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Thu, Sep 08, 2005 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Telecoms
Ericsson ups China stake

Swedish wireless equipment maker Telefon AB LM Ericsson says it plans to invest US$1 billion in China over the next five years, a senior company official said yesterday. The plan, which will span 2006 to 2010, is part of Ericsson's long-term commitment to China, said Mats Olsson, president of Ericsson Greater China. The spending will go toward manufacturing, research and development, and service-capacity expansion, according to a company presentation to be given at an Ericsson-sponsored event in Shanghai yesterday. Ericsson is also planning "significant local purchasing" during the same period, it said.

■ Electronics

LG.Philips heads to Poland

South Korea's LG.Philips LCD Co said yesterday that it would invest 429 million euros (US$536 million) to built a new liquid-crystal display plant in Poland. Production at the plant in Wroclaw is set to start in the first half of 2007 and the facility will initially be able to produce 3 million thin-film transistor LCD units per year, rising to 11 million units by 2011. LG.Philips said it would sign an investment agreement with the Polish government soon. "This move is in line with the ongoing trend of major TV set manufacturers setting up production plants in central and eastern Europe," said Duke Koo, executive vice president of worldwide sales at LG.Philips.

■ Banking

Huaxia sells shares abroad

Second-tier Chinese lender Huaxia Bank (華夏銀行) has auctioned off a 6.88 percent stake to an overseas buyer, the auctioneer said yesterday, in the first such sale for China. Reports in Hong Kong and in China's media identified the buyer as Singapore-based investment company Pangaea Capital Management. In a separate deal, Britain's Standard Chartered PLC on Tuesday became a founding shareholder of Bohai Bank (渤海銀行), the first new stockholding commercial bank set up in China in nine years. Standard Chartered paid US$123 million in cash for a 19.99 percent stake in Bohai Bank in a deal signed in Beijing.

■ Retail

Daiei plans more job cuts

Struggling Japanese retailer Daiei said yesterday that it planned to trim its workforce yet again amid reports the company aims to slash its head count by at least 1,000 through early retirement. The price of shares in Daiei surged on the news, rising ?155 (US$1.41)or 7.12 percent to end the morning session at ?2,330 in Tokyo. Daiei is restructuring under a government-led three-year program, with up to 53 stores slated for closure by February 2008. "As our corporate size is to shrink, we need to review the personnel. We have proposed voluntary retirement to the labor union," a spokeswoman said, without giving further details. Daiei shed 188 managerial jobs in June.

■ Automobiles

Fiat eyes joint venture

Fiat SpA may be discussing a joint venture with DaimlerChrysler AG, la Repubblica reported yesterday without citing its sources. The companies may announce the deal as early as next week at the Frankfurt car show, the daily said, without giving further details. Fiat plans to form a venture this year to produce vehicles as part of its strategy to reduce costs and introduce new models, chief executive Sergio Marchionne said on Tuesday at a news conference.

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