PCCW scraps US$2.1bn bid
Hong Kong telecoms giant PCCW (電訊盈科) yesterday scrapped a US$2.1 billion bid by chairman Richard Li (李澤楷) to take the firm private after he lost a dramatic court showdown with the city’s regulators. Li said he was “disappointed” by Wednesday’s appeal court ruling but added the case had become a burden to the company and “unnecessarily divisive to society.” “From a commercial perspective and taking into account the company’s interests ... the privatisation proposal will now lapse,” he said in a statement.
eBay posts drop in profits
Online auction site eBay posted a 22-percent decline in profits on Wednesday as the slump in online sales hit its revenue. The company said that income fell to US$357.1 million, compared with US$459.7 million a year ago. Revenue slumped 8 percent to US$2.02 billion as the value of the goods it sold through its auction business dropped 16 percent to US$10.8 billion. The firm’s internet telephony business Skype posted US$153 million in revenue in the first quarter, a 21-percent gain over the same quarter a year ago. Ebay’s Internet payments unit Paypal recorded strong growth, with revenue increasing 11 percent to US$643 million and net total payment volume rising 10 percent to US$15.86 billion.
Toyota ahead of Volkswagen
Toyota Motor said yesterday it had sold about 1.76 million vehicles worldwide in the first quarter, staying ahead of Germany’s Volkswagen in the race to be this year’s top selling automaker. Toyota suffered a 26.7 percent drop in sales in the three months through last month from a year earlier, company spokesman Paul Nolasco said. But the company managed to easily keep its lead over Volkswagen, Europe’s biggest carmaker, which on Wednesday reported global sales of 1.35 million vehicles in the first quarter, down 15.7 percent from a year earlier.
Minmetals bid approved
Australia yesterday approved a revised takeover offer from China’s Minmetals (五礦集團) for debt-laden miner OZ Minerals worth A$1.21 billion (US$850 million). Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan scuttled the first bid on national security grounds last month because it included Prominent Hill copper-gold mine in South Australia, which is located near a military rocket testing range. “Today I approve a revised application by China Minmetals Non-ferrous Metals Co Ltd to acquire certain mining assets of OZ Minerals Ltd, but not including the Prominent Hill mine, conditional on legally enforceable undertakings,” he said.
Seoul approves injection
South Korea said yesterday it had agreed with banks to provide a multimillion-dollar cash injection for contractors working for the local unit of US auto giant General Motors (GM). The GM Daewoo contractors, as well as those of local firm Ssangyong Motors, will receive a total of 240 billion won (US$178 million) from today, the Grand National Party said.
Chinese meat recalled
A major Chinese meat processor has recalled 100 boxes of luncheon meat containing a banned chemical, media reported yesterday. China Yurun Food Group destroyed the products, made of unspecified minced meat, the National Business Daily said, citing the provincial quality watchdog and an unnamed Yurun official.