Kanebo complaints rise
Japanese cosmetics maker Kanebo yesterday said the number of complaints about skin discoloring from using its whitening products has reached a total of 7,266 from customers at home and abroad. The latest figure is more than triple the number of complaints announced last month. The company last month announced a recall of 54 of its products that contained a substance called 4HPB, a synthetic version of a natural compound developed by the firm. The recall, involving almost 4.75 million products on retail shelves affected Japan, Taiwan, the UK, Hong Kong and eight other Asian nations.
UK home prices up 5.5%
Asking prices for homes in Britain are 5.5 percent higher than a year ago, property Web site Rightmove said yesterday, as it urged the government to boost the supply of new homes to avoid an asset bubble. Rightmove figures, which are not seasonally adjusted, show the price of property coming on to the market has risen 8.8 percent in the first eight months of the year. The rally has been most marked in London, where prices are up 10.2 percent on the year, Rightmove said. With house prices already rising faster than inflation, the government is under pressure from some quarters to abandon plans to offer state-backed guarantees to riskier homebuyers.
Statoil selling assets
Statoil ASA, Norway’s biggest energy company, agreed to sell assets, including stakes in the Gudrun and Gullfaks fields, to Austria’s OMV AG for US$2.65 billion as it frees up cash for new projects. The company will reduce its stake in the two Norwegian fields from more than 70 percent to 51 percent, the Stavanger-based company said yesterday. Statoil will also sell all its holdings in the Schiehallion and Rosebank fields, west of the Shetlands in the UK. Statoil said it expects to book gains of US$1.3 billion to US$1.5 billion from the transaction. The sale will allow the company to redeploy about US$7 billion of capital expenditure, it said.
Ethio Telecom, ZTE ink pact
The government signed an US$800 million agreement with Chinese telecom giant ZTE (中興) on Sunday to expand its telecommunications network, national operator Ethio Telecom said. The agreement is part of a telecommunications expansion project worth US$1.6 billion, which is shared with China’s Huawei Technologies (華為). Huawei and ZTE have split the cost of the scheme. The project aims to increase mobile phone and 3G Internet access throughout the country and introduce 4G broadband Internet in Addis Ababa.
Rusal posts net loss
Rusal, the world’s largest aluminum producer, yesterday reported a net loss of US$439 million for the first half of this year, citing falling prices, an excess global supply and economic uncertainty. The Russian aluminum giant, which is listed in Hong Kong, also said revenue for the six months to June 30 fell 8.8 percent year-on-year to US$5.2 billion. The net loss compared with a US$1 million net profit in the first half of last year, and the company said it was partly related to a one-off sale of shares in its stake of Norilsk Nickel, with the proceeds used for prepayment of debts.