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Fri, Feb 02, 2007 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Electronics
Matsushita profits up

Matsushita Electric reported a 60 percent jump in profit for the latest quarter yesterday, as solid demand for its flat-panel TVs and digital cameras offset pressures from plunging electronics prices. The company that makes Panasonic brand products also raised its profit and sales forecasts for the full fiscal year through March. Matsushita's group net profit during the October-December quarter came to ¥78.7 billion (US$651 million), up dramatically from ¥49.3 billion the same period a year ago. Quarterly sales edged up 2 percent to ¥2.44 trillion from ¥2.40 trillion. Electronics companies Toshiba Corp and Sharp Corp also reported higher profits for the latest quarter this week.

■ Litigation

Coke trial criticized

The trial of former Coca-Cola Co administrative assistant Joya Williams, who is accused of trying to sell company secrets to rival Pepsi Co, was slammed on Wednesday as a cynical marketing ploy, as the jury met to consider its verdict. Williams, 41, faces up to 10 years in jail if convicted. But defense lawyer Janice Singer told the jury that Coca-Cola had done everything it could to push for a trial, dubbing the campaign against Williams as "Have a Cloak and a Smile," raising smirks with her take on the company's advertising slogan "Have a Coke and a Smile." "Marketing is Coke's business," Singer added.

■ Property

China's market to stagnate

China's property market is likely to stagnate over the next two years as supply far outstrips demand, state media said yesterday, citing research from the nation's top economic planning agency. Property investment will still grow by more than 20 percent this year but there will be fewer buyers, the National Development and Reform Commission said in a report carried by the China Securities Journal. The commission said demand for housing would weaken in this year, meaning industry growth would not reach 10 percent, and decline further over the next two years.

■ Oil

New petrochemical plant

China Chemical Petroleum Corp (Sinopec), the country's largest refiner, and energy giant Exxon Mobil have won approval for a US$490 million petrochemical plant, the Chinese government said yesterday. "The project has been approved," an official from the National Development and Regulatory Commission, China's top planning agency, told reporters. The official, who declined to be named, said the 700,000-tonne dimethylbenzene plant, a petroleum-based solvent used in the printing, rubber and leather industries, was part of the Fujian Integrated Project.

■ Markets

Tokyo SE in Chicago talks

Tokyo Stock Exchange president Taizo Nishimuro was in Chicago yesterday, a spokeswoman said, following reports of a possible tie-up with the top US futures and derivatives market which is based there. A day after unveiling a strategic alliance with the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Nishimuro was due to start talks with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) on a plan proposed by the US exchange, the Nikkei business daily reported. The report said, without naming any sources, that the CME's proposal would include the mutual listing of futures, options and other derivatives.

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