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World Business Quick Take



AIA plans HK stock offering

AIA, the Asian unit of troubled US insurer American International Group (AIG), will launch a US$15 billion share sale on Oct. 29 in what could be the world’s second-­biggest stock offering this year, reports said yesterday. The insurer was seeking approval from Hong Kong’s bourse yesterday with plans to set a price range next week, the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times reported, both citing unnamed sources. If approved, AIA will start investor presentations on Oct. 6, the Journal reported. AIA is also hoping to sign an agreement next week with so-called cornerstone investors — generally institutional buyers — who could pick up as much as one-fifth of the offering, the Financial Times said.


China fines Toyota financing

Chinese authorities have fined Japanese automaker Toyota’s financing unit for commercial bribery after it paid dealers for directing loan business its way, state media reported yesterday. Toyota Motor Finance (China) Co gave rebates to three dealers after they had steered their customers to borrow money from Toyota rather than local banks between August 2008 and April this year, the official Xinhua news agency said. Authorities fined Toyota Motor Finance — a subsidiary of Toyota Financial Services — 140,000 yuan (US$20,850) and confiscated its illegal earnings of 426,352 yuan.


Google Apps has 30m users

Google Inc said on Monday that more than 30 million people are using Google Apps, as the company unveiled enhanced security features for the Web-based suite of office tools. “As of today, more than three million businesses have gone Google, and over 30 million users within businesses, schools and organizations now depend on our messaging and collaboration tools,” Google said in a blog post. Google Apps include products or services such as Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Docs and are seen as the Mountain View, California company’s challenge to Microsoft’s popular Office software.


Gazprom eyes partnership

Russia’s state-owned natural gas monopoly Gazprom has hinted it may invite Japanese firms to participate in the Sakhalin 3 project if foreign support is deemed necessary, Japan’s Nikkei business daily said yesterday. Gazprom deputy chief executive Alexander Medvedev told the paper that his shortlist includes Japanese trading giants Mitsui & Co and Mitsubishi Corp as well as Royal Dutch Shell PLC. Medvedev called the Sakhalin 2 project, in which liquefied natural gas output has reached full capacity, “a good example of Russia-Japan cooperation,” the report said. In the Sakhalin 3 project, Gazprom is now test-drilling the Kirinsky field by itself.


Nokia denies N8 delay

Nokia said yesterday that reports of a delay in the launch of its new N8 mobile phone, seen as a key product needed to boost the company’s fortunes, are inaccurate. The N8 is a competitor to the iPhone, BlackBerry and ­Android-platform smartphones. “We have said we expect to ship the N8 by the end of the third quarter and that hasn’t changed,” Nokia spokesman Doug Dawson said. He said that the misunderstanding has arisen from the fact that Nokia’s marketing department informed customers who pre-ordered the phone that they should expect them next moth. He added that a number of factors affect delivery, such as shipping and customs arrangements.

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