Worst over, Paulson says
The credit crisis that has scorched international financial markets is on the wane but more shocks are ahead, US Secretary Treasury Henry Paulson told the Wall Street Journal in an interview published yesterday. “The worst is likely to be behind us,” Paulson told the paper, in one of the most optimistic comments by a top US finance official since subprime mortgage losses set a domino effect in motion in the middle of last year. Paulson said it would take “some months longer” for the situation to stabilize and cautioned there would likely be further “bumps along the road.” But, he said, “there’s no doubt that things feel better today, by a lot, than they did in March.”
Hynix upbeat on sales
South Korea’s Hynix Semiconductor Inc said yesterday it expected to sell more dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips in Japan after a WTO ruling. An arbitrator for the WTO said on Monday that Japan has until Sept 1 to amend the import charges it imposes on DRAM chips made by Hynix. “With the WTO decision, we expect our exports to Japan to return to the levels seen before the Japanese authorities imposed punitive duties on our products,” Hynix spokesman Park Seong-ae said. After Japan imposed countervailing duties on Hynix products, the firm saw its share of the Japanese market fall to about 13 percent in 2006 from about 16 percent earlier.
Airbus, Latecoere talks fail
European plane maker Airbus has ended talks with French aerospace company Latecoere over the sale of two French plants. Airbus parent company EADS said that plans to sell the sites fell through because of time constraints and largely because of “the current difficult financial environment.” EADS said yesterday it was sticking to other divestment plans and was working toward the sale of sites in Filton, England, and Laupheim, Germany, in the coming weeks. Latecoere is a top supplier for Airbus and was chosen in December as “a preferential partner” to buy the two factories in Meaulte in the northern Somme region and the Atlantic coast town of Saint-Nazaire. The sales had been planned as part of Airbus’ “Power 8” cost-cutting program.
Toshiba teams up with JSW
Japan’s Toshiba Corp said yesterday it had agreed to tie up with India’s JSW Group to manufacture and market steam turbines and generators for thermal power plants in India. Toshiba and JSW, which is part of the O.P. Jindal Group, plan to invest about US$250 million in plant and manufacturing equipment for the joint venture, which will be owned 75 percent by Toshiba and 25 percent by JSW. Manufacturing operations are expected to start in September next year, the Japanese firm said.
EU may split power firms
A key panel at the European Parliament voted late on Tuesday in favor of requiring power companies to split their generation businesses from their transmission networks. Lawmakers on the parliament’s industry committee rejected a French and German-backed proposal that would have watered down EU plans to boost competition with an alternative to requiring power firms to break up. The full parliament is scheduled to vote on the plans in a June 16 to June 19 plenary session in Strasbourg, while EU energy ministers, who are deeply divided on the package, are struggling to reach an agreement next month.