Rio Tinto to cut production
Rio Tinto Ltd said yesterday it would cut production and jobs at an Australian diamond mine because of the global economic downturn. Underground expansion work at the Argyle Diamonds mine in the state of Western Australia would be “slowed to only critical development activities,” the company said in a statement. “Given global market conditions, we will also reduce diamond production by taking an extended maintenance shutdown of the diamond processing facilities for up to three months, commencing in March,” Argyle Diamonds chief operating officer Kevin McLeish said in the statement.
Oracle cut 500 jobs: report
Oracle Corp eliminated about 500 jobs in its North American sales and consulting businesses last Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The Redwood Shores, California, software maker had 33,526 employees in the Americas at the end of November and 86,657 worldwide, the report said. An Oracle spokeswoman declined to comment, the paper said.
RBS sells PRC bank stake
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) sold its entire stake in Bank of China (中國銀行), the third-largest lender in China, for nearly US$2.37 billion, joining a recent string of investors who have cut their holdings in Chinese banks. RBS sold its 4.3 percent stake, about 10.8 billion shares, in the Bank of China for HK$1.71 per share, representing as 7.6 percent discount over Tuesday’s closing price, a person familiar with the matter said.
Satyam names new auditors
India’s fraud-hit Satyam Computer Services Ltd named new auditors yesterday, the first step by the government-appointed board as the company battles for survival after unveiling the country’s biggest corporate scandal. KPMG and Deloitte were appointed as the auditors, said Deepak Parekh, a senior Indian banker and part of the outsourcer’s new three-member board. Satyam’s founder and chairman Ramalinga Raju quit last week and confessed the company’s profits had been falsely inflated for years. The new audit firms replace PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Bank of Thailand cuts rate
Thailand’s central bank cut its interest rate more than economists expected for a second month after inflation cooled to the slowest pace in six years and political protests sent confidence to a record low. The Bank of Thailand lowered its one-day bond repurchase rate by three-quarters of a percentage point to 2.00 percent. “We still have lots of ammunition,” Duangmanee Vongpradhip, a Bank of Thailand assistant governor, told a press briefing. “Domestic demand continued to soften, both in consumption and investment, partly as a result of fragile sentiment. We can be less aggressive now as we see fiscal measures in place.”
China overtakes Germany
China’s economy overtook Germany’s in 2007 to become the world’s third largest, underscoring the nation’s increasing economic and political clout. Its GDP expanded 13 percent from a year earlier, more than a previous estimate of 11.9 percent, to 25.731 trillion yuan (US$3.38 trillion), the statistics bureau said on its Web site yesterday. That topped Germany’s 2.424 trillion euros (US$3.32 trillion), using average exchange rates for 2007.