G7 renews push for Doha
Finance ministers and central bank chiefs of the G7 leading industrial countries said on Saturday they supported resumption of stalled Doha trade talks aimed at tearing down barriers to global trade. "We remain committed to resisting protectionist sentiment and fully support the re-launch of the Doha trade negotiations announced in Geneva," the world finance chiefs said in a final communique issued at the end of their two-day summit in Essen, Germany. "We firmly believe that all participants have the responsibility to ensure a successful outcome of the Doha round as it will enhance global growth and contribute to poverty reduction," the G7 statement said.
Greece targets tax evaders
Short of funds for social spending, Greece is putting the squeeze on a vast army of tax evaders -- believed to run in the millions -- to bring in the necessary cash. The chosen method was through a "guilty conscience" campaign to root out a decades-old mentality that sees dodging the taxman as an admirable feat of skill. The exact size of Greece's black market economy is unknown. But a 2001 study by the Greek foundation for economic and industrial research placed it at over 35 percent of GDP, worth close to 44 billion euros (US$57.2 billion). The study also found that 50 percent of Greeks would not declare their full income if they thought they could get away with it.
Hindalco to acquire Novelis
Hindalco Industries Ltd, India's biggest producer of non-ferrous metals, plans to acquire Novelis Inc, a Canada-based aluminum-sheet maker for as much as US$6 billion, company spokeswoman Pragnya Ram said yesterday in Mumbai. Indian companies have been expanding overseas to tap mature industrial markets. Tata Steel last month succeeded in its US$12 billion bid to acquire Corus Group Plc, the biggest British steelmaker, outbidding Cia. Siderurgica Nacional SA of Brazil. Hindalco's parent, the Aditya Birla Group, has interests in telecommunications, cement, metals, textiles and financial services.
LG.Philips boosts production
LG.Philips LCD Co, the world's second-largest liquid-crystal-display maker, said it will boost production capacity of the flat panels by 22 percent to meet rising demand. The Seoul-based company will increase the monthly production capacity at its factory in Paju, north of Seoul, to 110,000 glass substrates by the third quarter from the current 90,000. LG.Philips' so-called seventh-generation plant in Paju is designed to manufacture 42-inch and 47-inch screens. Each glass plate used in the factory can make eight 42-inch panels or six 47-inch screens.
Macao tough for competition
Macau gaming billionaire Stanley Ho (何鴻燊) said his company had a 63 percent share of the city's casino market last year and it will take "a lot of time" before the new entrants are fully competitive. Speaking at the opening of the 40-story Grand Lisboa casino, Ho said the market share of Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macau, which for 40 years had a monopoly on gaming in the former Portuguese colony, was based on last year's gaming tax revenue. Ho said he was confident the proposed HK$15 billion (US$1.9 billion) listing in Hong Kong of Sociedade de Turismo's casino-operating unit will go ahead this year.