Hyundai buys stake
South Korea's Hyundai Corp said yesterday it had taken a controlling stake in a joint venture with Lingshan Ship Engineering, based in China's northern port of Qingdao, for US$7.4 million. The deal marks the first entry by a South Korean trading firm into the shipbuilding business in China, Hyundai Corp said in a press release. Hyundai and Lingshan agreed to set up a joint venture, Qingdao Hyundai Shipbuilding, to absorb the Chinese shipyard's key assets under the deal. Hyundai Corp owns a 51-percent stake in the new entity.
■ Auto Industry
Mitsubishi, Merrill in deal
Money-losing Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motors Corp said yesterday that it is setting up a joint venture with Merrill Lynch to offer auto-sales financing services in the US. Details of the deal were not decided, but Mitsubishi Motors also said it agreed to sell US$2 billion of its US credit company's US$4 billion assets -- including leases and loans -- to Merrill Lynch & Co, a spokesman at the Tokyo-based automaker said. Mitsubishi Motors Credit of America Inc is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc.
Singapore eyed for plants
Singapore could net US$2 billion in investment if two multinational energy companies commit to the construction of a pair petrochemical plants in the city-state, a newspaper reported yesterday. Royal Dutch/Shell Group has said it will decide within a month on the next step toward its planned ethylene cracker on Pulau Bukom, an islet off Singapore's main island, the Business Times said. Separately, the newspaper reported that ExxonMobil Corp has reportedly started exploratory talks with the Singapore authorities to build a second cracker alongside its existing refinery and petrochemical complex.
Valuair in Web-firm deal
Singapore-based budget carrier Valuair said yesterday it was teaming up with an online hotel-booking agency to offer its fliers access to discounted, last-minute accommodation. Under the deal, Valuair's Web site has been linked with that of Wotif.com, an Australia-based booking company that offers rates on hotels and serviced apartments for the coming 14 days. The tie-up includes a revenue-sharing agreement, but details were not disclosed. The deal lasts for an initial 12 months and may be extended. Valuair flies from Singapore to Bangkok, Jakarta, Hong Kong and the West Australian city of Perth.
■ Auto Industry
Q3 profits drop in China
China's automakers reported a combined 34 percent drop in third-quarter profit as tighter lending rules and discounting of prices dented sales. Combined net income dropped 44 percent from the second quarter and fell 7.9 percent in the first three quarters from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said on its Web site, without giving any figures. Earnings for automobile makers such as Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp and China FAW Group Corp may continue to fall in the current quarter, the bureau said. Car sales growth for this year in China is forecast to slow to about 30 percent from 76 percent last year.