World Business Quick Take


Wed, Oct 16, 2013 - Page 15


Global output to rise 2%: UN

The world economy is still in disarray five years after the financial crash, the UN Conference on Trade and Development said in a report on Monday. Global output rose 2.2 percent last year and is forecast to grow at a similar rate this year, the report said. Developed countries are expected to show the poorest performance, with GDP expanding about 1 percent. Developing and transition economies are forecast to grow by almost 5 percent and 3 percent respectively, it said.


UK market change ordered

Britain’s top 350 companies must put their bookkeeping work out to tender at least once a decade to increase competition in a market dominated by just four big accounting firms. The Competition Commission published its final report yesterday following a probe into the audit market and rowed back on an earlier draft recommendation that would have forced companies to retender their audit work every five years.


Hankook to build US plant

South Korean tire maker Hankook announced on Monday that it would build its first North American plant in Tennessee, creating 1,800 jobs. Hankook, the world’s seventh-largest tire maker, said it would build the US$800 million facility in Clarksville. Construction on the 140,000m2 facility is scheduled to begin by the end of next year, and it will begin making high-end performance tires by early 2016.


AstraZeneca to buy Spirogen

British drugmaker AstraZeneca yesterday said its MedImmune unit would buy biotech company Spirogen for up to US$440 million to bolster its research and development pipeline in oncology. Privately held Spirogen focuses on antibody-drug conjugate technology, which has the potential to directly target cancer tumors while safeguarding healthy cells, AstraZeneca said. The British drugmaker said it would pay an initial US$200 million plus a further US$240 million if Spirogen meets development targets. It will also pay US$20 million to take an equity investment in Swiss-based ADC Therapeutics, which has a licensing agreement with Spirogen.


Rio Tinto posts solid output

Rio Tinto yesterday reported solid third-quarter production across its commodities, with strong growth in energy coal and copper, and record output at its flagship Australian iron ore operations. The Anglo-Australian mining titan said iron ore production rose 2 percent year-on-year, copper jumped 23 percent and energy coal to produce power expanded 14 percent. Bucking the trend was steelmaking coal output, which dropped 6 percent from the same period last year after a wall collapse at Rio’s Hail Creek mine in Queensland.


No known cellphone impact

France’s safety watchdog yesterday said it was standing by existing recommendations for mobile phones, WiFi and relay antennas, saying their emissions had “no demonstrated impact” on health. The National Agency for Health, Food and Environmental Safety said that in lab tests, electromagnetic emissions had had a “biological” effect on cells, but it saw no grounds for recommending any changes to existing laws as there was “no demonstrated impact” on health. However, it added that it would recommend that children and big users of mobile phones limit their exposure to the devices.