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Wed, Jun 27, 2007 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ ACCOMMODATION

Partners plan budget hotels

Malaysia's Tune Hotels.com said yesterday it had set up a US$50-million joint venture with the Dubai government and a Singaporean business tycoon to open 30 budget hotels in Southeast Asia. The joint venture will expand the no-frills model of Tune Hotels.com, which was founded by a group of investors including AirAsia chief Tony Fernandes, and aims to open hotels under the Tune Hotels.com brand in popular Southeast Asian destinations over the next 24 months. Offering a bare-bones service and an Internet-based reservations system, the Tune Hotels.com Web site said room rates start from 9.99 Malaysian ringgit (US$2.85) a night excluding taxes.

■ INTERNET

Artprice strikes rights deal

French art auction database Artprice.com said it had struck a ground-breaking agreement on digital rights management paving the way for it to put images online, sending its shares sharply higher. The company said on Monday the agreement with author rights-management group ADAGP would open the way for it to launch a new subscription service in September using a database of 370,000 artists' paintings and other art works. "This is the first time anyone has done a contract like this. It's revolutionary," Artprice chairman and CEO Thierry Ehrmann said. "It shows you can have a digital economy while respecting authors' rights."

■ AVIATION

Boeing lifts list prices

Boeing Co has raised list prices about 5.5 percent for all of its airplanes, including the 787 Dreamliner set to debut next month, to keep up with the costs of labor and materials. The price increase is "generally consistent with the inflation rate for manufactured goods," Boeing spokesman Jim Condelles said. He said rising labor costs were a bigger factor in the price hike than the cost of raw materials.

■ BEVERAGES

Wahaha to sue Danone

China's largest drink maker, Wahaha Group (娃哈哈), confirmed yesterday it intends to sue its French partner Groupe Danone for up to 5 billion euros (US$6.7 billion) for conducting illegal business. "We will countersue Danone, asking for 2 billion to 5 billion euros in damages," the company said in a statement first issued on Monday. It did not specify where or when Hangzhou-based Wahaha would sue the French firm it has partnered with since 1996. Danone and Wahaha are in the midst of a bitter feud in which the French firm has alleged the Chinese drinks giant set up 20 independent companies selling products identical to those sold by the joint venture.

■ SHIPPING

COSCO shares soar on debut

China's flagship shipping firm, COSCO Holding (中國遠洋控股), jumped 83 percent on its trading debut in Shanghai yesterday after raising net proceeds of 14.88 billion yuan (US$1.96 billion). COSCO shares opened at 15.52 yuan on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, in line with broker estimates, against its IPO price of 8.48 yuan. The opening represented a 40-percent premium to Monday's close of its Hong Kong-listed H-shares of H$11.40 (US$1.46). The offering by COSCO attracted strong interest from investors, pulling subscription funds of 1.63 trillion yuan for the offering of 1.784 billion A-shares or 20 percent of its enlarged share capital.

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