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Sat, Feb 03, 2007 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Banking
HSBC screened `bad' cash

HSBC, one of the world's biggest banks, helped screen large deposits of cash from North Korean customers for a Macau bank accused by the US of helping Pyongyang distribute counterfeit money, a lawyer for the Macau bank has told US investigators. "We take money laundering control very seriously. We comply stringently with anti-money-laundering regulations issued by our various regulators, including in the US," HSBC spokesman Gareth Hewett in Hong Kong said. The Macau lender, Banco Delta Asia, said it was a "small, family-owned institution" that didn't have the technology to check big batches of US currency for fake bills.

■ Technology

Hynix CEO to resign

Hynix Semiconductor's chief executive, who helped lead the South Korean chipmaker out of a major debt crisis, plans to resign, a company official said yesterday. Woo Eui-jei, 63, told a board meeting on Monday of his intention to step down, said James Kim, a Hynix investor relations official. A new CEO was expected to be named and approved by the company's board and shareholders by the end of next month, Kim said, emphasizing that Woo's decision was entirely his own. News of the resignation came as the Icheon, South Korea-based company said on Wednesday its net profit and sales hit all-time highs in the fourth quarter.

■ Banking

Bank plans Vietnam deal

Deutsche Bank plans to buy up to 20 percent of Vietnam's Habubank, pending state approval, becoming the third foreign bank in a week to announce plans to increase its presence here, officials said yesterday. If the contract is approved, Deutsche Bank will become the largest shareholder in the Ha Noi Building Joint Stock Commercial Bank and be entitled to join its board of directors. No financial terms of the deal were disclosed. The banks will cooperate in the areas of credit cards, wealthy clients and the development and distribution of investment products.

■ Internet

Amazon profits plummet

Online retailer Amazon reported on Thursday that its profits plummeted in the year-end quarter of last year despite record holiday-season sales. Amazon's net income for its fourth fiscal quarter was US$98 million, or US$0.23 per share, as compared with US$199 million, or US$0.47 per share, during the same period in 2005. Executives said that the loss of a tax benefit resulted in the government taking a bigger chunk of its revenues last year. The Seattle, Washington-based Internet company had also continued spending money on its strategy of diversifying stocks of goods and wooing devotees with free shipping of purchases by members of its subscription Amazon Prime service.

■ Steel

Union seeks Tata assurance

Britain's largest steel trade union has demanded a meeting with Indian tycoon Ratan Tata, seeking assurances he will remain committed to expanding Corus Group Plc after his winning US$13.7 billion bid for the Anglo-Dutch steelmaker. Community, which describes itself as the dominant union in Corus representing 80 percent of its UK employees, also sought British government backing for the steel industry's attempt to ward off "accelerated or slow demise" and protect jobs.

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