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Wed, Dec 17, 2008 - Page 10 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Tobacco

Firm to scrap plants

Japan Tobacco Inc (JT) plans to axe five overseas plants as part of an overhaul following its acquisition last year of British rival Gallaher Group, a spokeswoman said yesterday. JT will close plants in Singapore, Britain, Austria, Ukraine and the Canary Islands, reducing the total overseas to 26 as part of restructuring that aims to cut costs by US$300 million, spokeswoman Yuka Kin said. She declined to say when the plants would be closed. JT is also considering opening a new plant in Russia due to robust sales there, despite slowing growth in emerging economies due to the global economic downturn, the official said.

■AUTOMOBILES

Isuzu shelves engine plans

Japanese truck maker Isuzu said yesterday it had shelved plans to jointly develop a clean diesel engine with Toyota as the global economic downturn hits the auto industry hard. Isuzu Motors Ltd and Toyota Motor Corp had planned to develop a 1,600cc aluminium-made diesel engine for small Toyota cars to be sold in Europe, but markets there have been engulfed in the global financial crisis. “The two companies agreed on a temporary suspension which was requested by Toyota,” an Isuzu spokesman said. Production of the engine was due to start around 2012.

■TOYS

Mattel to pay authorities

US toy giant Mattel is to pay US$12 million to US authorities over last year’s recall of 2 million Chinese-made toxic toys, US officials said on Monday. The toys, fabricated by Mattel and subsidiary Fisher Price, were found to have traces of lead paint in them. The damage payment will be shared among 39 US states which reached a settlement agreement on Monday with Mattel and Fisher-Price, resolving a 15-month probe into the events that lead to the voluntary recall of the companies’ toys. The consent judgment requires Mattel to make a payment of US$12 million by Jan. 30 to be divided among the participating states, said Martha Coakley, attorney general of Massachusetts, which led the multi-state group investigation and settlement.

■TELECOMS

Firms to launch new service

Canada’s Research in Motion and South Korea’s SK Telecom announced yesterday the launch of corporate service for the Blackberry Bold smart phone, which will be available in South Korea via the country’s biggest local wireless network. The two companies said in a press release that the device was expected to be available on the market by the end of the month. Plans were to target both multinational and domestic companies, it said. The South Korean mobile market is dominated by Samsung Electronics Co and LG Electronics Inc, which also offer smart phones.

■AVIATION

Airline seeks tie-ups

Malaysia Airlines said yesterday it has begun talks with various carriers, including Australia’s Qantas, to form tie-ups including joint ventures as carriers face a tough economic environment. The airline’s managing director and CEO Idris Jala made the latest comments after Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak reportedly said the government was open to a tie-up involving Malaysia Airlines. The government owns more than 90 percent of the national carrier. Last month, the carrier said net profit for the third quarter shrank 90 percent to 38 million ringgit (US$10.7 million), from 364 million ringgit in the same period last year due to higher fuel costs.

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