Sun, Apr 05, 2015 - Page 14 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

AUTOMAKERS

Suzuki plans Myanmar plant

Japanese automaker Suzuki Motor Corp plans to invest tens of millions of dollars to build a second plant in Myanmar, the Nikkei business daily reported yesterday. The company has secured a plot of about 20 hectares at the Thilawa special economic zone southeast of Yangon for the new plant, the report said. Construction is expected to start later this year, with the facility slated to come online in 2017, it added. Suzuki is expected to invest several billion yen and hire about 300 employees and aims to produce about 10,000 cars a year and increase Suzuki’s output in Myanmar by more than five times, it said.

TECHNOLOGY

Plaintiffs drop Google suit

Plaintiffs in an antitrust lawsuit against Google Inc on Friday withdrew their suit accusing the company of harming smartphone buyers by forcing handset makers using the Android operating platform to make Google’s own applications the default option. The class action lawsuit, filed by two smartphone customers in May last year, was dismissed on Feb. 20 by US District Judge Beth Labson Freeman in San Jose, California. Google also faces antitrust issues in Europe. The European Parliament in November last year urged antitrust authorities to break up Google and called on the European Commission to consider proposals to unbundle search engines from other commercial services.

MINING

Mauritania miners end strike

Miners in Mauritania’s northern iron ore hub of Zouerate went back to work on Friday after downing tools for nine weeks in a dispute over wages, their union and management said. The workers had been on strike since Jan. 28 to demand that the National Industrial and Mining Company honor agreed pay rises and bonuses. The union said management had agreed to lump payments of three months’ salary for the workers. The company said it had reinstated 400 workers sacked during the strike.

MACROECONOMICS

IMF approves Ghana loan

The IMF approved a three-year, US$918 million extended credit facility for Ghana to help it repay debt and stabilize the nation’s economy. The IMF Executive Board has allowed immediate disbursement of US$114.8 million, the fund said in a statement on Friday. The money would help increase foreign reserves to support the currency and curb the budget gap before a US$1 billion Eurobond sale scheduled for June. Ghana is the world’s second-largest producer of cocoa and Africa’s second-largest gold miner.

FRANCE

Economy forecast to pick up

The economy is set to pick up slightly in the first half of the year but unemployment is expected to stay at record highs, according to forecasts. In estimates released on Thursday, the INSEE national statistics office said the economy would grow by 0.4 percent in the first quarter of the year and by 0.3 percent in the second quarter. While there is a good chance the economy is set to grow faster over the whole year than the 1 percent Paris estimates, the jobless rate was forecast to hit a 20-year record high of 10.2 percent in mainland France, INSEE predicted.

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