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Wed, Jul 21, 2004 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take


■ Trade

WTO chief warns on talks

WTO Director General Supachai Panitchpakdi warned the 147 WTO mem-ber states on Monday that failure to re-energize global trade talks by the end of this month could freeze liberal-ization for years to come. Supachai released a written statement as negotiators gathered at the WTO for discussions on a draft compromise proposal aimed at unlocking stalled trade talks by an end-of-the-month deadline. "A failure this month means the continuation of an unsatis-factory status quo, certainly for the remainder of this year and next and possibly for years to come," Supa-chai said. "At a time when protectionist pressures lie just below the surface, when people across the world are demanding change, the 147 member governments of the WTO must deliver," he said.

■ Semiconductors

Hoya profit surges

Hoya Corp, the world's largest supplier of glass plates used by semicon-ductor and flat-panel display makers, said first-quarter profit rose 66 percent as consumers bought more TVs and por-table electronic devices.

Group net income rose to ?16.2 billion(US$149 mil-lion) for the three months ended June 30, from ?9.8 billion a year ago, the com-pany said in a statement. First-quarter sales rose 17 percent to ?75 billion from ?63.9 billion. Hoya is benefiting from growing demand from makers of equipment to build parts for digital consumer products such as liquid crystal display TVs and digital cameras and audio players. Operating profit, general and administrative costs, at its electronics optics division rose 45 percent.

■ Music

EU OKs Sony-BMG link

The EU has approved the merger of Sony Music and Bertelsmann AG's BMG unit in a deal that gives the four "majors" control of about 80 percent of the world music market, a Bertelsmann spokesman said on Monday. "The merger was approved without conditions," said spokesman Oliver Herrge-sell, in a telephone inter-view. The EU's executive body, the European Com-mission, had been widely expected to endorse anti-trust chief Mario Monti's decision to approve the merger. Monti reversed his merger team's initial objec-tions to the deal after two days of closed-door hear-ings last month with the companies and third parties, including independent labels and companies involved in the emerging legal market for online music downloading. Bertels-mann said it is now looking forward to concentrating

on the integration of the two companies. The deal leaves 80 percent of the market

in the hands of four groups: Sony-BMG, Vivendi Uni-versal, EMI and Warner Music. Sony-BMG and Vivendi Universal control about a quarter each.

■ Entertainment

Warner inks cinema deal

Warner Brothers has agreed with a local partner to open 10 multiplex cinemas in cities across China, state media reported yesterday. The deal, signed on Monday with the Guangzhou Jinyi Film and Television Invest-ment Co, calls for Warner Brothers International Cinemas to provide tech-nical support, training and administrative expertise for the theaters, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Warner Brothers will manage and operate the new multiplex cinemas. The new theaters are planned for Beijing, Guangzhou, Fuzhou, Xian and Hang-zhou, Xinhua said.

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