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Fri, Dec 22, 2006 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Banking
Banks eye Chinese market

US-based Carlyle Group and Hong Kong's Dah Sing Bank(大新銀行) will join the fast-expanding club of foreigners in China's banking sector with stakes in Chongqing Commercial Bank (重慶商銀), state press said yesterday. Carlyle has wrapped up a deal with Chongqing Commercial Bank for a stake, the 21st Century Business Herald quoted Chongqing Vice Mayor Huang Qifan (黃奇帆) as saying. Huang said the agreement would be signed next week but declined to provide further details. The newspaper said Carlyle would buy a 14-percent stake from Chongqing Yufu Asset Management Corp, the bank's largest shareholder. Hong Kong's Dah Sing Bank will take an 11-percent stake, the report said.

■ Energy

Firms sell Sakhalin stakes

Two Japanese companies have decided to sell roughly half of their stakes in the Sakhalin-2 project to Russia's state-run natural gas monopoly, Gazprom, a press report said yesterday. Mitsui Co and Mitsubishi Corp own 25 percent and 20 percent stakes respectively in Sakhalin Energy, the business entity driving the natural gas development project. The other 55 percent belongs to Royal Dutch Shell Plc. Mitsui and Mitsubishi decided at board meetings on Wednesday to accept Gazprom's request that the three firms sell it at least 50 percent of Sakhalin Energy, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper said.

■ Automobiles

Nissan in battery talks

Nissan Motor Co said yesterday it is talking with Japanese electronics company NEC Corp about establishing a joint venture that would make lithium ion batteries for use in hybrid and fuel cell cars. The move would be a key part of the automaker's strategy to develop hybrid technology in an effort to catch up with larger rival Toyota Motor Corp, which has taken the lead in the business. The proposed partnership would involve development, manufacturing and sales of batteries, the company said. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported yesterday that Nissan and NEC plan to build a lithium ion battery factory by 2010.

■ Catering

Hooters coming to Seoul

US restaurant chain Hooters will make its debut in South Korea next month but its trademark sexy waitresses will dress less revealingly, the company said. The country's first Hooters will open in Seoul. "The [Hooters] girls here will wear the same uniform as in the United States. But in light of the different attitude toward bare skin, their way of wearing the uniform will be different," Hooters of Korea spokeswoman Rose Hong said on Wednesday. Translation: they will show less cleavage than their US counterparts.

■ Aviation

Airbus committed to targets

Airbus' chief said yesterday the European aircraft maker is "fully committed" to the revised delivery schedule of its A380 superjumbo, with the first plane due in October, and was hopeful of securing more orders next year. "We are fully committed to deliver the airplane ... by October 2007, and I am fully committed personally,'' said Airbus president and chief executive Louis Gallois at a press conference after signing the official order to supply Australia's Qantas Airways Ltd with eight more superjumbos and four additional A330-200 aircraft.

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