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Tue, Oct 17, 2006 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take


■ Oil
Prices rise ahead of meet

World oil prices climbed yesterday ahead of an extraordinary meeting of OPEC in Doha later in the week. New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery next month, advanced US$0.63 to US$59.20 per barrel in electronic deals before the official opening of the US market. In London, Brent North Sea crude for delivery next month gained US$0.29 to US$59.81 per barrel in electronic trading. Qatar's Energy Minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah said on Sunday that an extraordinary meeting of OPEC will be held in Doha to discuss a cut in production to check the fall in the price of crude oil.

■ Food

Nestle sells off canned milk

Nestle SA is selling its canned liquid milk business in Southeast Asia for an undisclosed sum to Fraser & Neave Holdings Berhad of Singapore, the Swiss food giant said yesterday. F&N will take over production from Feb. 1 and produce canned milk under license for Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and a number of other countries in the region. The deal also includes the sale to F&N of various assets at a Thai production plant. Nestle said the sale was part of a move to streamline its product portfolio and concentrate on nutrition and wellness products.

■ Computers

Makers may seek damages

Japanese computer makers Toshiba Corp, Fujitsu Ltd and Hitachi Ltd said yesterday they were considering seeking compensation from Sony Corp over the massive recall of Sony-made batteries used in their laptop computers. Toshiba is recalling 830,000 Sony battery packs. "We are considering various possibilities, but we have not made a final decision," company spokeswoman Junko Furuta said. Fujitsu said seeking compensation was "possible," but that it needed to carry out its recall of more than 338,000 Sony-made laptop batteries first before deciding the extent of damage on the company's business. Hitachi, which is recalling about 16,000 batteries, also said seeking a compensation from Sony was an option.

■ Water

Thames favors Qatar: report

A consortium put together by the state of Qatar is best placed to acquire the British water distribution group Thames Water, after it submitted an offer of US$14.8 billion, the British press reported on Sunday. Several newspapers reported that the Qatar Investment Authority, backed by Swiss bank UBS, had submitted the most interesting offer by the end of the tender process on Saturday. The subsidiary of German No. 2 energy company RWE has also drawn interest from British investment group Terra Firma, which is led by businessman Guy Hands, and Australian bank Macquarie, which has also been mentioned as a potential buyer.

■ Energy

Marubeni bags Qatar plan

Japanese trading house Marubeni Corp said yesterday it had won the right to build one of the world's largest independent power producer projects in Qatar valued at US$2.3 billion. Marubeni will take a 40 percent stake in the thermal power plant. Qatar Electricity and Water Co will also have a 40 percent, with Qatar Petroleum holding the remaining 20 percent. Marubeni said it will complete construction of the plant in Mesaieed by April 2010 and will manage it for 25 years.

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