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Thu, Dec 16, 2004 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Internet

Xmas card carries virus

Security experts warned on Tuesday of a new virulent e-mail worm particularly successful in infecting computers as it is disguised as a multilingual electronic Christmas card. "We think this worm will be big, because of its timing and the fact that it comes in 15 different European lan-guages," said Mikko Hyp-poenen, head of anti-virus research at Finnish firm F-Secure. The virus, dubbed Zafi.D, is a traditional Inter-net worm infecting com-puters by e-mail. Its greeting is in the language of the recipient, decided by the country code at the end of the e-mail address, making it all the more dangerous, Hyppoenen said. It also opens a back door on infected PCs, making it possible for outsiders to use them to distribute spam and launch malicious attacks to close down Web sites, he said.

■ Aviation

AirAsia goes with Airbus

Malaysian budget carrier AirAsia will buy 40 A320 jets from Europe's Airbus and plans to phase out its cur-rent Boeing fleet, a senior industry official said yes-terday. "Yes, AirAsia has picked Airbus. It will buy 40 jets. The contract will be inked on Friday," the source said. Asked why Boeing lost the deal, the source said: "In terms of price and technical specifications, Airbus is better. "All the current Boeing aircraft with AirAsia will either be phased out or sold," the source said. Air-Asia, the region's largest low-cost carrier, currently operates a fleet of 24 Boeing 737 aircraft so the AirBus deal, if confirmed, would represent a setback to the US aerospace giant. The industry source said the first aircraft would arrive in early 2006, followed by one jet each month.

■ Banking

Chinese bank hire US execs

Shenzhen Development Bank (深圳發展銀行) said yesterday that it has appointed a pair of US financial experts as board chairman and president, the first foreigners to hold such positions. The appointment of John Langlois, a Morgan Stanley officer in China, comes as part of a transfer of a nearly 18 percent stake in the state-owned bank to US firm Newbridge Capital Ltd. In a notice posted in the China Securities Journal, the bank said Langlois would serve as acting chair-man while the China Bank-ing Regulatory Commission reviews the appointment. Jeffrey Williams will replace He Ru as acting president during the review period, the notice said. Both men have considerable experience with the Chinese banking industry. Williams opened Citigroup subsidiary Citibank's first Chinese branch in Shenzhen in 1988. Langlois sits on the boards of both Shanghai Bank and Nanjing City Commercial Bank.

■ IPOS

Sands' gamble pays off

Las Vegas Sands Corp priced its initial public offering at US$29 per share on Tuesday night, a dra-matic rise from its previous targets. The pricing far exceeds the company's original target of US$21 per share in October thanks to high-growth expectations in Las Vegas and Macau. The Sands made the announce-ment in a news release late Tuesday. With the offering, the Sands becomes one of the largest gambling com-panies in the world. The Sands was set to begin trading yesterday morning on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "LVS." The company registered about 23.8 million shares of common stock, raising more than US$690 million in the offering.

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