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Wed, Oct 04, 2006 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take


■ Economy
Omi thinks deflation over

Japanese Finance Minister Koji Omi said yesterday that the Japanese economy has finally beaten deflation, breaking from the government's previously stated view that mild price falls continued. "Looking at the economy in general, we can declare an end to deflation," Omi said. "It is unnatural for us not to announce the end to deflation at this moment," he told a press conference. The government has so far been cautious about publicly declaring an end to almost eight years of falling consumer prices. Omi said his remarks were personal and not the official view.

■ Telecoms

Screaming phone launched

A service launched on Monday is designed to deter mobile phone theft by equipping telephones with an ear-piercing scream. The screaming won't stop unless the battery is removed. Even if the thief replaces the phone's SIM card, the handset will not work. All customers' information is centrally stored, so contacts, ringtones, pictures, texts and other data can be retrieved when a new handset is purchased. The service costs about £10 (US$18) a month. The goal of the service is to make mobile phones useless to anyone but the rightful owner, said Mark Whiteman, the managing director of Remote XT. "We'll see the market for stolen handsets stamped out once and for all," he said.

■ Automobiles

Nissan to hold to deadline

A senior Nissan Motor Co executive said yesterday that his company will conclude talks on a possible tie-up with General Motors Corp and Renault SA by the middle of next month, as planned. Nissan chief operating officer Toshiyuki Shiga declined to comment on a remark by GM chief executive Richard Wagoner that the three parties could extend their talks over a potential alliance. Wagoner said last Thursday that GM could continue to study a potential alliance with Renault and Nissan beyond the initial Oct. 15 deadline for their talks. Shiga said the GM chief and Carlos Ghosn, the chief executive officer of both Nissan and Renault, won't meet before that date.

■ Breweries

Sapporo extends bid offer

Japanese brewer Sapporo extended until Oct. 17 a public offer to purchase Sleeman, Canada's third-largest brewer, the company said in a statement on Monday. Last month Japan's third-ranked Sapporo Breweries Ltd offered C$17.50 (US$15.70) per share, leading to a price tag of C$400 million including assumed debt to wholly own Ontario-based Sleeman. The two breweries already have built business relations, as Sleeman -- whose brands include Sleeman Cream Ale and Honey Brown Lager -- manufacturers products for Sapporo USA Inc.

■ Television

Hitachi to open new plant

Hitachi Ltd said it will open its first European flat-panel television plant in the Czech Republic to meet robust demand in the region, with an investment of ¥8 billion (US$68 million). The plant, which is due to start operations in the middle of next year, will initially make up to 80,000 plasma and liquid-crystal-display TVs and 100,000 plasma panel modules a month, the firm said in a statement late on Monday. Hitachi said it aims to boost its monthly production to 200,000 flat panel TVs and 140,000 plasma panel modules within the next few years at the plant, which will employ about 1,500 people in the Usti region.

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