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Fri, Aug 14, 2009 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■INSURANCE

Aegon posts 161m euro loss

Aegon NV, the Dutch insurer, reported a 161 million euro (US$229 million) loss for the second quarter yesterday due to impairment charges and announced plans to issue up to 1 billion euros in new shares. The company had a net profit of 276 million euros for the same period last year. This year’s loss included 393 million euros in impairment charges, mostly on investments related to the US housing market, and a 353 million euros loss from the sale of the Taiwanese activities. Aegon said it planned the share issue in order to repay part of the 3 billion euros in bailout money it received from the Dutch state last year.

■BREWING

AB InBev Q2 profit up 13%

Anheuser Busch InBev (AB InBev) said on Wednesday that its second quarter profit rose 13 percent to US$1.1 billion, helped by sales of stakes in brewing companies, but cautioned the recession was flattening beer consumption in key markets around the world. The figure compared with a US$850 million profit in the same period a year earlier. AB InBev reported a 1.1 percent drop in global sales in the second quarter with Carlos Brito, the company’s chief executive, saying “the beer industry ... is not immune to economic pressures.” AB-InBev saw a net profit of US$1.92 billion for the first half of the year, up from US$1.25 billion in the same period last year.

■OIL

KNOC, Aussie firms to drill

South Korean and Australian firms will conduct exploratory drilling for oil and gas in the Sea of Japan in early 2011, officials said yesterday. The exploration follows joint surveys by Australia’s Woodside Energy and state-run Korea National Oil Corp (KNOC) in two blocks off the east coast. “After analyzing joint surveys, we concluded that there is a possibility of discovering oil and gas,” a KNOC spokesman said. “However, we are still unsure that we can discover commercially viable reserves.” Woodside is the first foreign firm to join an exploration around the Korean Peninsula since 1994, when a British firm pulled out after failing to discover oil and gas.

■TRANSPORT

Vietnam picks bullet train

Vietnam plans to use Japanese bullet train technology for a transnational rail link, the chief executive of state-owned Vietnam Railways Corp was quoted yesterday as telling Japanese media. The government had already given basic approval for the Shinkansen system, although it still required financing and formal consent from the prime minister, Nguyen Huu Bang reportedly told the Nikkei Shimbun. Funding for the US$56 billion project remained riddled with uncertainties, the report said, with Hanoi seeking Japanese aid and funds from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

■AUTOMOBILES

Toyota plans new hybrid

Toyota Motor Corp will start selling a new hybrid automobile in 2011 that is more fuel-efficient than its Prius, in a bid to keep pole position in environmentally friendly vehicles, the Yomiuri Shimbun said yesterday. The new hybrid, based on Toyota’s Vitz compact car, will have a fuel economy of more than 40km per liter, against 38km for the third-generation Prius, the newspaper reported, without citing sources. It will have a price tag of about ¥1.5 million (US$15,600), cheaper than Toyota’s existing hybrids, and is expected to be sold in Japan, Europe and the US, the report said. A Toyota spokeswoman declined to comment.

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