. The acquisition announced on Monday will bring more tools to Google Plus, an alternative to Facebook Inc’s popular online hangout. Meebo started as a system for connecting people by instant message, but has since built other communication features used by an audience of about 100 million Web people in the US. Both companies are based in Mountain View, California. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Wynn plans second resort
US casino magnate Steve Wynn said he would spend US$4 billion to build his long-awaited second resort in Macau. Wynn yesterday unveiled plans for the project, which won government approval early last month. The 2,000-suite casino-hotel will house 500 gaming tables, 10 restaurants and a spa. The development will be built on 126 hectares of reclaimed land and will take up to four years to complete.
Etihad buys Virgin stake
Abu Dhabi’s fast-growing Etihad Airways says it has bought nearly 4 percent of Virgin Australia, deepening its partnership with the Australian carrier. The deal marks the fourth publicly disclosed stake Etihad has taken in an overseas airline in recent months. Etihad yesterday said it bought the 3.96 percent stake on the open market in recent weeks. Financial terms were not disclosed. The companies have an existing partnership signed in 2010 designed to boost commercial ties between the carriers.
Suntory, Tsingtao link up
Japanese beverage giant Suntory will form a joint venture with Chinese brewer Tsingtao in a move aimed at expanding its reach in the world’s biggest beer market, reports said yesterday. The pair are expected to form the 50-50 venture as early as this year to jointly produce and market beer in Shanghai and China’s Jiangsu Province, the Nikkei Shimbun said. The new business is expected to take over management of Suntory’s existing Chinese beer unit, which has a near one-third share of the Shanghai market, according to Dow Jones Newswires.
PMI tumbles sharply
Eurozone private sector activity suffered its worst monthly slide in nearly three years last month, a survey showed yesterday. The full purchasing managers’ index (PMI) compiled by the London-based research firm Markit fell to 46.0 points from 46.7 in April in what amounted to the fastest rate of decline since June 2009. Any score below 50 indicates economic contraction. The results showed that German output fell for the first time since November last year and that downturns in France and Spain accelerated, with Italy firmly mired in a steep downturn.