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Mon, Jul 19, 2004 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Automobiles

Toyota to increase output

Annual global production by Japan's car giant Toyota is forecast to top 7 million units next year, closing in on the world leader, General Motors, a press report said yesterday. Toyota Motor Corp will start up new plants in Tianjin and the Czech Republic early next year while marketing "strategic cars" to suit particular consumer tastes in Europe and the rest of Asia, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said. Toyota's global output last year came to 6,070,000 units, behind the roughly 8.3 million units produced by GM and nearly 7 million units produced by another US leader, Ford, the economic daily said. Toyota's output is targeted to reach 6.7 million units this year. Its overseas production will also expand to about 50 percent of total global output by next year, the report said.

■ Retail

Japan 7-Eleven to cut costs

7-Eleven stores will share trucks to cut costs

7-Eleven Japan Co, Japan's largest chain of conven-ience stores, plans to simplify its transportation system to cut up to ?2.5 billion (US$23 million) of annual costs a year, the Nihon Keizai newspaper reported. 7-Eleven stores will use the same trucks to transport processed food, confectionary, alcohol and toiletry items, a move which could cut gaseous emissions by 10 percent and save up to one-10th in annual trans-portation costs, the newspaper said, without citing anyone. 7-Eleven also plans to cut the number of transport hubs around Japan to 48 from 105 and reduce its agents to 11 from 18, the paper said. Japanese retailers are struggling to increase sales as changes in the tax laws discourage consumer spending, which makes up about half of the economy.

■ Real Estate

China to shuffle assets

China Huaneng Group Corp (華能), parent of Hong Kong-listed Huaneng Power International Inc, will transfer its real-estate assets to China Real Estate Development Group Corp as part of a central government push to redistribute the real-estate assets under its control, the Economic Observer said. China's State Assets Regulatory and Management Commission completed a plan this month to transfer real estate assets of 191 government-owned companies to five units, the report said, citing a person in the commission who didn't want to be identified. China Real Estate may get about US$24 billion in assets, the report said.

■ Jurisprudence

Halliburton deal approved

Halliburton Co. has won court approval for its US$4.2 billion plan for settling asbestos-related health claims and a judge's signature on bankruptcy restructuring plans for several of its key business units. US Bankruptcy Judge Judith Fitzgerald's action is one of the final hurdles before the subsidiaries, including KBR and DII Industries, can emerge from bankruptcy. They still must fund a trust, using cash, stock and notes, that will be used to pay future claims. KBR and DII Industries filed for bankruptcy protection last December to deal with claims by about 400,000 people who said they were injured by asbestos exposure. Halliburton, once run by US Vice President Dick Cheney, inherited most of the claims five years ago when the conglomerate, during Cheney's tenure as chief executive officer, acquired Dresser Industries Inc for US$7.7 billion.

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