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Tue, Aug 31, 2004 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take


■ LCD displaysShares fall on tariff worries

Shares of LG.Philips LCD Co and other makers of liquid-crystal displays fell after a South Korean agency said the EU will probably impose a 14 percent tariff on LCD monitor imports. The European Commission, the Brussels-based executive body of the EU, ruled that computer monitors that receive digital video signals are commonly used to watch movies and should be classified entertainment electronics, which attract the 14 percent levy, the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency said in a statement yesterday. A final ruling is due next month, it said. Concern that LCD panel prices are falling faster than expected may be a bigger contributor to the declines, said Jay Kim, an analyst at Hyundai Securities Co in Seoul.

■ Retail

Ikea to expand in China

Ikea, the Swedish home furnishings maker, plans to build 10 new stores in the next six years in China, its fastest-growing market, the official China Daily reported, citing Ian Duffy, head of Ikea's China operations. The stores will cost US$40 million to US$80 million each and will be located in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Nanjing, and Shandong, the paper said. Ikea, which currently has two stores in China, in Beijing and Shanghai, will open its second- biggest outlet in the country in the second half, the report said. Ikea's China revenue jumped 50 percent to 1 billion yuan (US$120.8 million) in the fiscal year ended Aug. 24, compared with a 15 percent increase in global sales in the same period, the paper said. China, which now accounts for 1 percent of Ikea's global sales of US$16 billion, is expected to become the company's biggest market within 10 to 15 years, the report said

■ Banking

UBS may buy Schwab unit

Swiss bank UBS is expected to purchase Charles Schwab Corp's capital markets business and its SoundView Technology stock-research operation for US$265 million, the Wall Street Journal said yesterday, citing people familiar with the matter. Schwab purchased SoundView Technology for US$321 million just eight months ago, the newspaper said. A person familiar with the matter said the research operation will be pared back significantly once in the hands of UBS. Spokesmen for both Schwab and UBS declined to comment. According to the Financial Times, the sale is "another chapter in what has been a tumultuous year" at Schwab, which ousted chief executive David Pottrucks in July and replaced him with company founder Charles Schwab.

■ Brokerages

SK sale talks break down

A deal to sell the brokerage arm of SK Group, South Korea's third largest conglomerate, to a local securities firm funded by US financier George Soros has broken down, officials said yesterday. The group's trading arm, SK Networks, had been in talks to sell a 14.3 percent stake in SK Securities to Seoul Securities, which is 26 percent owned by a Soros-controlled fund. "We have halted talks with SK Networks to buy its unit SK Securities as we failed to reach an agreement on the terms," Seoul Securities said in a statement. The stock price of SK Securities has soared since the two sides signed a memorandum of understanding on the sale on July 28.

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