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Sat, Sep 04, 2010 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■INSURANCE

AIA submits IPO documents

AIA Group Ltd, the main Asia unit of American International Group Inc (AIG), submitted preliminary documents to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange for an initial public offering (IPO), two people familiar with the filing said. The filing means that New York-based AIG may aim to hold the IPO late next month or in early November, said one of the people, who declined to be identified. AIG in July hired Mark Tucker, former chief executive officer of Prudential PLC, to lead AIA as the unit prepares for an IPO. The company turned to a share sale after London-based Prudential backed out of a deal to buy AIA for US$35.5 billion.

■CHEMICALS

Chinese mull Potash bid

Chinese and other investors have approached at least one big Canadian pension manager about a bid for Canada’s Potash Corp to rival BHP Billiton’s US$39 billion hostile offer. Alberta Investment Management Corp said it was not interested, because the economics did not work. China’s state-owned chemicals giant Sinochem (中國中化) has reportedly hired HSBC to evaluate options and chatter persists that sovereign wealth funds, such as China’s US$300 billion China Investment Corp (中國投資公司), may also be seeking a bid of some kind.

■PHARMACEUTICALS

Roche to cut costs, jobs

Swiss giant Roche said yesterday it was launching a cost-cutting program which could lead to job cuts. The company said in a statement that “mounting pressures to curb healthcare costs” in the US and Europe were among the reasons for the move. It added that more details on the measures and their potential impact on jobs would be announced before the end of the year. The pharmaceutical giant currently employs 80,000 people.

■AVIATION

New low-cost airline mulled

Air France-KLM is considering setting up a “low-cost” domestic carrier to meet intense competition in the French market from budget rivals, company sources said on Thursday. The new airline, dubbed “Air France Express,” could be established next year with bases in the southern cities of Marseille, Nice and Toulouse if agreement can be reached with unions, the sources said. “Studies are underway to find some way to fight off the ‘low-cost’ airlines. Among ideas being considered, is setting up a new entity within Air France-KLM,” one of the sources said, asking not to be named.

■SOUTH KOREA

Economy grows 1.4 percent

The economy grew 1.4 percent in the second quarter from three months earlier, slightly less than earlier predicted because of weaker construction investment, the South Korean central bank said yesterday. The Bank of Korea revised its GDP figure for the second quarter from an earlier prediction of a 1.5 percent quarter-on-quarter expansion. It said Asia’s fourth-largest economy grew 7.2 percent last quarter compared with a year earlier.

■COMPUTERS

NASA launches iPad app

NASA has landed on the iPad. Nearly a year after launching a free application for the iPhone and the iPod Touch, the US space agency has created a program for the latest device from Apple. The NASA App HD for the iPad is available for free at Apple’s App Store. The NASA iPad application features live streaming video from NASA TV, launch schedules, current mission information, maps, on-demand video from NASA archives, feature stories, thousands of images and more.

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