ING given extension
Dutch bank ING and the European Commission said yesterday they had agreed to an extension for the bank to repay bailout loans granted during the financial crisis. The new agreement gives the bank more time to sell its insurance interests and to repay the remainder of the 10 billion euros (US$13 billion) it received in state aid in 2008. The bank will now repay the remaining 3 billion euros from the loan, along with a 50 percent premium in four equal payments of 1.125 billion euros, it said in a statement. The first payment will be made on Monday next week and the final payment in May 2015. As part of the original 2009 agreement, ING was committed to selling its insurance operations by the end of next year, but the new agreement gives them more time, potentially up to the end of 2018.
GDP growth slows
The country’s growth slowed in the third quarter as cooling global demand hurt the nation’s exports, even as signs of a recovery in China and the US signal the economy may have bottomed. GDP increased 3 percent in the three months through September from a year earlier, after expanding a revised 4.4 percent in the previous quarter, the National Economic and Social Development Board said in Bangkok yesterday. The median of 13 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey was 3 percent. Thailand said the economy would grow 5.5 percent this year, compared with an earlier prediction of between 5.5 percent and 6 percent. The agency forecast GDP would increase between 4.5 percent and 5.5 percent next year, and inflation will average between 2.5 percent and 3.5 percent, compared with 3 percent this year. Exports may grow 5.5 percent this year and 12.2 percent next year, the agency forecast.
Annul LG patents: Samsung
South Korea’s Samsung has hit back at rival LG in a patents row over next-generation display panels, with both firms accusing the other of stealing technology and senior staff to grab a lead in the market. Samsung Display, an affiliate of Samsung Electronics, asked a Seoul patents court last week to annul seven patents related to organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panel technologies held by LG, a company spokesman said yesterday. Samsung said that the technologies lacked the originality and innovation to warrant a patent. The move came after LG Display — one of the world’s top flat-screen TV makers — filed a patents suit in September against the two Samsung units for allegedly infringing seven of its OLED-related technologies. LG said that five of Samsung’s products, including its global hit Galaxy S-series smartphones and tablet computer Galaxy Tab, infringed its patents.
Cisco to buy Meraki
Cisco Inc agreed to pay US$1.2 billion for closely held Meraki Inc, adding technology that helps businesses manage Wi-Fi networks remotely and expanding its lineup of products for mid-sized customers. Cisco, the world’s largest maker of computer-networking equipment, is using a combination of cash and retention-based incentives to pay for the acquisition, the San Jose, California-based company said on Sunday in a statement. Chief executive officer John Chambers is seeking to capitalize on the boom in demand for smartphones and tablets in the workplace by snapping up a company that helps businesses manage security and wireless access points via the Internet. The deal is aimed at broadening Cisco’s customer base.