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Tue, Jul 10, 2007 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ ELECTRONICS

Toshiba in chip sales boost

Japanese electronics maker Toshiba Corp plans to boost the value of its chip sales by two-thirds by the financial year ending March 2011, it said yesterday. The company aims to raise its chip sales to ¥2 trillion (US$16.2 billion) from sales of ¥1.2 trillion last fiscal year by selling more NAND flash memory chips, a Toshiba spokesman said. Demand for the NAND chips, used in cell phones, personal computers, digital cameras and MP3 players, is growing. Toshiba said, to help it achieve the ¥2 trillion sales target, it would raise its monthly capacity at its NAND chip plant in Yokkaichi, Mie prefecture, to 150,000 300mm wafers by September.

■ BANKING

HSBC raises Vietnam stake

Global banking giant HSBC said it has received approval from the State Bank of Vietnam to increase its stake in a Vietnamese bank in a deal worth US$33.7 million. HSBC has raised its shareholding in Vietnam Technological and Commercial Joint-Stock Bank (Techcombank) to 15 percent from 10 percent. The deal came after Vietnam passed a decree in April to allow foreign banks to own 15 percent of a domestic commercial bank, which may be increased further to 20 percent after approval from the government.

■ MARKETS

Sensex predicted to soar

India's Sensex will reach 16,000 this year, the upper end of a projected range, as earnings climb and concerns about rising interest and inflation rates ease, Citigroup Inc said. The brokerage estimated the Bombay Stock Exchange's 30-stock Sensitive Index, or Sensex, would trade between 14,700 and 16,000 points by December. The index rose to an intraday record of 15,075.30 yesterday, surpassing the high set on Friday. Citigroup expects the index to trade between 17,500 and 18,400 points by December next year, the brokerage said.

■ FOREX

Plan to cut Thai rate gap

The Bank of Thailand will allow overseas investors to renew their baht swap contracts with domestic banks as part of an attempt to reduce the gap in the currency's exchange rate in offshore and onshore markets. Overseas investors can buy the swap contracts to cover the exchange rate risk of their investments if those assets were bought before the imposition of capital controls in December, Suchart Sakkankosone, the bank's exchange control director, said yesterday.

■ TELECOMS

Vodafone opens Hanoi office

Vodafone Group PLC, the world's largest mobile phone company, opened an office in Hanoi last month as it seeks opportunities ahead of the possible sale of Vietnamese government-owned wireless operators. "We set up an office in Hanoi last month to monitor the situation," said Ben Padovan, a spokesman for the Newbury, England-based Vodafone. Vietnam has "growth" opportunities in the wireless market. Under chief executive Arun Sarin, Vodafone has focused on acquisitions and partnerships in emerging markets. The company completed its purchase of a controlling stake in India's Hutchison Essar Ltd in May for US$10.7 billion. Growth in western Europe has slowed as most people there now have mobile phones. "Ahead of the anticipated equitization of local GSM mobile network operators, Vodafone has opened a representative office in Vietnam to learn more about the market," Padovan said.

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