■ InvestmentChina may revise IPO rules
The China Securities Regulatory Commission may revise its two-month-old rules on initial public share sales after finding some institutions are unfairly pricing stock, the Economic Observer reported, citing Yao Gang (姚剛), director of the listing department of the regulatory body. Yao criticized some institutions for engaging in speculative pricing in the sale by new shares last month by Huadian Power International Corp (華電國際電力), the first company to sell shares in China in five months, the Beijing-based weekly reported. China resumed share sales last month after implementing new rules that give institutional investors more say in setting offer prices.
Shell gets Qatar contract
Royal Dutch/Shell Group, Europe's second-largest oil company, will build a multibillion-dollar liquefied natural gas plant in Qatar to help meet surging global demand for the fuel, a Qatari official said. State-run Qatar Liquefied Natural Gas Co, or QatarGas, was slated to sign with Shell last night for the plant, which will chill natural gas for export in tankers, QatarGas chairman Faisal al-Suwaidi said in an interview in the capital, Doha. The plant will produce enough gas, 7.8 million tonnes a year, to power almost 8 million homes. Some may be for Italy. Shell, the world's largest producer of liquefied natural gas, beat four companies including ConocoPhillips Co for the contract in Qatar, where Exxon Mobil Corp leads foreign investors in tapping the nation's gas reserves.
Takeover rules to toughen
Japan's Financial Services Agency (FSA) will toughen rules for companies making takeover bids after Livedoor Co's purchase of Nippon Broadcasting System Inc shares through off-floor trading, the Nihon Keizai newspaper said. The financial watchdog will make companies disclose their plans before buying more than a third of the outstanding shares in other companies in off-floor trading, the newspaper reported today, without saying where it obtained the information. Companies may be fined as much as 5 million (US$47,515) for violations of the new rules, the report said. The FSA aims to submit proposals to change the Securities and Exchange Law during the current Diet sessions, the report said.
US carriers raise fares
American Airlines, Delta Air Lines Inc, United, Continental and other carriers raised fares as much as US$20 on round-trip flights in the US and Canada, matching an increase by Northwest Airlines Corp to blunt rising fuel costs. The carriers joined Northwest in adding US$5 each way on flights of less than 1,600km and US$10 each way on longer trips. America West Airlines, AirTran Airways and Air Canada also matched Northwest, spokesmen said. US airlines are seeking to increase revenue after fuel prices rose the past year and competition prevented major carriers from raising fares. US Airways, the seventh-largest US carrier, said it adopted the Northwest increase in about 50 percent of its markets. Delta maintained a US$499 one-way price cap for coach fares the carrier adopted when it revised its fare system last month, cutting some prices as much as 50 percent to win back customers from low-fare competitors.