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Fri, Oct 06, 2006 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take


■ Oil
OPEC to cut output

The OPEC cartel has agreed informally to cut oil output by 1 million barrels a day or 4.0 percent in order to bolster prices which have fallen some 25 percent from record levels in July, the Financial Times reported yesterday. The newspaper said the majority of the 11-member organization back a voluntary reduction and the deal could be ratified as early as a mid-December meeting in Abuja. An unnamed OPEC official said in the report that the group "is going to defend a price floor for its oil of US$50 to US$55 a barrel." The price of OPEC's reference crude oil on Wednesday was US$55.27.

■ Electronics

Jobs sorry over options

Apple Computer Inc chief executive Steve Jobs apologized on Wednesday for the firm's past stock-option practices after an internal investigation found accounting irregularities between 1997 and 2002 and showed Jobs was aware of some options backdating. The iPod and Macintosh maker said its three-month investigation also prompted the resignation of former chief financial officer Fred Anderson from the firm's board of directors. Apple said it will likely have to restate some earnings, threatening to wipe out some of the profit generated during the most prosperous stretch in Apple's 30-year history.

■ Internet

Google eyes programmers

Google Inc is introducing a new search service -- strictly for computer programmers only. The Web search leader said late on Wednesday it was introducing Google Code Search, a site that simplifies how software developers search for programming code to improve existing software or create new programs. Searchers can seek out specific programming terms or computer languages and dive deep into compressed code to locate specific features. Users also can narrow a search to find software code based on specific licensing requirements, which is a big deal in warding off future patent litigation.

■ Aviation

Ryanair bids for Aer Lingus

Ryanair Holdings PLC, Europe's largest discount airline, offered yesterday to buy Aer Lingus PLC for 1.48 billion euros (US$1.88 billion) to expand its operations in Ireland. Ryanair said it would pay 2.80 euros a share for the former state-owned carrier. The offer represents a premium of 12 percent over Tuesday's closing price of 2.51 euros. CEO Michael O'Leary said he also wanted to buy the Irish government's 28 percent stake in Aer Lingus. The government has previously said it will retain the stake to safeguard Irish economic interests.

■ Oil

Japan, Iran continue talks

A senior Japanese trade official said yesterday that Japanese and Iranian oil companies were still in discussions over a US$2 billion project to develop Iran's Azadegan oil field. Vice Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Takao Kitabata told reporters that the two sides were still "conducting difficult negotiations" that are likely to continue for a "very long time" due to the number of negotiation items on the table, according to ministry official Nobuhiro Watanabe. Earlier, Iran's Fars news agency quoted the head of the National Iranian Oil Co as expressing the view that Japan's Inpex Corp had lost its right to develop the field due to failed negotiations between the two firms, Kyodo News agency said.

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