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Tue, Nov 11, 2003 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take


■ Airlines

Virgin Blue IPO price set

Australian domestic airline Virgin Blue will be worth between A$1.9 billion and A$2.3 billion (US$1.33 billion and US$1.61 billion) when it lists on the local stock exchange, a major stake holder said yesterday. In a prospectus for Virgin Blue's long-awaited initial public offering, transport and logistics group Patrick Corp said shares would be priced between A$1.80 and A$2.25 (US$1.26 and US$1.57) when they are listed on the Australian Stock Exchange on Dec. 8. Patrick has a 45 percent stake in the airline, which was launched in 2000 by British entrepreneur Richard Branson and flies to cities throughout Australia. It is due to begin flights between Australia and New Zealand early next year.

■ Mobile Phones

Motorola cuts 2,400 jobs

Motorola Inc, the world's second-largest maker of mobile telephones, will eliminate 2,400 jobs by the first quarter, on top of the 6,600 it has cut through the first nine months of this year. The additional cuts will cost about US$131 million in severance pay, Schaumburg, Illinois-based Motorola said in a quarterly report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Motorola has already paid US$328 million this year for the previous reductions, according to the filing dated Nov. 4. Spokeswoman Jennifer Weyrauch didn't immediately return calls to her cell and home phone numbers Sunday evening. Motorola has discontinued product lines, exited businesses and consolidated operations as it has lost market share to rivals, including Finland's Nokia Oyj, the world's No. 1 maker of mobile phones.

■ Music Industry

Pepsi to promote iTunes

Apple Computer Inc, the maker of iPod digital music players, plans a joint promotion with PepsiCo Inc, the world's second-largest soft-drink maker, to promote its online music service iTunes, the Wall Street Journal reported citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. Apple, based in Cupertino, California will offer 100 million songs from iTunes to consumers when they find a code inside the bottle tops of PepsiCo's soft drinks, and the promotion is set to begin during the US Superbowl on Feb. 1; Apple may also start a promotion with McDonald's Corp although both companies declined to comment, the paper said. Roxio Inc, owner of the Napster Internet music-sharing service and RealNetworks Inc are also vying to dominate the online music business.

■ Foreign Exchange

Japan's reserves get boost

Japan's foreign exchange reserves -- the world's largest -- hit yet another record high of US$626.27 billion in October after the government intervened on a massive scale in a bid to stem the yen's steep rise, the finance ministry said Monday. The October reserves jumped by US$21.40 billion from the previous month, when they were at a then-record US$604.87 billion, the ministry said. "The most significant factor [in driving up the October figure] was market intervention," said a ministry official. Japanese authorities spent some ?2.72 trillion (US$24.73 billion) between Sept. 27 through Oct. 29 trying to stop the yen's rise against the dollar, the official said. In the July-September quarter, Japan spent ?7.55 trillion to carry out yen-selling market intervention, the ministry said. The cumulative total for the year so far, already a record high, would come to around ?17 trillion by Oct. 29, ministry figures showed.

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