Wed, Jul 04, 2012 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

CAMERAS

Kodak auction approved

Kodak said a bankruptcy court had approved an auction of its imaging patent portfolios over the objections of Apple and FlashPoint Technologies, giving the photography pioneer clarity on ownership claims. The Rochester, New York, company announced a year ago it was looking to turn 1,100 digital imaging patents into ready money. The patents then represented about 10 percent of Kodak’s total portfolio. The auction is expected to be held early next month, Kodak said. It said it would still seek dismissal of the “baseless” Apple and FlashPoint claims this month.

AVIATION

ANA to issue shares

Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) is to issue new shares worth ¥200 billion (US$2.5 billion) this month, the airline said yesterday. “Through this offering of new shares ... the company is seeking to promote investment in strategic aircraft that have high economic efficiency, chiefly the state of the art Boeing 787s,” ANA said in a statement. The new issue will boost the number of ANA shares outstanding by about 40 percent, according to the statement.

PHARMACEUTICALS

Giant pleads guilty

GlaxoSmithKline PLC agreed to plead guilty to misdemeanor criminal charges and pay US$3 billion to settle what government officials on Monday described as the largest case of healthcare fraud in US history. The agreement, which still needs court approval, would resolve allegations that the British drugmaker broke US laws in the marketing and development of pharmaceuticals. The settlement includes US$1 billion in criminal fines and US$2 billion in civil fines. GSK said it would pay the fines through existing cash resources.

SPAIN

Jobless numbers slide

The government said yesterday its jobless numbers tumbled by nearly 100,000 people last month, traditionally a bumper month for employment as the tourism season kicks in. The number of people registered as unemployed fell by 98,853, or 2.1 percent, to 4.62 million last month from the previous month, the Ministry of Labor said in a statement. A broader, quarterly household survey by the National Statistics Institute provides the official unemployment rate, which hit 24.4 percent in the first quarter of this year.

TRADE

TPP talks open

Negotiators from the US and eight other Pacific Rim countries opened a round of talks aimed at producing one of the most ambitious trade deals in decades amid criticism that the deliberations are shrouded in secrecy. The US has been negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free-trade agreement for about three years. The talks include Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Mexico and Canada are expected to join, and Japan has expressed interest.

AUSTRALIA

Central bank maintains rates

The central bank held interest rates steady at 3.50 percent yesterday, saying strong domestic growth was being countered by global uncertainty and recent cuts had provided breathing space. The Reserve Bank of Australia kept the official cash rate at 3.50 percent for this month following two rounds of cuts — 50 basis points in May and 25 points last month — which took rates to a level not seen since November 2009.

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