■ Chemical Industry
Bayer to sell plasma unit
German chemical concern Bayer disclosed yesterday that it has reached an agreement to sell its worldwide plasma products business to the US company NPS BioTherapeutics. Bayer put the value of the deal at US$590 million with the company based in Wellesley, Massachusetts. The deal is subject to the approval of regulators. "Divesting the plasma business is another important step in the repositioning of our health care business," Bayer chief executive officer Werner Wenning said, according to a company press release. "In the future we will focus increasingly on our compet-encies in the consumer health business, on inno-vative medicines for humans and animals, and on high-performance diagnostic systems. Our acquisition of the OTC business of Roche and the pharmaceuticals alliance with Schering-Plough underscore the new strategic alignment." The agreement with NPS covers the products, facilities and employees representing the plasma portion of Bayer HealthCare's Biological Products Division.
Great Wall, IBM in deal
China Great Wall Computer Shenzhen Co Ltd has signed an agreement to establish a new joint venture with IBM to produce computer servers for the Asian region, the company said yesterday. The agreement to form the International Systems Technology Co (ISTC) was signed on Sunday and would be based in Shenzhen where IBM eServer x series and IBM eServer p series will be produced, the company said on its Web site. A factory would also be established in the Futian Bonded Area of Shenzhen, it added. Sales of the joint venture are expect-ed to reach US$1 billion next year, press reports, citing company officials, said. IBM will hold 80 percent of the stake in the venture with Great Wall taking the rest. Financial details of the deal were not revealed.
New batteries to last weeks
Japanese electronics companies Hitachi and Mitsubishi Electric said yesterday they have developed technology that will slash mobile-phone power consumption by 90 percent, allowing users to go weeks without having to recharge their batteries. The new technology, which will also enable handsets to process data 20 percent faster, is expected to enter production in about 2007 for next-generation telephones. The new chips were developed by Hitachi and Renesas, a joint venture between Hitachi and Mitsubishi Electric. "Theo-retically, the technology will enable mobile phone batteries to last 10 times longer with a single charge, if the handset is in a standby status," said Hitachi spokesman Kantaro Tanii. Currently, phone batteries last two to three days with a single charge.
Demand expected to fall
Worldwide demand for oil is expected to drop by about 1 million barrels per day by the second quarter of next year after the northern hemis-phere's winter season ends, OPEC's president Purnomo Yusgiantoro said yesterday. He said no decision on cutting output quotas would be made until the organization's next meeting in Vienna early in the new year. "Let's see on Jan. 30," Yusgiantoro said. OPEC left unchanged its output quota of 27 million barrels per day at a meeting in Cairo last week, but agreed to scale back surplus production to try to regain control of the market after pumping close to capacity for months.