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Mon, Sep 03, 2007 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take



Government mulls tax raise

Finance Minister Fukushiro Nukaga said he wants the government to begin debates "this fall" on whether to raise the consumption tax. He also wants to discuss possible increases in the government's share of contributions to the state pension program to a half from the current one-third by 2009, Nukaga said yesterday on Asahi TV's Sunday Project program. Regarding recent turmoil in global financial markets caused by subprime issues, Nukaga said, "some calm has been restored," adding that it will take time for the problem to fully subside.


Cross-shareholding ratio up

The ratio of cross-shareholdings among listed companies rose in the last fiscal year, the first gain since the beginning of the 1990s, the Japan Times newspaper reported, citing Kyodo news agency. The combined market value of shares of listed companies owned by other listed companies rose 0.9 percentage point to about ¥65 trillion (US$561 billion) last year, a survey by Nomura Securities Co showed. This accounted for 12 percent of the total market value of listed companies. Data showed cross-shareholdings is expanding as local companies move to fend off a wave of takeover bids from foreign capital and shareholder activism by overseas funds, the report said.


Private sector seeks oil

Beijing is considering a request from private oil companies for a guaranteed supply of between 10 million tonnes and 20 million tonnes of fuel annually, to alleviate shortages. As much as 80 percent of private fuel storage facilities are now empty, Zhao Youshan, head of the Petroleum Distribution Committee of China's General Chamber of Commerce, said yesterday. The proposal would ensure that between 5 percent and 10 percent of the nation's total fuel supply went to private companies, Zhao said. The country's two largest oil refiners have stopped supplying fuel to most private gas stations because of tight production.


Sony makes unit IPO

Sony Corp will raise ?300 billion (US$2.6 billion) through an initial public offering of its financial unit on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's first section early next month, the Nikkei Shimbun said. The sale of shares in Sony Financial Holdings Inc, which comprises life and casualty insurers and an online bank, would be Japan's largest IPO this year, the Nikkei reported, without saying where it obtained the information. Sony will sell about a 30 percent stake in Sony Financial through existing shares and also offer an unspecified number of new shares. It will use the funds to strengthen its electronics division, the newspaper said.


Gulf states discuss FTA

Pro-Western Gulf Arab monarchies have agreed to an Iranian offer to launch talks on a possible free-trade pact, the secretary general of their oil-rich bloc said on Saturday. Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) foreign ministers meeting in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah discussed a letter from their Iranian counterpart "regarding Iran's readiness to reach a free trade agreement with GCC member states," Abdurrahman al-Attiyah told reporters after their meeting.

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