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Tue, Oct 23, 2007 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ MERGERS

Kirin Pharma makes bid

Major Japanese brewer Kirin, seeking to compensate for slack growth in beer sales, announced yesterday a US$1.48 billion friendly bid for pharmaceutical firm Kyowa Hakko Kogyo. Kirin Holdings Co hopes to merge its Kirin Pharma next year with Kyowa Hakko Kogyo Co, which has agreed to the offer. Kirin Holdings plans to take over 50.1 percent of Kyowa Hakko's outstanding shares through public bidding and swapping Kirin Pharma with Kyowa Hakko shares, the companies said in a joint statement. Kyowa Hakko will become a consolidated subsidiary of Kirin Holdings in April.

■ AUTOMOBILES

Bridgestone to invest

Japan's Bridgestone said yesterday it would invest US$11 billion over five years to boost production in a battle against France's Michelin to become the world's undisputed top tire-maker. It said it would spend a total of ?1.25 trillion covering the five years from next April, up 14 percent from the preceding five years. Bridgestone plans to put new factories into operation in Mexico, Poland, Hungary and Japan and to expand existing plants in India and Indonesia. "Our goal is to establish the status of being the undisputed world number one tire and rubber company," chief executive and president Shoshi Arakawa said.

■ ENERGY

Bhopal settlement likely

India could reach an out-of-court settlement with US giant Dow Chemical to clean up the Bhopal gas disaster site and end liability claims after more than two decades, a report said yesterday. India's law ministry said the move would clear "legal hurdles" to future Dow Chemical investments in India by setting up a fund to clean up thousands of tonnes of contaminated soil along with other measures to resolve long-running lawsuits linked to the disaster, the Hindustan Times newspaper reported. Thousands of people were killed on Dec. 3, 1984, when a then Union Carbide plant at Bhopal in central India disgorged 40 tonnes of a lethal gas.

■ ECONOMY

Greenspan on subprime

The financial turmoil that erupted earlier this year in the US subprime housing market was "an accident waiting to happen" and could have taken place in any other sector, former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan said in Washington on Sunday. "Credit spreads across all global asset classes had become compressed to clearly unsustainable levels," Greenspan told an audience at the World Bank's International Finance Corporation. "Something had to give. If the crisis had not been triggered by a mispricing of securitized US subprime [high-risk] mortgages, it would have eventually erupted in some other sector of our market," he said.

■ STEEL

Orissa investment still on

South Korean steel giant POSCO remains committed to its US$12 billion investment plan in India despite protests by local residents and politicians, company officials said yesterday. POSCO's plan to buid a steel production hub in India's eastern state of Orissa -- the biggest foreign direct investment in the country -- has hit a snag due to protests from locals afraid of losing their land. "We are not considering relocating the proposed steel plant," said Yeon Kyung-heum, an official at POSCO's public relations office.

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