World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

Mon, Jul 24, 2006 - Page 10

■ Energy
HK firm mulls wind farm

Hong Kong Construction (Holdings) Ltd said it has signed an agreement with a local government of Inner Mongolia to study a possible wind power project. The building contractor may invest in a wind farm in two regions totaling 1,000m2, the company said in a press release yesterday. The power project, to be developed with the Siziwang Qi government of Inner Mongolia, aims to produce between 100,000 kilowatts to 150,000 kilowatts of capacity by 2008.

■ Automobiles

Honda planning new plant

Honda Motor plans to build a new manufacturing plant to produce key components to be used in its hybrid cars, a Japanese business daily reported yesterday. The facility, which is scheduled to come online in 2008, will enable the automaker to quadruple its annual output capacity for electric motors the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said. Honda is expected to spend about &$165;8 billion (US$68.87 million) to build the plant in western Mie Prefecture, the newspaper said. Honda aims to sell 200,000 fuel-efficient vehicles worldwide, powered by both a gasoline engine and an electric motor, in 2009, the Nihon Keizai said.

■ Gold

Police foil crime syndicate

Australian police said yesterday they were hunting for a sophisticated crime syndicate that almost managed to steal A$14 million (US$10.5 million) worth of gold bullion. The gang forged the title deeds to a prominent Sydney property and used it as collateral for a multi-million dollar loan. The syndicate then ordered 605kg of gold from the Perth Mint through a respected bullion dealer. Detective senior sergeant Peter Feast from the West Australia gold robberies unit said yesterday the thieves were just hours away from receiving the massive haul. The scam took place in January, but was first revealed in the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper on Saturday.

■ E-commerce

Internet shops disappoint

Internet shops often provide a poor service with a huge gap between customer requirements and the service offered online, according to a recent German study. The study conducted by Novomind in cooperation with the F.A.Z. Institute found that customers often wanted a market place for used items and much improved delivery conditions. Nine out of 10 interviewees said delivery could be improved. About 56 percent of respondents said a permanent shopping bag that stored information on orders made during previous visits was useful. However, only every fourth online shop actually offered such a service.

■ Automobiles

Police probe VW trio

Frankfurt prosecutors and Germany's federal criminal police are investigating two employees and a retired manager of automaker Volkswagen on suspicion of corruption, Hartwig von Sass, a spokesman for the company said on Saturday. Von Sass confirmed media reports that employees of VW subsidiary Audi had accepted bribes worth

up to 800,000 euros (US$1.01million) from global equipment manufacturers Faurecia. The latest investigation comes just a year after VW called in prosecutors to investigate personnel executive Klaus-Joachim Gebauer and former Skoda chief Helmuth Schuster. They are suspected of setting up fake companies in countries including India and the Czech Republic to defraud local authorities seeking business with VW.