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Fri, Jun 12, 2009 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■TRADE

Canada, EU start FTA talks

Canadian International Trade Minister Stockwell Day and EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton formally launched Canada-EU free trade talks on Wednesday. Canada and the EU announced last month their intentions to sign a broad trade agreement within two years. The EU is Canada’s second-largest export market, after the US. Last year, two-way trade in goods and services between Canada and the EU totaled US$114.6 billion, up 6.2 percent from 2007. Canada-EU free trade in aerospace, chemicals, wood products, automotive vehicles and parts, agricultural products, transportation and other sectors is forecast to increase trade by about 20 percent.

■CONSUMPTION

Luanda costliest expat city

Angola’s capital Luanda has again been rated the most expensive city in the world for expatriate workers, followed by Tokyo, Nagoya, Yokohama and Kobe, said the Cost of Living Survey by ECA International published on Wednesday. The survey, however, said Maseru in the small mountain state of Lesotho was the cheapest. Oil-rich Angola has enjoyed an unprecedented economic boom since a 27-year civil war ended in 2002, which has attracted an influx of foreign workers. The country’s war-damaged industry and poor infrastructure means the bulk of food, construction materials and other goods have to be imported, driving up costs.

■INTERNET

Craigslist ad revenue up

Advanced Interactive Media Group (AIM) is predicting that revenue at popular online classified ad Web site Craigslist will surge to US$100 million this year. San Francisco-based Craigslist does not disclose revenue figures, but AIM estimates it took in US$81 million last year and that the figure would jump more than 23 percent this year. Craigslist Web sites localized to communities around the world act, in part, as online notice boards where people can post messages on a range of topics including apartment rentals, items for sales and jobs.

■ENGINEERING

Larsen & Toubro buys stake

Larsen & Toubro Ltd, India’s biggest engineering company, sold its 11.49 percent stake in UltraTech Cement Ltd for 10.37 billion rupees (US$219 million), or 725 rupees a share. Larsen sold 14.3 million shares, UltraTech said in an exchange filing. UltraTech shares fell as much as 5.6 percent to 720.50 rupees in Mumbai and traded at 727.15 rupees, down 4.7 percent. The cement maker is 50.7 percent owned by Aditya Birla Group’s Grasim Industries Ltd, its Web site said. Mumbai-based Larsen sold the shares in blocks to local and overseas financial investors and the Aditya Birla Group didn’t participate in the sale, its CFO said.

■BANKING

Ex-financial advisers sued

Bank of America Co’s Merrill Lynch sued three of its former financial advisers in Florida over claims they engaged in an “unlawful campaign” to solicit customers to a competitor. In violation of their employment agreements, advisers Peter Weitz and Steven Weitz resigned and Eugene Morgia was fired from the firm last month. All three, based in Coral Springs, Florida, joined Fusion Analytics Investment Partners, a complaint Merrill filed yesterday in federal court in Fort Lauderdale. In violation of their employment agreements, the advisers took “confidential information of hundreds of Merrill Lynch accounts” worth US$130 million in an attempt to move the accounts to Fusion.

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