Rio dismisses China claims
Mining giant Rio Tinto yesterday said bribery claims against four staff held in China were “wholly without foundation” as Australia pressed Beijing to deal with the case quickly. “Rio Tinto believes that the allegations in recent media reports that employees were involved in bribery of officials at Chinese steel mills are wholly without foundation,” iron ore chief executive Sam Walsh said. “We remain fully supportive of our detained employees, and believe that they acted at all times with integrity and in accordance with Rio Tinto’s strict and publicly stated code of ethical behavior.”
Renault reports loss
French auto group Renault reported yesterday an operating loss for the first half of the year, saying that its global sales had plunged by 16.5 percent but a strong showing by Romanian Dacia had been a lifeline. Total sales had fallen to 1.106 million units, the group said, but it also reported that it had generated strong free cash flow with a cost-cutting plan announced in February. Last week, rival French group PSA Peugeot Citroen reported a fall of 14 percent in global sales in the first half.
POSCO to buy Vietnam plant
South Korea’s biggest steelmaker POSCO confirmed yesterday it would buy a Vietnamese stainless steel plant as part of efforts to meet growing demand. POSCO said in a statement its board has approved the purchase of a 90 percent stake in Asia Stainless Corp, but did not give the cost. Industry sources quoted by Yonhap news agency estimated the deal could be worth around US$50 million. Asia Stainless is Vietnam’s only cold-rolled stainless steel manufacturer.
Exports drop 11 percent
Singapore’s key exports fell 11 percent year-on-year last month as consumer demand from the developed economies, especially for electronic goods, continued to languish, the government said yesterday. It was narrower than the 12.3 percent decline in May and 19.2 percent contraction in April. Last month’s decline in non-oil domestic exports (NODX) was the 14th straight month of contraction, a slump that started last year when the trade-led economy sank into a recession. On a seasonally adjusted month-on-month basis, NODX shrank 5.2 percent.
Nissan may expand hybrids
Nissan Motor Co said yesterday it was considering expanding its line-up of hybrids, seeking to catch-up with rivals Toyota and Honda, whose fuel-sipping cars are surging in popularity. Japan’s third-biggest automaker may add its own hybrid technology to small and mid-sized vehicles in addition to the planned launch of a luxury version, a company official said on condition of anonymity.
Wal-Mart plans database
US retail giant Wal-Mart on Thursday announced plans to develop a database that it said would revolutionize shopping by putting information about products’ sustainability at consumers’ fingertips. The database, dubbed the sustainability index, could put information about how environmentally-friendly suppliers, manufacturers and their products are, just a garment label or barcode-scan away for shoppers, according to Wal-Mart executives speaking at a webcast gathering of their suppliers.