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Fri, Jun 25, 2004 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Tourism

Chinese fuel Asian growth

Increasingly affluent Chinese tourists who are visiting other Asian coun-tries will be the ones driving tourist spending in the region, a survey showed yesterday. At current rates of growth, more than 24.3 million tourists from China will visit Bangkok, Singa-pore, Hong Kong and Seoul between last year and 2011, according to the retail and travel report by MasterCard International. Shopping is the major attraction. "Com-petitive retailing will be a crucial standard for the selection of tourists,' the report said. The money Chinese tourists are expected to spend in the four cities is forecast to reach US$14 billion in 2006 and US$20 billion in 2011. Tourists in Hong Kong and Singapore currently spend an average of US$170 and US$130 respectively, with a stay of less than three days in each place. The rise of budget airlines will also spur Chinese regional outbound tourism, the report said.

■ Fast Food

Dalai Lama says no to KFC

The Dalai Lama has told the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) fast food chain to stay out of Tibet over alleged cruelty to animals, an animal rights group said yesterday. The exiled Tibe-tan leader has written a letter to KFC parent com-pany Yum! Brands chief executive David Novak imploring him to abandon plans to expand KFC res-taurants into Tibet, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said. "It is quite natural for me to support those who are currently protesting the introduction of industrial food practices into Tibet that will perpetuate the suffering of huge numbers of chickens," the Dalai Lama is quoted as saying in the letter. He said that the cruel treatment endured by chickens who were raised and killed for KFC "violates Tibetan values." PETA said that the practice of eating chicken in Tibet was "popu-larized" by Chinese Hans who have been migrating there in increasing numbers. There are more than 1,000 KFC locations in China, the most of any country outside the US.

■ Semiconductors

Freescale to sell notes

Freescale Semiconductor Inc, the chipmaking busi-ness being separated from Motorola Inc, plans to sell US$1.25 billion in high-yield, high-risk notes around July 15, said people familiar with the offering who declined to be identified. Freescale will sell five-year floating-rate notes, along with seven- and 10-year notes with fixed interest rates, the people said. The amount being sold for each maturity hasn't been determined. Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Citigroup Inc and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co are managing the private offering, the people said. The sale is rated Ba2 at Moody's Investors Service and BB+ at Standard & Poor's, the second-highest rating and highest non-investment-grade rating.

■ Aviation

Cerberus' helps Air Canada

Struggling Air Canada said on Wednesday that it had accepted a US$183 million investment offer from the New-York-based investment firm Cerberus as part of its massive plan to pull the airline out of bankruptcy protection. Under the deal, Cerberus will eventually control 9.2 percent of Air Canada stock. The latest deal provides for an investment of US$183 million in convertible preference shares under terms backed by major financial stakeholders, the airline company, its board and the monitor overseeing its bankruptcy protection.

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