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.
The US Department of State yesterday criticized Beijing over its misrepresentation of the US’ “one China” policy in the latest diplomatic salvo between the two countries over a bid by Taiwan to regain its observer status at the World Health Assembly, the decisionmaking body of the WHO. “The PRC [People’s Republic of China] continues to publicly misrepresent U.S. policy,” Department of State spokesman Ned Price wrote on Twitter. “The United States does not subscribe to the PRC’s ‘one China principle’ — we remain committed to our longstanding, bipartisan one China policy, guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, Three Joint Communiques, and
FATES LINKED: The US president said that sanctions on Russia over Ukraine must exact a ‘long-term price,’ because otherwise ‘what signal does that send to China?’ US President Joe Biden yesterday vowed that US forces would defend Taiwan militarily in the event of a Chinese attack in his strongest statement to date on the issue. Beijing is already “flirting with danger,” Biden said following talks with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo, in which the pair agreed to monitor Chinese naval activity and joint Chinese-Russian exercises. Asked if Washington was willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan, he replied: “Yes.” “That’s the commitment we made,” Biden said. “We agreed with the ‘one China’ policy, we signed on to it ... but the idea that it can be
INFORMATION LEAKED: Documents from Xinjiang purportedly showed top leaders in Beijing calling for a forceful crackdown and even orders to shoot to kill Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) yesterday held a videoconference with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet as she visited Xinjiang during a mission overshadowed by fresh allegations of Uighur abuses and fears she is being used as a public relations tool. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been accused of detaining more than 1 million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the region as part of a years-long crackdown the US and lawmakers in other Western nations have labeled a “genocide.” China denies the allegations. Bachelet was expected to visit the cities of Urumqi and Kashgar on a six-day tour. The US
SUBTLE? While Biden said the US policy of ‘strategic ambiguity’ on Taiwan had not changed, the group targeted China and Russia without naming them Leaders of Australia, India, Japan and the US yesterday warned against attempts to “change the status quo by force,” as concerns grow about whether China could invade Taiwan. The issue of Taiwan loomed over a leadership meeting in Tokyo of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) nations — the US, Japan, Australia and India — who stressed their determination to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region in the face of an increasingly assertive China, although Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the group was not targeting any one country. The four leaders said in a joint statement issued after their talks