EU investigating Apple
The European Commission is probing whether Apple Inc is using anti-competitive iPhone sales tactics and technical restrictions to squeeze out rival smartphone makers from the European market, according to documents seen by the Financial Times. According to a questionnaire sent last week to several European mobile network operators, the commission is focusing on distribution terms that might favor Apple by ensuring no rival can secure a better sales deal, the newspaper said. Apple said its contracts comply with EU laws, according to the report. The inquiry is at a preliminary stage.
India to auction four projects
India plans to auction four solar-thermal power projects with a combined 120 megawatts of capacity, the Hindu Business Line reported, without citing where it got the information. The state-run Solar Energy Corp of India will call for bids in a year, the newspaper reported. The projects will be eligible for 10.2 billion rupees (US$183 million) of government grants, it said. Solar Energy Corp has set a tariff of 5.83 rupees per kilowatt-hour for the power generated. Developers offering the biggest discount to that rate will win the auction, the paper said.
RBS chief executive sought
The directors of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) have held recent talks on identifying a replacement for its chief executive Stephen Hester, Sky News said on Sunday, citing sources. Sky News said Philip Hampton, chairman of the state-backed lender, called a meeting of the bank’s non-executive directors earlier this month to inform them he was drawing up a list of potential replacements for Hester, including Standard Chartered finance director Richard Meddings. RBS declined to comment when contacted by Reuters. Sky News said there was no suggestion that any of Hampton’s candidates had been approached about replacing Hester and cited sources saying it was prudent for RBS’ board to be examining options for the leadership of the company through what is expected to be a lengthy reprivatization process.
HSBC sells yuan bonds
HSBC Holdings PLC sold the first yuan-denominated bonds in Singapore as Standard Chartered PLC markets 1 billion yuan (US$163 million) of debt in the city-state. HSBC priced 500 million yuan of two-year notes through its Singapore branch at 2.25 percent, according to an e-mailed statement. Standard Chartered is marketing three-year notes at between 2.75 percent and 2.875 percent, a person familiar with the matter said. DBS Group Holdings Ltd is also looking to issue yuan bonds in Singapore, as it begins clearing services from yesterday for yuan. Singapore is the third offshore hub for Dim Sum note sales after Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Salary controls relaxed
A government economist said the government introduced new economic management methods last month that relax state control of workers’ salaries. Economist Ri Ki-song said the change introduced on April 1 should not be seen as “reform and opening.” He said Pyongyang was sticking to socialist ownership of the means of production. Enterprises will be allowed to set salaries from money left over after repaying the state for its investment and putting aside funds for continued operation of their businesses.