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Thu, Oct 11, 2007 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ SOLAR ENERGY

Polysilicon glut expected

Solarworld AG CEO Frank Asbeck expects a polysilicon "glut" in 2010 that will cut costs for Germany's second-largest solar company. The price of polysilicon used in solar panels will probably drop to less than US$40 per kilogram, from as high as US$200 this year, Asbeck said yesterday in an interview. Prices may reach US$20 in the next several years as global production climbs to 100,000 tonnes in 2010, from 35,000 tonnes now, he said. "Silicon was never scarce, just the refining capacity, and that will be solved in 2010," Asbeck said. "We expect to see a silicon glut in 2010, and then the prices will fall."

■ MEDIA

Probe not an issue: Reuters

Reuters chief executive Tom Glocer said yesterday he did not expect a probe by EU antitrust regulators to scuttle a takeover of the British news and data provider by Canadian group Thomson Corp. "We expected it would take us into the first quarter next year" for Thomson to complete the takeover, he told reporters during a visit to Tokyo. After an initial review of the deal, the European Commission said on Monday it was launching an in-depth probe running until the end of February to determine if the planned merger represented a threat to competition in Europe.

■ JAPAN

Firms broke overtime rules

A record number of Japanese firms have been ordered to compensate workers for unpaid overtime despite a recovery in the world's second-largest economy, officials said yesterday. The number of companies that paid overtime after being faulted by labor inspectors on unannounced visits rose 10 percent in the last fiscal year to the highest since the statistics were first compiled in 2001. The labor ministry said it ordered 1,679 firms to pay a total of ¥22.7 billion (US$194 million) to 182,561 workers in the year ended in March. The average payout per person came to ?120,000, a ministry survey said.

■ MINERALS

EU punishes dumping

The EU has imposed five-year tariffs as high as 71.8 percent on industrial salts from the US, China and Taiwan, targeting exporters including DuPont Co to protect German firms. The duties punish US, Chinese and Taiwanese exporters of peroxosulfates, used to treat water and metals, for selling in Europe below domestic prices or production costs, a practice known as dumping. The levies, which are 10.6 percent against DuPont and 39 percent against FMC Corp and any other US exporters, follow provisional duties imposed six months ago. The duties are 22.6 percent against Taiwan and as much as 71.8 percent against China.

■ SOFTWARE

Google buys startup Jaiku

Internet search leader Google Inc said on Tuesday that it has bought Finnish startup Jaiku, which makes a mobile phone application people can use to send short messages about where they are and what they are doing. Google believes Jaiku's technology can help develop new ways to use mobile devices, according to a note posted on Tuesday on Google's blog by product manager Tony Hsieh. Founded last year in Helsinki, Jaiku specializes in software that makes it easier to share updates about one's whereabouts and thoughts via mobile phones. The concept is known as "microblogging."

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