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Wed, Jul 16, 2003 - Page 12 News List

World business quick take

The Philippines

Cojuangco loses court fight

A Philippine antigraft court has dealt a blow to efforts by the chairman of the Philippine beer and food conglomerate San Miguel, Eduardo Cojuangco Jr, to regain control of the shares that put him at the com-pany's helm nearly 30 years ago. Coming after nearly 17 years of legal battles, the special court ruled last Friday that a group of businessmen led by Cojuangco had used public monies unlawfully in 1975 when they bought a con-trolling stake in one of the country's largest banks, the United Coconut Planters Bank. The court nullified the purchase and awarded ownership of the stake in the bank to the government. The decision also appeared to establish government control over a 27 percent stake in San Miguel it has been trying to wrest from Cojuangco.


Music sites see falloff

Traffic fell among Internet file-sharing programs such as Sharman Networks Ltd's Kazaa, after the recording industry on June 25 said it would sue people who make music available for others to copy, Nielsen/NetRatings said. The visitors to Sydney-based Kazaa's site fell 15 percent to 5.6 million from June 29 to July 6, Nielsen said in an e-mailed state-ment. Visitors using Stream-Cast Networks Inc's Morpheus application also fell 15 percent to 231,000. IMesh declined 16 percent to 214,000. The Recording Industry Association of America last month said it's building legal cases against people who make music files available to be copied on the Internet. "In our view, the ultimate mea-surement is not the day to day traffic on peer to peer sites, but rather the long-term growth and success of the legitimate online music marketplace,'' said RIAA spokesman Jonathan Lamy.


Honda leases fuel-cell cars

Honda Motor Co started leasing its low-pollution fuel cell-powered car to Iwatani International Corp, the world's first delivery of such a vehicle to a company. Honda, one of two auto-makers to market hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, last December delivered a total of six FCX fuel-cell vehicles to the Japanese government and to the Los Angeles city government. Honda and rivals are investing billions of dollars in fuel cells as a long-term solution to environmental regulations. High costs and a lack of hydrogen-fuel stations limit the technology to small test programs. "There are many issues that need to be solved, including offering it for a lower price, making hydrogen more available to supply fuel-cell cars, making the vehicle more compact and fuel-efficient," Honda senior managing director Hiroshi Okubo said at a Tokyo press conference.


Buffett says no extra meals

Berkshire Hathaway Inc chairman Warren Buffett and a San Francisco charity decided against allowing three other groups to match a US$250,100 bid that won a luncheon with the billion-aire investor to benefit the organization, the charity's leader said. "A winner is a winner," Buffett said. "But we'll do it again next year. I hope one of the three that missed out this year does it again and we get a lot of money for the church." David Einhorn placed the winning bid on EBay Inc's Web site last Friday, topping 140 other offers. Three companies that lost the auction expressed interest in matching the price tag, which would have brought in more than US$1 million to the charity.

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