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Mon, Nov 13, 2006 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take


■ Labor
FTA protest draws 15,000

About 15,000 South Korean workers demonstrated in Seoul yesterday, demanding that the government stop free trade agreement (FTA) talks with the US. The protesters, including transport and metal workers, belong to the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions. A general strike would also be held on Wednesday to push their demands, they said. "No FTA," the workers shouted. They urged the government to enact laws to protect contract workers.

■ Automobiles

Dubai may sell part of stake

Dubai International Capital LLC, an investment company controlled by the emirate's ruling family, said it may sell part of its US$1 billion stake in DaimlerChrysler AG at between 45 euros (US$57.78) and 50 euros a share. "Between 45 [euros] and 50 [euros], we believe there is an opportunity to do a partial exit," Dubai International chief executive officer Sameer al-Ansari told reporters in Dubai on Saturday. "We're not in it forever." Al-Ansari met with the chief financial officers of companies including Deutsche Lufthansa AG, BASF AG, MAN AG and EADS Co to discuss investment opportunities.

■ Finance

G-20 to focus on energy

The chairman of the annual Group of 20 finance summit this weekend said yesterday he hoped an agreement could be reached on fair access to energy. Australian Treasurer Peter Costello will chair the two-day meeting of G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors that begins in Melbourne on Saturday. Costello said on Australian Broadcasting Corp TV that one of the most important discussions would center on increased oil prices, the world's energy needs and the growing demands of China and India. "How does the world satisfy these economies that there will be continuity of supply at realistic prices with no need to lockup supplies or have cartel activity which would rig those international markets?" Costello said.

■ Telecoms

Telstra offer to be increased

The Australian government said yesterday it would increase its offer of A$8 billion (US$6 billion) worth of shares in telco giant Telstra after a late rush for the stock. The spike in interest from the so-called "mom and dad" investors meant the government would do more than meet its target of selling 2.15 billion shares -- a third of its 51.8 percent stake, Finance Minister Nick Minchin said. A total of 320,000 applications for some 1.3 billion shares had been received from retail investors, easily surpassing the government's original sale target. The strong level of support from ordinary retail investors "sets the scene for a successful institutional offer to be conducted this week, with final pricing and allocation to take place next weekend," Minchin said.

■ China

Competition law urged

China will expedite the passing of a proposed anti-monopoly law to keep overseas capital from controlling businesses critical to its security, the National Development and Reform Commission said on Saturday. The country will also gradually reduce tax exemptions given to overseas firms and seek to prevent tax evasion by foreign companies, the nation's leading economic planning body said in a statement supplementing its 11th five-year plan for foreign investment, released last Thursday.

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