Sat, Jul 07, 2012 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

TECHNOLOGY

Amazon making smartphone

Amazon.com Inc is developing a smartphone that would vie with Apple Inc’s iPhone and handheld devices that run Google Inc’s Android operating system, two people with knowledge of the matter said. Foxconn International Holdings Ltd (富士康控股), a subsidiary of Taiwan-based Hon Hai Group (鴻海集團), is working with Amazon on the device, one of the people said. Amazon is seeking to complement the smartphone strategy by acquiring patents that cover wireless technology and would help it defend against allegations of infringement, other people with knowledge of the matter said. Amazon beefed up its patent prowess recently by hiring Matt Gordon, formerly senior director of acquisitions at Intellectual Ventures Management LLC, a company that owns more than 35,000 intellectual property assets.

SOUTH KOREA

GDP to slow in second half

Growth is likely to slow down in the second half of this year, as the export-dominated economy grapples with a global slowdown, Finance Minister Bahk Jae-wan said yesterday. “The country’s full-scale economic recovery is being delayed,” Bahk said. “Growth in the second half will be lower than expected.” The ministry last week cut its full-year growth forecast for Asia’s fourth-largest economy to 3.3 percent from its December projection of 3.7 percent. Bahk cited the sluggish housing market and rising household debt as major challenges in the short term. Household debt stood at 857.8 trillion won (US$756 billion) at the end of March. The Financial Supervisory Service called this week for action to curb the figure, saying it poses a great risk to growth.

PHARMACEUTICALS

Pfizer named in antitrust suit

Five big US retailers on Thursday filed an antitrust lawsuit against Pfizer Inc and India’s Ranbaxy Laboratories, accusing them of conspiring to delay sales of generic versions of Lipitor, the best-selling drug in history. Walgreens Co, Kroger Co, Safeway Inc, SuperValu Inc and HEB Grocery Co accused the defendants of running an “overarching anticompetitive scheme” to keep generic versions of the cholesterol drug off the market until Nov. 30 last year, 20 months after the original patent expired. They said the defendants did this by obtaining a fraudulent patent, engaging in sham litigation, entering a price-fixing agreement to delay cheaper generics and entering arrangements with pharmacy benefit managers to force retailers to buy more Lipitor, whose chemical name is atorvastatin calcium.

INSURANCE

Aviva sells Delta Lloyd stock

British insurer Aviva said yesterday it had sold another 21 percent of shares in Dutch unit Delta Lloyd for £318 million (US$493 million), one day after unveiling a large restructuring. Aviva said it had placed 37 million Delta Lloyd shares at 10.75 euros per share, in a deal that slashed its holding from 41 percent to about 20 percent. Delta Lloyd Group is a financial services provider that offers life insurance, general insurance, asset management and banking products and services. Yesterday’s announcement came one day after Aviva revealed plans to exit 16 non-core business areas and announced senior management changes following a major strategic review of the embattled group. Aviva is seeking to strengthen its capital base and share price after the shock resignation of its chief executive earlier this year.

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