India orders Toyota restart
The Karnataka state government in India has ordered Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp and its union to restore operations at its two factories there after a protracted pay dispute halted work, the company said. The demand comes after unionized employees refused to return to work at two factories near the state’s southern city of Bangalore, despite an end to an eight-day company lockout last month. Workers have been at odds with the company’s management over pay issues that they have been negotiating for 10 months. The Bangalore complex normally produces about 310,000 cars annually, including Toyota’s flagship Camry sedan, the Corolla and its Prius hybrid, mostly for the Indian market.
Gazprom ties fine: EU official
EU Commissioner for Energy Guenther Oettinger yesterday said that he sees no danger of the bloc’s access to Russian gas falling victim to possible economic sanctions in the standoff over Ukraine. “From my many talks with Gazprom, my impression is that our Russian partners will fulfill their contractual obligations and want to supply the gas,” Oettinger told the German paper Welt am Sonntag. “We are agreed that, in the case of possible economic sanctions — whether from the European or Russian side — the gas sector should not have any priority.” The Russian gas giant accounts for about 25 percent of the European gas market, Oettinger said. “I am against scaling back or even cutting our gas links with Russia in the coming years, but we must pursue our strategy of diversification,” he added. Norway and Algeria are also important gas suppliers, Oettinger said, adding that 30 percent of supplies come from Europe itself, namely from Britain and the Netherlands.
Armani settles tax dispute
Giorgio Armani SpA settled a tax dispute in Italy by paying 270 million euros (US$373 million) last week, Italian business daily Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Friday. The payment is linked to taxes owed by three foreign subsidiaries of the luxury company, which is wholly owned by Giorgio Armani, it said. The period covered is between 2002 and 2009, when the company decided to bring back to Italy subsidiaries that were based abroad. The report said there were no more tax claims against the company, whose overall tax burden went up from 28.5 percent in 2010 to 44.8 percent in 2012, it said. Armani, now 79, founded in 1974 the company that Forbes magazine said had an annual turnover of US$1.6 billion last year. It estimated the fashion designer’s personal fortune at US$8.5 billion.
Conakry to axe mining rights
Guinea says it plans to revoke the mining rights to one of the largest untapped iron ore deposits in the world, following a watchdog’s recommendation. A committee reviewing mining deals has said it has evidence that the rights to the mine were obtained through corrupt practices and recommended they be canceled. The deal is also under US investigation. Government spokesman Damantang Camara said late on Friday that Conakry would follow the recommendation. The rights are held by a joint venture owned by Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz’s BSG Resources Ltd and Brazilian mining firm Vale SA, but the report focused its allegations on BSG Resources. BSG Resources has said it will fight the allegations, while Vale has said it does not believe it has been accused of wrongdoing.