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Tue, Oct 24, 2006 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take


■ Automobiles
Ford loses US$5.8bn in Q3

Ford Motor Co said yesterday it lost US$5.8 billion in the third quarter, blaming the cost of its "Way Forward" restructuring plan. The company's net loss of US$3.08 per share for the July-to-September period was wider than last year's third-quarter loss of US$284 million, or US$0.15 per share. Excluding restructuring costs, the company said it lost US$1.2 billion, or US$0.62 per share, from continuing operations. Excluding special items in the third quarter of last year, Ford lost US$191 million, or US$0.10 per share. Wall Street had been expecting a loss of US$0.61 per share for the quarter, according to a survey of analysts by Thomson Financial.

■ Internet

Betcorp plans selloff

Internet gaming company Betcorp Ltd of Australia said it plans to sell its operations in Toronto, Canada and Antigua for US$11 million to Bodog Entertainment Group SA. The sale will remove Betcorp from the online gaming market in the US and was forced by changes to US laws making it an offense for US residents to pay overseas online entertainment companies for gaming, the company said in a statement. The laws made it impossible for Betcorp to offer services to US residents, who had formed 85 percent of the company's revenue, it said. The statement was released late Friday, but was first reported yesterday. Betcorp would receive a cash consideration of US$9 million payable in five installments, and Bodog will assume liabilities of US$2 million.

■ Oil

Shell to buy up subsidiary

Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe's second biggest oil company, offered to buy the 22 percent it doesn't already own of Shell Canada Ltd for C$7.7 billion (US$6.8 billion) to take full control of a unit producing crude from oil sands. Shell will offer C$40 a share for the stake, The Hague-based company said yesterday in a PR Newswire statement. That's 22 percent more than the closing price of Shell Canada's stock on the final day of trading last week. The proposal "is a further step in simplifying the group structure" after the company merged its Dutch and UK boards last year, Shell said yesterday. Shell's oil sands project is in a region known as the Athabasca in northeastern Alberta, where oil-laden sands are strip mined and then processed with heat and solvents to extract the tar-like crude.

■ Semiconductors

Inventor sues Hitachi

A former employee sued Hitachi yesterday for compensation stemming from a patent for chip technology, his attorney said, a week after Japan's Supreme Court handed down a landmark ruling backing inventor rights. The lawsuit by Yoshihiko Okamoto was filed in Tokyo District Court, demanding &$165;200 million (US$1.7 million) in payment from Japanese electronics maker Hitachi Ltd, his lawyer Hidetoshi Masunaga said. The contested technology deals with duplicating the patterns of integrated circuits on chips in mass production, Masunaga said. Hitachi applied for patent on the chip circuit technology developed in 1988, when Okamoto, 55, was an employee at Hitachi, the business daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported. Although Okamoto initially received more than &$165;20 million for the patent from Hitachi, he is demanding extra as the company earned at least &$165;8 billion from licensing of the patent, according to the report.

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