BHP hires top lobbyists
BHP Billiton Ltd hired advisers to three Canadian prime ministers to lobby for its US$40 billion hostile bid for Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc. Michael Coates, an adviser to Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the last three election campaigns, registered for BHP, according to the Web site of the country’s lobbyist registry. William Pristanski, an aide in the 1980s to former Conservative leader Brian Mulroney, and Bruce Hartley, former assistant to the Liberals’ Jean Chretien, also registered on behalf of BHP. BHP may face competition for the world’s largest fertilizer maker from China, with Sinochem Group (中國中化) hiring Deutsche Bank AG and Citigroup Inc to assess ways to disrupt the bid, the Financial Times said yesterday.
Sharp to buy solar firm
Japanese electronics giant Sharp said yesterday it would buy US solar power project developer Recurrent in an acquisition that would make the US company a wholly owned subsidiary. Recurrent said the deal could be worth up to US$305 million and was expected to close before the end of the year, with Sharp taking a 100 percent stake. In a statement, Sharp said the deal was made in anticipation of “greatly” increasing demand for solar power in North America as the number of related projects rises. Recurrent, an independent power producer in the US, develops and markets solar power plants by collaborating with power companies.
Siemens to book huge loss
German industrial giant Siemens said it would book a charge of up to 1.4 billion euros (US$1.86 billion) on its healthcare diagnostics division after a review of its prospects. “This impairment is being made in connection with a re-evaluation of medium-term growth prospects and long-term market developments in the laboratory diagnostics business,” a statement said late on Tuesday. The charge, which will be taken in Siemens’ fourth quarter, which runs from July through September, will not prevent the group from hitting annual targets, it said.
Users satisfied with Apple
US computer buyers are happy as ever, with Apple machines yielding top satisfaction and the Windows 7 operating system making amends for a loathed prior generation of the Microsoft software. Annual figures released on Tuesday by the American Customer Satisfaction Index showed a 4 percent improvement in the way people felt about their computers, with Apple leading the way by pleasing 86 percent of buyers. Overall satisfaction with PCs averaged 78 percent, with Windows-based models by Acer, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and others coming in 1 percentage point below the average, the index showed.
■ UNITED KINGDOM
Cable to unveil investment
Business Secretary Vince Cable was to announce a review of corporate governance, takeovers and ways to promote long-term investment. Cable, who heads the Department for Innovation and Skills, was to give details of the plan yesterday at the annual conference of his Liberal Democrats party. Excerpts of his speech released in advance showed that Cable views short-termism and shareholder disengagement as increasing problems. One issue he intended to explore was whether the way in which directors are paid encourages takeovers. Concern about takeovers has risen since US giant Kraft Foods took over British firm Cadbury earlier this year.
‘UNPRECEDENTED’: Taiwan’s envoy said that official wording framing Taiwan-China issues as not about unification or independence counters the narrative Beijing wants Use of the phrase “democratic Taiwan” by Germany’s new coalition government in official document shows that Taiwan-China issues are not about “independence” against “unification,” but about democracy against authoritarianism, Representative to Germany Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉) said yesterday. Germany’s Social Democratic Party, Free Democratic Party and the Greens — known as the “traffic light coalition” for their colors — on Wednesday inked a coalition agreement following elections on Sept. 26. The agreement, a blueprint for their governance for the next four years, mentions “Taiwan,” which is unprecedented, showing that the new German government is paying close attention to cross-strait peace and supports Taiwan’s
BIDEN NOD: A China watcher said that the inclusion of Taiwan is notable, as it is the only democratic state on the list that Washington does not officially recognize Minister Without Portfolio Audrey Tang (唐鳳) and Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) are to attend the US-led Summit for Democracy on Dec. 9 and 10, the government said yesterday, after US President Joe Biden announced the list of guests for the virtual event. The US Department of State on Tuesday announced a list of 110 invited participants, including Taiwan, Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Japan and the UK. China and Russia were not invited, and Beijing expressed anger at the decision to invite Taiwan. The summit is to revolve around three key themes: Defending against authoritarianism, addressing and fighting
‘BADGE OF HONOR’: Lithuanian lawmaker Dovile Sakaliene, who is on China’s travel ban list, said delegation members joked that they would be joining her on it soon A delegation led by the chairman of the Lithuanian Parliamentary Group for Relations with Taiwan yesterday arrived in Taipei to participate in a conference on democracy later this week. The group, led by Matas Maldeikis, a Lithuanian lawmaker and an outspoken critic of China, touched down at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 6:18am yesterday. Maldeikis said at the airport that he expected the trip to enhance understanding between Taiwan and Lithuania after cooperation between the two sides took a big step forward this past year. “This trip will be another step in understanding each other because we are dealing with the same challenges,”
GET A BOOST: After considering the potential for local outbreaks amid an increase in cases abroad, a committee recommended adolescents receive their second shots The level 2 COVID-19 alert is to be extended until Dec. 13, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced yesterday, as it advised people in six high-risk groups to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot. It also recommended that adolescents aged 12 to 17 who had a first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine receive a second shot. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the nationwide level 2 alert would remain in place for two more weeks from today. Chen said that during New Year’s events eating and drinking might be allowed in designated areas, while