Brazil, Peru sign accords
Brazil and Peru have agreed to work together to boost production of biofuels, hydroelectric power and petrochemicals as two of the region’s biggest countries seek to ensure future energy supply. A statement from Peru’s presidency says the neighbors will support biofuels and hydropower. Brazil is the world’s largest ethanol exporter. Companies including US-owned Maple Energy already plan to produce ethanol from sugarcane grown and distilled on Peru’s Pacific coast.
Sharp joins solar deal
Japanese electronics maker Sharp Corp has agreed with Enel SpA to jointly set up solar power plants in Italy, a newspaper said yesterday. Sharp, one of the world’s largest makers of solar power panels, and the second largest power company in Europe plan to begin operation by 2011, the Nikkei Shimbun business daily said. The solar power plants will have a combined output capacity of more than 160 megawatts, which will be one of the world’s largest solar power operations, the newspaper said. The two firms are also considering building a plant in Italy to produce thin-film solar cell panels. The tie-up with Enel is Sharp’s first step to a further expansion in its solar power operation overseas. By building overseas plants, Sharp aims to raise its annual production capacity for solar cell panels to 6,000 megawatts from the current 710 megawatts. Sharp is stepping up efforts to boost its clean energy business by gaining a foothold in Europe, where the governments provide subsidies to buy solar power at high prices, Nikkei reported.
Ecuador hopes for buy out
Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa says Quito wants to buy out private oil companies unwilling to negotiate new deals with his government. Correa has asked companies now suing over an October decree that slashed their share of windfall oil profits to 1 percent to drop their lawsuits. The government on Friday offered to boost those companies’ share of soaring windfall profits to 30 percent. If companies aren’t happy with that offer, Correa says his government will buy their assets at “a fair price.”
Mahathir warns Johor
Wealthy Singaporean investors may force ethnic Malays from a Malaysian state that is being touted as a key economic zone, former premier Mahathir Mohamad has said. The government launched an ambitious project in 2006 to transform the idyllic southern Johor State into a metropolis to woo foreign investment and compete with Singapore for manufacturing and logistics businesses. Mahathir said the 17.7 billion ringgit (US$4.8 billion) Iskandar Malaysia project was aimed at luring Singaporean investors and could see Malays forced out. “After the land is sold, the Malays will be driven to live at the edge of the forest and even in the forest itself,” Mahathir said in a weekend speech in Johor, the Star newspaper reported.
Doha Bank receives bids
Doha Bank Ltd, Qatar’s fifth-biggest lender by market value, said it received bids for five times the stock it offered investors in a share sale to raise money for expansion. Shareholders placed bids worth 5.55 billion riyals (US$1.53 billion) for the 22.5 million shares offered to raise 1.12 billion riyals, Doha Bank said in a filing to Qatar’s stock market yesterday.