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Fri, Apr 20, 2007 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ ECONOMY

China's growth picks up

China's economy picked up speed in the first quarter, growing 11.1 percent compared with the same period a year earlier, the government said yesterday. Growth in the world's fourth-largest economy reached 10.7 percent last year and ran at 10.4 percent in the three months to December. The government has set a growth target of 8 percent for this year as a whole. The National Bureau of Statistics said the main measure of inflation, the consumer price index (CPI), rose 2.7 percent in the first quarter of this year from a year earlier. CPI in March alone was up 3.3 percent, suggesting a pick up in price pressures.

■ TELECOMS

US iPhone launch in June

The iPhone, Apple Inc's first mobile handset, is on schedule to hit the US market at the end of June, a senior executive with AT&T Inc said on Wednesday. The firm's wireless unit has an exclusive US deal to sell the highly anticipated new handset. "Our expectations are good. Our testing has been good," said AT&T chief operating officer Randall Stephenson. "The iPhone is on target to launch in June." There had been speculation on some blogs and reports that the iPhone could be delayed due to technical issues. Stephenson said more than 1 million customers have said that they would like to buy one of the phones when they're available for purchase.

■ METALs

Essar buys Minnesota Steel

India's Essar Global announced it would acquire US-based Minnesota Steel for an undisclosed amount in its second takeover of a North American firm this week. Minnesota Steel plans to set up a steel plant with an annual capactiy of 2.5 million tonnes when completed at an estimated cost of US$1.65 billion, the companies said in a joint statement on Wednesday. Construction is expected to begin in the third quarter. Essar said on Monday that it would buy Canadian steelmaker Algoma for US$1.58 billion to tap business opportunities in North America. Essar Global has interests in steel, oil, communications, shipping and construction.

■ ELECTRONICS

LG goes into the red

South Korea's LG Electronics Inc announced yesterday it swung to a loss during the first quarter to March amid sluggish display sales. The country's second largest electronics company posted a net loss of 122.6 billion won (US$132 million) during the period compared with a profit of 150.8 billion won in the first quarter of last year. Sales rose four percent year-on-year to 6.03 trillion won but operating profit dropped 9.3 percent year-on-year to 172.9 billion won, the firm said. The company attributed the quarterly loss to seasonally weak demand for flat display panels for TVs or computer monitors.

■ TELECOMS

Motorola posts loss

Motorola Inc posted its first quarterly loss since 2004 on Wednesday as dismal sales continued to vex the struggling mobile phone maker. Worse still, the company said its misfortunes would continue through the second quarter. Blaming disappointing sales of mobile phones, as well as expenses to cover a legal settlement, restructuring efforts and an acquisition, the telecommunications equipment maker said it lost US$181 million, or US$0.08 per share, in the first three months of this year. That compares with a profit of US$686 million, or US$0.27 per share, during the same period a year earlier.

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