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Sat, Oct 28, 2006 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Steel

Cross-strait firms pen deal

Wuhan Iron & Steel Group (武鋼), China's third-largest steelmaker, and Taiwan's China Steel Corp (中鋼) have agreed to cooperate in technology development and staff training to compete with rivals such as Nippon Steel Corp. China's State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission said on Thursday that Wuhan Steel and China Steel signed the accord on Monday. The partnership will cover marketing and company management. Japan's Nippon Steel and South Korea's Posco, Asia's two largest steelmakers, said on Sunday they will spend more than US$900 million to boost crossholdings.

■ Oil

Record profit reported

The world's largest company, ExxonMobil Corp, announced record profits for last quarter of US$10.49 billion on Thursday on the back of red-hot oil prices. ExxonMobil said its net profits spiked 26 percent from US$8.30 billion in the same period last year. Earnings per share of US$1.77 for the quarter, up from US$1.32 a year ago, were well above most Wall Street predictions of US$1.58 dollars.ExxonMobil's shares rose, but the political heat on the company mounted as top Democratic lawmakers including Senator Hillary Clinton accused it of squeezing consumers and demanded an end to industry tax breaks.

■ Automobiles

Ford reiterates priorities

Although it's fighting financial troubles, US automaker Ford reiterated its commitment to investing in new products and technology, a senior executive said yesterday. "Despite the difficult times at Ford, we think it's extremely important to invest in the product," said Susan Cischke, vice president overseeing environmental and safety engineering at Ford Motor Co. Cischke said in Tokyo that Ford sees ecological technology as crucial, including more efficient gas engines, hybrids that deliver better mileage, and the more futuristic fuel cell vehicles.

■ Aircraft

Airbus delays delivery

European aircraft manufacturer Airbus will deliver six A380 aircraft to Virgin Atlantic in 2013, a four-year delay, the British company said on Thursday. "Virgin Atlantic has reached an agreement in principle with Airbus to defer deliveries of its Airbus A380 aircraft until 2013," a spokeswoman for the airline told reporters, specifying this represented a delay of four years. "By then, we believe, the A380 will have proven its innovative design over several years in commercial service," she said. At the beginning of October, Airbus announced a third delay for delivery of the super-jumbo, because of persistent manufacturing problems.

■ Energy

Russia probes Sakhalin-2

The Russian Prosecutor General's Office said yesterday it may launch a criminal case over alleged environmental violations at a giant Shell-led energy project, as officials continue to crank up the pressure at the troubled multibillion-dollar development. "The Prosecutor General's Office plans to inspect materials provided by the Natural Resource Ministry on ecological violations during the Sakhalin-2 project," prosecution spokesman Konstantin Nikonov told reporters. "If there are sufficient grounds after this inspection a criminal case will be opened," he said.

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