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Tue, Sep 21, 2010 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ AUTOMOBILES

SAIC watching GM’s IPO

SAIC Motor Corp (上海汽車工業) said it’s “closely watching” the initial public offering (IPO) of General Motors Co after Reuters reported the Chinese firm was in talks to buy a stake in the US automaker. The US Treasury holds a 61 percent stake in GM following a US$50 billion taxpayer bailout for the ­Detroit-based carmaker, which filed for bankruptcy protection in June last year. SAIC, GM’s partner in China, was in talks to buy a stake in the carmaker, Reuters reported on Saturday, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. GM’s IPO will likely be open to overseas investors as the US Treasury seeks to pare its stake in the firm.

■ENERGY

BP spill fund paying out

BP said payouts to people affected by its Gulf of Mexico oil spill had dramatically increased since it surrendered authority for dispensing funds to an independent administrator. BP said the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, the US$20 billion fund it set up to compensate fishermen, hoteliers and retailers whose business was hit by the spill, had paid out 19,000 claims totaling more than US$240 million. The total cost of the spill response has hit US$9.5 billion, BP said in a statement late on Sunday.

■ ECONOMY

UK loans, money supply dip

Lending to UK businesses fell for the fifth month running in July and home loan approvals dropped to their lowest in more than a year, data showed, fueling concerns about the country’s economic recovery. Separately, the Bank of England said M4 broad money supply fell 0.2 percent on the month last month, but up 1.8 percent on the year — the weakest annual growth rate since monthly records began in July 1983. The bank’s Trends in Lending report yesterday showed the net monthly flow of lending contracted by £2.5 billion (US$3.9 billion) in July, following a £3.2 billion decline in June. Net lending to businesses was down 5.7 percent on the year, compared with a fall of 7.9 percent in June and the smallest fall since August last year.

■ REAL ESTATE

England, Wales prices drop

Property asking prices in England and Wales fell for a third consecutive month this month and have lost half the gains they made in the first six months of the year, a survey showed yesterday. Property Web site Rightmove, which claims to capture 90 percent of all homes put up for sale across England and Wales, said asking prices fell 1.1 percent this month, following drops of 1.7 percent last month and 0.6 percent in July. The annual rate of growth slipped to 2.6 percent from 4.3 percent. Rightmove’s findings chime with other polls showing house prices have fallen in recent months amid rising supply and nervousness ahead of big government spending cuts.

■ ENTERTAINMENT

Broccoli join bid for MGM

The Broccoli family, producers of the James Bond movies and co-owners of the franchise with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc (MGM), are involved in Sahara India Pariwar’s US$2 billion bid to buy the debt-laden studio, a person with knowledge of the offer said. Barbara Broccoli and her stepbrother, Michael Wilson, are part of the Sahara India offer and would receive an undisclosed equity stake in MGM if it succeeds, said the person, who sought anonymity because the discussions are private. It wasn’t clear whether Broccoli and Wilson would have a management role in the Los Angeles-based studio, the person said.

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