■ FROZEN FOODS
General Mills recalls pizzas
US food giant General Mills said on Thursday that it was recalling 414,000 cases of frozen pizzas from supermarkets on concerns they may be contaminated with the E. coli bacteria. The company said the voluntary recall affected Totino's and Jeno's frozen pizzas with pepperoni toppings that were produced at the company's Wellston, Ohio, plant. The problem was uncovered by state and federal authorities investigating 21 occurrences of E. coli-related illnesses in 10 states as of July 20, General Mills said. About half of those who became ill were hospitalized as a result.
EMC hikes China investment
Data storage vendor EMC Corp said on Thursday it would double its investment in China to US$1 billion over the next five years. The announcement expands a US$500 million commitment EMC made in June last year to invest in China through 2012. The additional money will cover expanding research and development operations and sales and services in China, a key market for EMC data storage software and hardware. Joe Tucci, the Hopkinton, Massachusetts-based company's chairman, president and chief executive, announced the increased investment at an event to open a new R&D center in Beijing.
■ REAL ESTATE
US foreclosures soar in Q3
Banks and mortgage firms filed foreclosure notices against 446,726 US homes in the third quarter, almost double the number lodged a year earlier, an industry report showed on Thursday. RealtyTrac, a California-based company that monitors the property market, said foreclosure notices had rocketed 30 percent during the quarter from the prior quarter. "August and September were the two highest monthly foreclosure filing totals we've seen since we began issuing our report in January 2005," RealtyTrac chief executive James Saccacio said.
Petrobras taps into Japan
Brazilian energy giant Petrobras is set to buy an oil refinery in southern Japan as it seeks to tap fast-growing demand for energy in China and other Asian markets, a report said yesterday. The state-run group will purchase a 87.5 percent stake in the refinery from TonenGeneral, a subsidiary of US oil giant ExxonMobil, for several billion yen, the Nikkei Business Daily said. After taking control of the refinery's operator, Nansei Sekiyu, Petrobras will spend ?100 billion (US$880 million) on upgrading the facilities, the paper said without naming its sources. The upgraded plant will likely go into operation in around 2010, the report said.
Hanarotelecom stock soars
Shares of South Korea's No. 2 broadband service provider Hanarotelecom Inc rose as much as 10 percent yesterday on talk that Australia's Macquarie Bank Ltd may become the preferred buyer of a controlling stake in the company. The JoongAng Ilbo daily reported yesterday that Macquarie had offered 12,000 Korean won (US$13.21) a share for a 39 percent stake in Hanarotelecom. In a recent round of bidding, Macquarie outbid other potential buyers offering around 10,000 won a share. Hanarotelecom's largest shareholding group, comprising American International Group, TPG Capital and TVG Capital Partners, wanted 14,000 won a share.