Bribery allegations raised
French drugmaker Sanofi SA said it took “very seriously” allegations published in a Chinese newspaper yesterday that its staff bribed more than 500 doctors in China in 2007 to raise sales. An anonymous whistle blower, identified only through a false name, “Pei Gen,” told the 21st Century Business Herald that Sanofi staff paid bribes totalling around 1.7 million yuan (US$277,800) to 503 doctors at 79 hospitals in Shanghai, Beijing, Hangzhou and Guangzhou in late 2007. In a statement, Sanofi said it was aware of the report: “At this time, it would be premature to comment on events that may have occurred in 2007.”
Rising exports show growth
German exports rose 0.6 percent in June compared with the previous month, a figure that follows promising data on industrial production in Europe’s biggest economy. The increase announced yesterday by the Federal Statistical Office is another sign that Germany’s economy is picking up steam. In year-on-year terms, exports were down 2.1 percent in June at 92.8 billion euros (US$123 billion).
IMF warns of overspending
The IMF warned Iceland on Wednesday that it was likely to overshoot its spending targets and that the measures it implemented to overcome its banking crisis were affecting growth. “On current trends, the 2013 budget deficit target will be missed owing to slower than projected growth, expenditure overruns, and lower-than-budgeted dividend payments and asset sales,” said the Fund after its regular annual review of the country. While the IMF and Icelandic government have similar forecasts for growth for this year at 1.8 and 1.9 percent, the IMF believes Iceland will grow by 2.1 percent next year while Reykjavik is still predicting 3 percent.
Apple complaint revived
A US appeals court on Wednesday revived an Apple smartphone patent complaint against Motorola Mobility. A three-judge panel sided with Apple, telling the US International Trade Commission (ITS) to reconsider part of its ruling last year that Motorola did not infringe on the iPhone maker’s patented touchscreen technology. “The ITC succumbed to the bias of hindsight as the record bears significant objective evidence that Apple’s patent was innovative,” a three-judge appellate panel said in its written decision.
Rio profits plunge
Mining giant Rio Tinto yesterday said net profit for the first half of the year plunged 71 percent to US$1.72 billion with the company warning the medium-term outlook remains volatile. Underlying earnings in the six months to June, the measure preferred by the company, were down 18 percent to US$4.22 billion, hit by weaker iron ore, copper and coal prices. Chief executive Sam Walsh said the company had achieved US$1.5 billion in cost reductions in the six months, while Rio posted record first half iron ore production and stronger copper volumes.
Emperador extends empire
Emperador Distillers, the largest Philippine liquor company, is to spend 5.8 billion pesos (US$132 million) on more vineyards and brandy stocks in Spain to build a global brand. The firm will acquire 509 hectares of vineyards in Toledo and a large stock of “well-matured brandy” aging in casks, said executive director Kendrick Tan.