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Wed, Jan 17, 2007 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take


■ Finance
Banking recovery fragile

The head of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Japan's No. 3 megabank, described the country's banking sector as fresh "from the hospital" yesterday and warned that its short-term recovery may still be hindered by the privatization of Japan's postal savings system and an imminent rise in interest rates. Sumitomo Mitsui president Teisuke Kitayama said during a Tokyo news conference that a widely expected increase in interest rates was likely to squeeze short-term profits at banks and the impending privatization of Japan Post would pose tough compe-tition to mid-sized regional lenders.

■ Gaming

Sony meets PS3 sales target

Shipments in Japan of the new PlayStation 3 videogame consoles reached 1 million yesterday, Sony said, hitting the company's target about two weeks behind schedule. Sony had planned to ship 2 million PlayStation 3 consoles around the world by the end of last year. Last week, Tokyo-based Sony Corp said it met its shipping target of 1 million PS3 consoles in the US last year. It projected shipping another million in Japan during the same period. In a press release yesterday, the company said that global shipment of 2 million reached within about two months after a machine's launch was the fastest pace for any game console ever put out by the company.

■ Electronics

LCD maker reports losses

LG.Philips LCD Co, a major maker of liquid-crystal-displays (LCD) used in flat screen TVs and computers, reported yesterday its third straight quarterly loss amid a decline in TV panel prices and high inventory costs. The Seoul-based company said it lost 174 billion won (US$186 million) in the three months ending Dec. 31, compared with a profit of 328 billion won in the same period the year before. Sales increased 3.4 percent year-on-year to 3.1 trillion won. "We expect to reduce costs by 25 percent to 30 percent this year," chief financial officer Ron Wirahadiraksa said in a statement.

■ Banking

Citigroup seeks new name

Executives at financial giant Citigroup Inc are preparing to rebrand the company with a shorter name -- ``Citi'' -- and a new logo without the signature red umbrella, a report said. The new name and look will be presented to Citigroup's board this week following a 14-month review of the bank's brand, the New York Times reported on Monday, citing several executives close to the process. The plan could still undergo changes before a rollout that could begin as early as next month, the report said.

■ Mobile phones

New partnership formed

Singapore Technologies Telemedia, wholly owned by state-linked investment firm Temasek Holdings, has partnered with Qatar Telecom to scout for mobile business prospects in Asia, the company said on Monday. Under the deal, Qatar Telecom will invest up to US$635 million in cash for a 25 percent stake in Asia Mobile Holdings, owned by Singapore Technologies Telemedia. The Singapore firm will retain a majority stake of 75 percent in Asia Mobile holdings which will be the two partners' "preferred vehicle for future mobile telecoms investments" in the Asia Pacific region, a statement said. Qatar Telecom said the partnership allows it an immediate entry into Singapore and Indonesia.

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