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Tue, Jul 29, 2003 - Page 12 News List

World business quick take

Semiconductors

Infineon in joint venture

Infineon Technologies AG, Europe's second-largest semiconductor maker, formed a joint venture with China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park Venture Co (CSVC) to install and test computer chips as part of its plan to expand in Asia. The two companies will build a plant near Shanghai and start production in 2005, the company said in a statement to the Frankfurt exchange. Infineon will own 73 per-cent of the venture and CSVC will hold the rest. The joint venture will invest about US$1 billion over the next 10 years, Infineon said.

Finance

ECB sheds US agency debt

The European Central Bank (ECB) is selling all the bonds it owns in Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the two biggest US providers of mortgage financing, and recommended that its national central banks do the same, according to a person who has seen the ECB's recommendation. The Frankfurt-based central bank gave its opinion at the last meeting of the 18-member governing council on July 10, said the person who declined to be named. Freddie Mac is under investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission and federal prosecutors after under-stating earnings, leading to the ouster of its top three managers.

Internet

Bertelsmann suit delayed

Bertelsmann AG's lawsuit over its investment in music-sharing service Napster Inc can't start yet because a German court ruled against a US com-plaint, the Financial Times Deutschland said, without saying where it obtained the information. The court said a US$17 billion compensa-tion claim filed in the US wasn't valid in Germany, the paper reported. According to US law, an approval of the claim by the German court is a condition for opening the trial, the paper reported. The rejection of the claim by the German court only refers to Guetersloh, Germany-based Bertelsmann AG and not to its US units BeMusic Inc and Bertelsmann Inc, which are also being sued.

Tourism

Japanese staying home

The number of Japanese passengers going to other Asian countries has still slumped as fears of SARS have not gone away, the Kyodo News reported yesterday, quoting Japan Airlines System Corp president Isao Kaneko as saying. "European and US routes are recovering significantly with the effects of the Iraq war faded," Kaneko was quoted as saying in a recent interview. "In Asia, business passen-gers are returning fairly quickly," he said, "but the return of tour groups, comprising a large portion of 70 percent [of total passengers], is slow." In May, the airline projected a group net loss of Japanese Yen 43 billion (US$364 million) and a pre-tax loss of Japanese Yen 22 billion on projected revenues of Japanese Yen 2 trillion for this fiscal year.

Toilets

Toto eyes Chinese seats

Japan's largest toilet maker Toto said yesterday it would sell luxury lavatories in China by the end of this month and in the US from September to meet growing demand. The company will sell the top-notch loos, which have no cistern, in Shanghai and Beijing, targeting initial monthly sales of 200 units at Japanese Yen 330,000 apiece (US$2,800), and increasing to between 400 and 500 next year. Toto will begin selling its toilets in the US for about Japanese Yen 470,000 each.

Agencies

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