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Thu, Nov 30, 2006 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Energy
Firms ink LPG tie-up

Three top Japanese trading firms have agreed to a tie-up in the wholesale business for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in the hope of reducing costs, a report said yesterday. The accord between Mitsui and Co, Marubeni Corp and Sumitomo Corp will create a rival to a joint venture set up by Idemitsu Kosan Co and Mitsubishi Corp in April, the Yomiuri Shimbun said without citing sources. The new combine should take about about 20 percent of LPG imports and have sales of some ¥300 billion (US$2.54 billion), it said.

■ Cellphones

Nokia cuts margin targets

Nokia Corp on Tuesday cut its operating margin targets, blaming increased exposure to the network infrastructure business. It also predicted global sales of mobile phones would grow by 10 percent next year. The world's largest cellphone maker lowered its target margin to 15 percent for the next one to two years, down from the 17 percent it set last December. At its Capital Markets day presentation in Amsterdam, the Finnish company also said industrywide shipments of mobile phones will be up 10 percent next year from the 970 million units it estimates will be sold this year.

■ Electronics

Chinese to spurn DVD

Nearly 20 leading Chinese makers are to stop making DVD players from 2008 as part of China's plan to replace the technology with a new home-grown standard, state media reported yesterday. Members of the EVD (Enhanced Versatile Disc) Industry Alliance, including China's biggest TV maker, TCL, are determined to make the EVD player a success in the market place, the China Daily said. Chinese makers will set the average selling price of EVD players at 700 yuan (US$89), which is roughly the same as a DVD player, the report said. More than 50 EVD models will be put on public display next week, it said.

■ Markets

Regulators to merge

The companies charged with regulating the two largest US stock exchanges -- the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ Stock Market -- announced plans to combine their operations, calling it one of the biggest changes in the regulatory system since its creation 72 years ago. The new organization will be the world's largest securities regulator and aim to cut costs for Wall Street by eliminating redundancies within the groups' operations, the companies announced on Tuesday. Stocks will continue to be listed separately on the exchanges. The new company will begin operations in the second quarter of next year although the name of the new group has not yet been decided.

■ Computers

Kepcher joins business hunt

Carolyn Kepcher, who helped Donald Trump fire corporate wannabes on The Apprentice television show, took a new role on Tuesday -- helping Microsoft Corp find the best small-business idea in the US. The winner of the Redmond, Washington-based company's "Ultimate Challenge" contest will get US$100,000 in seed money, a storefront or other space in Manhattan for a year rent-free, and software to help get their business started. Kepcher and fellow judges -- maternity wear entrepreneur Liz Lange and Chris Caposella, a Microsoft vice president -- began hearing ideas on Tuesday. They eventually will pick four finalists. The winner will be chosen after more judging and by votes from the public.

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