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Tue, Dec 08, 2009 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■INTERNET

Web spending rises 4%

Online spending increased to US$15.3 billion this holiday season, a gain of 4 percent from the same period last year, ComScore Inc said. Sales of US$886 million last Tuesday nearly met this year’s record-matching Cyber Monday spending of US$887 million, research company ComScore said in a statement on its Web site. The report includes the first 34 days of the holiday shopping season that began on Nov. 1. Cyber Monday “was followed by several other strong online spending days helping to accelerate the growth rate,” ComScore chairman Gian Fulgoni said in the statement. The first Monday after Thanksgiving is known as Cyber Monday because consumers return to work after the holiday and make purchases online. ComScore has said it expects Internet retail spending to rise 3 percent for the entire season. Sales of consumer electronics and computer hardware have achieved “double-digit” growth rates compared to the same period last year, Fulgoni said.

■STEEL

German production rises

German steel production increased last month, a report said yesterday, a sign the economic situation in Europe’s largest economy is improving. The Federal Statistical Office said German mills produced 2.49 million tonnes of pig iron, an 8.1 percent increase over November last year. They produced 3.9 million tonnes of raw steel, up 8 percent. Compared with October, production of pig iron was up 7 percent while raw steel was up 2.4 percent. Despite the improvements, the impact of the recession over the past year remained evident. For the first 11 months of the year, pig iron production was 35 percent below last year’s levels, while raw steel production was 32 percent lower.

■ENERGY

PNG LNG project announced

US energy group Exxon Mobil said yesterday it had reached an agreement with Tokyo Electric Power Co Inc to supply it with gas from its liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Papua New Guinea. Under the binding agreement, the PNG LNG Project to be operated by Exxon would feed the Japanese company some 1.8 million tonnes of LNG each year for 20 years, it said. The project plans to develop gas fields in Papua New Guinea’s Southern Highlands and Western Province and transport the gas via pipeline to a LNG facility near Port Moresby for shipment overseas. Although final investment decisions are yet to be made, it is expected that the first shipments will be delivered by late 2013 or early 2014.

■BEVERAGES

Plans brewing at Heineken

Heineken NV agreed to buy Asia Pacific Breweries India and sell stakes in PT Multi Bintang Indonesia and Grande Brasserie de Nouvelle-­Caledonie. Heineken signed a shareholders’ agreement with United Breweries Ltd and agreed on terms for the brewing and distribution of Heineken in India, the Amsterdam-based company said in a statement distributed by Hugin yesterday. Heineken will sell a stake of 68.5 percent in PT Multi Bintang Indonesia to Asia Pacific Breweries for 157 million euros. The brewer will also sell its 87.3 percent interest in Grande Brasserie de Nouvelle-Caledonie to APB for 57 million euros (US$232 million). Heineken said the effect of the transactions will be “broadly neutral” at net income level. The company expects a book gain of 145 million euros next year. Heineken will continue to hold a 42 percent stake in APB.

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