■ Auto industry
Fuji plant to make Toyotas
Toyota Motor Corp and its new partner Fuji Heavy, the maker of Subaru brand cars, have agreed to make Toyota vehicles at Fuji's US plant in Indiana, both sides said yesterday. The two Japanese automakers said that the decision was finalized when company presidents met on Monday. However, details such as job additions, what model will be manufactured, vehicle numbers and when the production will start at the factory in Lafayette, Indiana, still need to be worked out. The Indiana plant now makes about 100,000 vehicles a year.
Vodafone chair to retire
Vodafone, the British telecommunications giant, announced on Monday that its chairman Ian MacLaurin will retire from the board in July, to be replaced by John Bond, the outgoing chairman of banking group HSBC. Vodafone chief executive Arun Sarin said in a statement that MacLaurin had been an "outstanding" chairman who had overseen the company's transition from a British telecoms operator into "a major global" business. HSBC had announced a week ago that Bond will retire next May after nearly half a century working for the London-based bank.
Exxon Mobil, Libya in deal
Oil and gas company Exxon Mobil Corp said on Monday that it has agreed to an exploration and production sharing pact with Libya's National Oil Corp -- the company's first re-entry into that country since leaving in the early 1980s. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The agreement covers 1 million hectares of the Cyrenaica Basin in waters between 3m and 3,000m deep. Exxon exited the country in 1981, while Mobil had left in 1982, according to Exxon Mobil spokesman Len D'Eramo. In 1986, the US imposed comprehensive trade and financial bans on Libya.
Microsoft facilities planned
Microsoft Corp said it will set up a global network of 90 "innovation centers" to support software and economic development in countries, including India and South Korea. The centers will be operated in partnership with local governments, universities, software makers and other industry groups, Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft said in a statement yesterday. The centers will start operating immediately from 60 existing facilities in Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, Japan and Malaysia, the statement said. Microsoft will set up an additional 30 centers in India, South Korea and South Africa next year, it said.
Boeing may top Airbus
US aerospace giant Boeing said on Monday that it had booked 800 commercial plane orders in the first 11 months of this year, giving it an apparent lead over European rival Airbus. Airbus, which has been the market leader in recent years, was due to release its figures for the same period yesterday. As of October, Airbus had booked 494 orders compared with 674 for Boeing for the same period. Boeing is expected to overtake Airbus this year in terms of orders. But the European consortium was expected to remain ahead of Boeing in aircraft deliveries, most recently estimated at 360. Boeing said it plans 290 deliveries for this year.