Home / World Business
Sat, Nov 19, 2005 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take


■ Genetic engineering
GM peas make mice sick

Australian scientists said yesterday they had abandoned a trial with a genetically modified (GM) crop of peas because field mice that fed on them developed lung disease. "The reaction of the mice to the protein might reflect something that would happen to humans," said Thomas Higgins, deputy chief at the government's CSIRO research body. "There isn't any evidence that would happen, but there is a chance that it could happen," he told national broadcaster ABC. It's only the second time anywhere that a GM field trial has been abandoned because of gene transfer from one crop to another. Higgins' findings, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, suggest that the lung inflammation in mice was triggered by an altered protein.

■ Computers

HP beats expectations

Computer giant Hewlett-Packard (HP) posted a 62-percent drop in profits on Thursday, due to US$1.1 billion in restructuring costs, in an earnings report that sent the company's shares sharply higher. The world's second-largest computer maker said that it earned US$416 million, compared with US$1.1. billion in the same period last year, as revenue rose to US$22.9 billion from US$21.4 billion, a 7 percent hike. With the results beating Wall Street expectations, the report sent shares of the company some 6 percent higher on Thursday. For the year, HP has seen its value rise by 35 percent as rivals like IBM and Dell have both dropped. In July, the company announced some 14,500 job cuts. Chief executive Mark Hurd said on Thursday that the final figure for the worldwide layoffs would be 15,300. He also said that remaining employees would receive their first bonuses in the five years since the dot-com crash sent the company reeling.

■ Automakers

GM says no to bankruptcy

General Motors Corp chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner told employees on Thursday that the world's largest automaker has no plans to file for bankruptcy despite heavy losses in its North American division and the threat of a strike at Delphi Corp, its major supplier. GM shares climbed more than 6 percent, bouncing back from their lowest level in 18 years. "I'd like to just set the record straight here and now: There is absolutely no plan, strategy or intention for GM to file for bankruptcy," Wagoner said in a letter to employees, which was posted on an internal Web site. Wagoner said GM has a clearly defined turnaround plan and "a robust balance sheet," with US$19 billion in cash and US$16 billion in assets in a trust fund for retiree health care.

■ Mergers

UFJ acquisition approved

Japanese authorities yesterday formally approved Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi's acquisition of UFJ Bank, effective on Jan. 1. The banks combined holding companies to create Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc last month, but their commercial banking operations have not merged due to concerns over linking their computer systems. Financial Agency Commissioner Hirofumi Gomi gave a formal go-ahead yesterday, according to agency spokesman Yoshiki Kamoto. The approval paved the way for Mitsubishi UFJ to begin operations as the world's largest bank in January, which has total assets of around ¥190 trillion (US$1.6 trillion), topping US-based Citigroup Inc's US$1.55 trillion.

This story has been viewed 2141 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top