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Fri, Mar 27, 2009 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■PHARMACEUTICALS

Roche acquires Genentech

Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche said yesterday it had completed its US$46.8 billion takeover of US-based biotech firm Genentech. Roche, which already held 55.7 percent of Genentech stock, said it acquired a further 37.5 percent of shares by the offer deadline on Wednesday. Roche said it had been guaranteed the transfer of a further 3 percent of Genentech shares in the coming days, taking its total holding to 96.2 percent and allowing the two companies to undergo a short-form merger.

■COMPUTERS

Dell targets PRC farmers

Dell Inc will sell PCs to China’s farmers, seeking to boost sales from a potential market of 800 million rural residents as the global recession weakens demand. Dell has 15 computer products it wants to sell to rural consumers in China, a market that makes up 5 percent of the company’s global business, the PC maker’s Greater China president Amit Midah said at a briefing in Beijing yesterday. Dell last month reported fourth-quarter sales fell 16 percent to US$13.4 billion, missing analyst estimates.

■AUTOMOBILES

Seoul cuts taxes on cars

South Korea yesterday announced tax cuts to spur car sales during the economic slump, but urged automakers to respond with a cost-cutting drive. From May 1 to the end of the year, consumers will be given a 70 percent cut in taxes when they replace cars registered before Jan. 1, 2000, with new models, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said. The reduction will help the industry boost sales by up to 5.5 million units, the ministry said.

■THAILAND

‘Gift checks’ issued

The government began issuing “gift checks” to more than 10 million low-income earners yesterday as part of a stimulus package to curb the impact of the global financial crisis. Around 10.5 million people in the country of 63 million are to receive the handouts, said Bangkok Bank, the country’s biggest lender, which is issuing the checks. Only people with a monthly salary of 15,000 baht or less and who are registered for social security support are eligible.

■TELECOMS

Mobile demand on the rise

Broadband-service providers will see their revenue from mobile services jump to US$137 billion worldwide by 2014, up 450 percent from last year, a report said yesterday. But the number of mobile broadband users will likely outpace revenue growth as competition drives prices lower and because most of the new clients will come from less wealthy users in emerging markets, industry consulting firm Ovum said. The number of mobile broadband users — through handsets and laptop computers — should top 2 billion in 2014, up over 1,000 percent from 181 million last year, with the Asia-Pacific region emerging as a key driver, it said.

■ENERGY

UAE says oil prices too low

An oil price of US$70 to US$75 a barrel would be “fair,” United Arab Emirates (UAE) President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan said in an interview published yesterday. A record high US$147 a barrel in July was “unreal,” he was quoted by the official WAM news agency as saying. The current “weak level” of around US$50 “hurts everyone, and in our view a fair price would be 70 to 75 dollars a barrel,” he said.

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