Toshiba tied to price fixing
A federal jury in San Francisco on Tuesday found that Toshiba Corp knowingly participated in a conspiracy to fix the price of LCDs sold in the US, contributing to US$87 million in damages suffered by manufacturers and consumers. However, Toshiba won’t have to pay — even after damages are tripled to US$261 million through US antitrust law — because settlements by other defendants, including Sharp, Samsung and LG, already cover the damages suffered. Toshiba still disputed the verdict. Spokeswoman Rebecca Bueno said the company had filed motions to “resolve this case in Toshiba’s favor.”
Olympus fined US$63m
Japanese authorities have ordered Olympus to pay about US$63 million in back taxes and penalties, reports said yesterday, as the disgraced firm tries to recover from a loss cover-up scandal. The liability is tied to a ￥15 billion (US$188 million) advisory fee that Olympus claimed to have paid during its 2008 acquisition of British medical equipment maker Gyrus Group, the Nikkei Shimbun business daily and Jiji Press reported.
Household debt a risk
South Korea must act to curb household debts totaling hundreds of billions of dollars that pose a downside risk to the economy, Financial Supervisory Service Governor Kwon Hyouk-se told a seminar yesterday. Household debt stood at 857.8 trillion won (US$756 billion) at the end of March. While the growth rate had eased somewhat, the structure of the debts had worsened, Kwon said, with borrowers turning to non-bank lenders that charge higher interest rates.
No expansion plans: Slim
Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim said on Tuesday he has no immediate plans for further telecommunications purchases in Europe after buying into Dutch firm KPN and Telekom Austria. Asked if he was looking to expand further in Europe after the two recent deals, Slim said: “No, no. We’re not looking for nothing now. We are going to consolidate what we’ve got.” Slim’s America Movil, which is present in roughly a dozen Latin American countries, is establishing a beachhead in Europe, where a combination of tough competition, regulatory pressure and recession in many markets has beaten down some company valuations to near decade lows.
Big Three post strong sales
The Big Three US automakers on Tuesday reported strong domestic sales for last month, with Chrysler and General Motors (GM) both posting double-digit increases in US sales, while Ford grew sales by 7 percent. However, for the first half of the year, Asian carmakers overall were able to pick up ground in their US rivals’ home market. Nissan, Honda, Toyota, Kia and Hyundai all posted double-digit increases, while GM only increased sales by 4.3 percent and Ford by 7 percent.
Google to drop iGoogle
Google said on Tuesday it was discontinuing its iGoogle page designed as Web “portal,” saying it had become less relevant in the age of the mobile Internet. The portal, which allowed users to personalize their start page, will be cut in November next year and was among a handful of products axed by the California tech giant. Among other products being eliminated was the Google Mini search service for businesses, Google Talk Chatback and Google Video.