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Tue, Feb 06, 2007 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take


■ Real estate
Swiss Re sells London office

Swiss Re said yesterday it had sold its City of London office building known as the "Gherkin" for ?600 million (US$1.18 billion) to an affiliate of real-estate corporation IVG Immobilien AG. The reinsurer would make a book gain of approximately ?250 million on the deal, a spokeswoman said. Half of the gain would be booked in this year's income statement, the spokeswoman said. The other half would be booked over a period of 20 years. IVG says Swiss Re would remain a tenant at least until 2031, occupying 50 percent of the property's rentable space. The transaction was expected to close this month.

■ Electronic

Nikon posts glowing profits

Nikon Corp said yesterday its group net profit jumped nearly 60 percent for the third quarter of the fiscal year ending in March on brisk sales of digital cameras and imaging devices. The maker of cameras and precision equipment posted a net profit of ?23.0 billion (US$190 million) in the October to December period, up from ?14.5 billion the same quarter a year earlier. The jump in profits came on a 21 percent rise in sales to ?234.3 billion for the third quarter, up from ?192.9 billion a year earlier. The Tokyo-based Nikon said its earnings rose as its two main divisions -- imaging devices and precision equipment -- posted brisk sales.

■ Aviation

Prague airport for sale

Several international companies are eyeing the possible purchase of Prague airport for a price that could reach US$3 billion, yesterday's edition of the Czech weekly Tyden reported. Tyden said that the privatization of the Prague-Ruzyne airport had attracted the interest of Hochtief Airport, a subsidiary of Hochtief, the leader in the German building industry; another German firm Fraport, which runs Frankfurt airport; the Australian Macquarie Bank; Czech investment group PPF and Slovakian investors Penta and JT.

■ Telcos

SingTel forms alliance

Southeast Asia's largest telecom company Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) said yesterday it had entered an alliance with Globe Wireless of the US to resell SingTel's services to the maritime industry. Globe Wireless is based in Florida and has a customer base of over 400 ship operators with a fleet of more than 5,500 ships, SingTel said in a statement. "Through SingTel's powerful integrated fixed and mobile satellite operations, Globe Wireless has found an experienced and reliable satellite operator in us who will supply airtime to run its suite of communications solutions," said Titus Yong, head of satellite at SingTel.

■ Pharmaceuticals

Pfizer loses round one

US drug maker Pfizer Inc has lost a round in its legal battles with Chinese rivals over rights to names for its popular anti-impotence drug Viagra, a court employee said yesterday. Pfizer and local drug makers were struggling over the Chinese patent and names for its "little blue pill." In the latest case, a Beijing court rejected Pfizer's request to block a Chinese drug company from using the name "Wei Ge" for one of its products. Pfizer said "Wei Ge," or "Mighty Brother," was a name used by many Chinese to describe Viagra, making it improper for another company to use the name.

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