Summer bonuses plunge
Summer bonuses offered by companies have plunged a record 16.6 percent on average this year, the second straight year of decline, a survey found. The poll, released yesterday, was conducted by the Nikkei Shimbun, covering some 700 listed and major non-listed firms. Bonuses are traditionally given twice a year, in the summer and the winter. The poll showed that the average bonus this summer was ¥701,012 (US$7,579) per employee, some ¥140,000 lower than a year ago, with 78 percent of the firms saying they were cutting bonuses. More than half the firms were trimming their payouts by more than 10 percent.
Nomura agrees to tie-up
Japan’s top securities firm, Nomura Holdings, agreed to an asset-management capital tie-up with Life Insurance Corp (LIC), India’s largest life insurer, a newspaper reported yesterday. Under the accord, Nomura will take a 35 percent stake in LIC Mutual Fund Asset Management Co, a LIC subsidiary, for about ¥6 billion, the Nikkei Shimbun reported. Nomura is expected to send executives and staff to LIC Mutual Fund Asset Management, which has ¥600 billion in assets under management, the newspaper said. Nomura, which began stock trading operations in India last year by taking over the business base of the collapsed Lehman Brothers, plans to start selling bonds in the country later this year.
Inflation down slightly
Inflation, one of the biggest economic challenges facing the country, fell slightly to 22.5 percent in the Iranian calendar month ending on June 21, the Sarmayeh newspaper said yesterday, quoting a central bank report. The figure is down from 23.6 percent the previous month. Inflation in Iran, OPEC’s second biggest oil exporter, has been witnessing a downward trend since September, when it peaked at 29 percent.
Union rejects Vale contract
Union workers at Vale Inco’s Sudbury nickel mine in Canada rejected the company’s final contract offer and planned to go on strike, the United Steelworkers union said on Saturday. Negotiations between Vale Inco — the nickel mining and processing division of Brazil’s Companhia Vale do Rio Doce — and its union broke down this week as the two sides failed to agree on bonuses, pensions and other issues. Members of the union’s Local 6500 voted overwhelmingly to reject the company’s offer and were to launch a strike yesterday. The Local represents about 3,300 workers at the site. Eighty-five percent of the miners rejected the company’s proposal, the union said.
Progress on Nabucco deal
Turkey will have access to European gas under a Nabucco pipeline deal and has abandoned a demand to buy 15 percent of the gas, a major obstacle to finalizing the deal, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said. The pipeline — connecting Turkey and a major natural gas hub in Austria — is to be built so that gas can flow in a west-east direction, as well as east-west as planned, to allow Turkey that access, he said. But Yildiz said that Turkey would have a right to take a share of the gas flowing through the pipeline. He did not specify what percentage Turkey would have a right to. Transit agreements for the EU and US-backed Nabucco pipeline are set to be signed in Ankara today.