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Tue, Aug 10, 2004 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take


■ Petroleum

OPEC asks for outside help

OPEC is to invite producers from outside the cartel to talks next month on how to stabilize sky-rocketing oil prices, the organization's President Purnomo Yusgi-antoro said here yesterday. The unusual move to throw open the September 14 OPEC meeting in Vienna to non-members comes just days after crude prices hit record highs, reaching US$44.77 dollars a barrel in New York on Friday. "OPEC will discuss steps to stabi-lize world oil prices with non-OPEC countries and large oil producers, among them Russia and Angola," Purnomo told journalists here. "We will discuss world oil price conditions," he said. Supply uncertainties caused by the financial woes of Russian oil giant Yukos and terrorist attacks on Iraqi oil pipelines have sent prices soaring in recent weeks.

■ Aviation

Soros may bag a carrier

China's Hainan Airlines Co, partly owned by Hungarian-born billionaire George Soros, said yesterday it was in negotiations to buy troubled Malev Hungarian Airlines. "Both sides are sitting down to discussions about cooperating together but it has not gone any further than that and it is not clear about how many shares or cash would be involved," a Hainan Airlines press official said. Malev executives will be in China for further discussions today, the official said. If a deal is hammered out it would give China's fourth-largest carrier a gateway to the European continent. Other interested buyers reportedly include Air France-KLM and Austrian Airlines. Malev, almost wholly controlled by the Hungarian state, has never managed to rise above recurrent crises since the collapse of communism.

■ Shipping

Cruise ship too big for HK

One of the world's biggest cruise liners is being forced to berth outside Hong Kong's Victoria Harbor because the water is too shallow, a news report said yesterday. The 113,000-ton Diamond Princess, managed by P&O, will have to berth at the city's container terminal when it makes three stops in Hong Kong next year, the South China Morning Post reported. The indignity forced on the Diamond Princess, which carries 2,600 passengers, brought a warning from P&O man-aging director Richard Willis that Hong Kong needs better facilities. Hong Kong is currently working on a second, deeper cruise ship terminal but it will not be ready before 2009, accor-ding to the city's Tourism Board. Willis told the news-paper he did not understand why it would take so long. He pointed out that Chinese cities Shanghai and Qingtao were already working hard to develop themselves as important port cities in the run-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

■ Computing

HP to buy Synstar

Hewlett-Packard Co, the world's second-largest personal-computer maker, said it will pay about ?163 million (US$300 million) to buy Synstar Plc, a UK information technology services company. Hewlett-Packard, based in Palo Alto, California, will pay ?1 for each Synstar share, the companies said in a Regu-latory News Service state-ment. The price is 28 percent more than Friday's closing price for the Brack-nell, England-based com-pany. Synstar's shares have climbed 19 percent this year. The offer, which is recommended by Synstar's board, will be made by Merrill Lynch & Co on behalf of Hewlett Packard.

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