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World Business Quick Take



Panasonic to build plant

Panasonic Corp said yesterday it planned to build a new factory at a cost of more than US$900 million to produce image sensors to meet growing demand for digital cameras and medical goods. Image sensors turn pictures into electrical form, making them a key component for cameras, scanners and other devices. Panasonic said it would build the new factory next to its existing plant for image sensors in central-western Toyama prefecture. The company will spend ¥94 billion (US$922 million) on the new 11,000m2 facility. It did not specify when it would be operational.


Aquascutum may be for sale

Japanese apparel company Renown Inc indicated yesterday it was open to selling Aquascutum, the London-based suit maker to the aristocracy, as it fails to turn a profit. Founded in 1851, Aquascutum boasts of dressing some of Britain’s most powerful names in politics and show business and has enjoyed royal warrants to sell outfits to Britain’s royal family. But the pricey label has failed to turn a profit for four straight years. Japanese news reports said that Renown was looking to sell the company, which it bought in 1990 in ill-fated hopes that it would become the Tokyo-based firm’s core operation. “We are engaged in a comprehensive consideration of the issue,” Renown said in a brief statement on the reports. “There is no decision yet on the matter.”


Tata finds new plant site

Tata Group has found a new home for its project to build the world’s cheapest car after violent protests forced it to abandon its factory in West Bengal, reports said yesterday. With numerous states around the country vying to host the plant, Tata has chosen a site near Ahmedabad, capital of Gujarat, television reports said, citing company officials. Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata was expected to announce the move at a press conference with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.


eBay to cut workforce

Internet giant eBay Inc, which has seen sluggish growth in its online auction business, announced on Monday it was cutting its global workforce by about 10 percent. In a statement released by its San Jose, California headquarters, eBay said it was cutting 1,000 permanent employees and several hundred temporary workers in a bid to streamline its organization. Separately, it announced it was purchasing online payment service Bill Me Later — a rival to its market-leading PayPal — for US$820 million in cash and US$125 million in employee options. In addition, it said it was acquiring Denmark’s leading online classifieds site Den Bla Avis and vehicles site BilBasen for US$390 million in cash.


Chartered unfazed by AMD

Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Ltd, which counted Advanced Micro Devices Inc (AMD) as its second-largest customer last year, said it sees “minimal impact” from the US chipmaker’s plans to spin off its manufacturing plants. “The level of business that we’ve been doing with AMD isn’t on the same level as in 2007,” Lim Li Chuen, Chartered’s Singapore-based spokeswoman, said yesterday. “Whatever they’ve announced, it’s of minimal impact to our business, if any.” AMD said it plans to spin off its plants to form Foundry Co, which will make computer processors for AMD and seek contracts from other companies.

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