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Mon, Jan 01, 2007 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Automobiles
Ford reveals new car details

Ford Motor Co yesterday revealed details of a four-door concept sedan based on the iconic Mustang sports car that the automaker plans to show off at this month's North American International Auto Show. The overall look of the Ford Interceptor concept draws from the Ford F-250 Super Chief truck concept from last year's auto show in Detroit, which was based on the American Super Chief trains of the country's past. Ford said the Interceptor is not likely to be produced, but will be used to gauge public reaction to such a vehicle.

■ Stocks

London has record offerings

London Stock Exchange Plc had a record £27.9 billion (US$55 billion) of initial public offerings last year, 71 percent more than in 2005. The exchange's main market and its AIM bourse, formerly known as the Alternative Investment Market, attracted offerings from 346 companies last year, the bourse said in a statement. AIM had £9.1 billion of the new issues. Companies raised a total of £49.5 billion in new offerings and share sales of already listed companies, according to the London bourse. As of the end of November, initial offerings totaled £25.8 billion for the London bourse.

■ Energy

Myanmar finds gas deposits

Myanmar has discovered more economically viable gas deposits in an offshore natural gas field in the Gulf of Martaban operated jointly by Thailand's PTT Exploration and Production and Myanmar's state-run energy enterprise, state-run media reported yesterday. Drilling of a test well in block M-9 by the Thai company found gas reserves estimated at 71 billion cubic meters, said the New Light of Myanmar newspaper. With the new discovery, the block is now estimated to hold more than 227 billion cubic meters. The report said plans were under way to drill six more wells in block M-9 later this year.

■ Insurance

MetLife reaches settlement

MetLife Inc, the largest US group life insurer, will pay US$19 million and change some of its business practices to end an investigation of payments made to brokers to steer clients its way, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said on Friday. The settlement came as part of a multiyear investigation of bid rigging and price fixing in the insurance industry. Spitzer has argued that "contingent commissions" paid to brokers and agents to steer business to insurance companies are the equivalent of kickbacks that unfairly increase the prices paid by insurance clients. New York-based MetLife will ban contingent commissions and disclose broker payments as part of the settlement.

■ Aviation

Carriers launch cheap flights

Budget Malaysian airline operators plan to launch cheap flights on lucrative routes to London, an industry source said yesterday. "The government and the carriers concerned are expected to make an official announcement soon after the New Year," the source familiar with the ambitious program told reporters. The New Straits Times newspaper said that profit-making budget carrier AirAsia and Fly Asian Xpress (FAX) will form an alliance to start the service as early as July. FAX, which is closely linked to AirAsia with common shareholders, operates rural air services in Sabah and Sarawak on Borneo.

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