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.
POOR INTERNAL CONTROLS: Insurance Bureau Director-General Shih Chiung-hwa said the company is expected to get back on track while its chairman is suspended The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) yesterday fined Shin Kong Life Insurance Co (新光人壽) NT$27.6 million (US$939,415) for a reckless investment that endangered its solvency, and suspended its chairman Eugene Wu (吳東進) for poor supervision. The penalty is the second-highest in a single case after Nan Shan Life Insurance Co (南山人壽) was fined NT$30 million in September last year and its chairman Du Ying-tzyong (杜英宗) suspended for two years, the commission said. In three rounds of special and regular examinations conducted since last year, the commission found that Shin Kong Life had given too much power to an asset and liability management committee
Nano-X Imaging Ltd, a start-up founded by Israeli investor Ran Poliakine, is joining forces with South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix Inc to build a machine that could disrupt a century-old X-ray industry. Valued at about US$2 billion after listing on the NASDAQ last month, Nano-X is seeking to transform a multibillion-dollar industry that has essentially relied on the same technology since Nobel Prize in Physics winner Wilhelm Roentgen discovered X-rays in the late 19th century. Nano-X’s device uses semiconductors instead of metal filaments to generate X-rays. The backing of SK Hynix, the world’s second-largest maker of memory chips, is a boost for
Continental AG, which makes control units for Daimler AG cars, cannot pursue antitrust claims against a group of patent owners, including Qualcomm Inc, which are seeking royalties on telecommunications technology, a federal judge in Texas ruled. Avanci LLC, a licensing pool formed by Qualcomm, Nokia Oyj, Sharp Corp and other owners of patents on technology standards, is not breaching antitrust laws when it negotiates license agreements with automakers rather than the component makers, Barbara Lynn, chief district judge for the Northern District of Texas, said in dismissing the suit in a decision posted on Friday. The licensing group charges US$15 per vehicle
Sony Corp has cut its estimated Play Station 5 (PS5) production for this fiscal year by 4 million units, down to about 11 million, following production issues with its custom-designed system-on-chip (SOC) for the new console, people familiar with the matter said. The Tokyo-based electronics giant in July boosted orders with suppliers in anticipation of heightened demand for gaming in the holiday season and beyond, as people spend more time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the company has come up against manufacturing issues, such as production yields as low as 50 percent for its SOC, which have cut into