In Friday's Asia papers

28 July 2006 02:43  [Source: ICIS news]

Asahi Shimbun, Japan (online edition)

Front page

 

Tanigaki the first to declare candidacy

Finance Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki on Thursday formally announced he will run for the presidency of the Liberal Democratic Party on a platform of doubling the consumption tax rate and improving ties in Asia. He is the first politician to announce his intention to run in the 20 Sept election to pick a successor to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

 

Aso, allies to prod North on nukes

The foreign ministers of Japan, South Korea and China agreed on Thursday to work closely to encourage North Korea to return to six-party talks on ending the standoff over its nuclear weapons programs, Japanese officials said. Visiting Foreign Minister Taro Aso held separate meetings with South Korea's Ban Ki Moon and Li Zhaoxing of China on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum that was to get under way in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.

 

Business & Industry

 

Toshiba to pay Yen87m to flash memory inventor

Toshiba on Thursday agreed to pay Yen87m ($749,000) to a former employee whose invention of flash memory led to billions of yen in profits for the electronics giant. The company, based in Tokyo's Minato Ward, reached the court-mediated settlement with Fujio Masuoka, 63, currently a professor at Tohoku University in Sendai, according to Hidetoshi Masunaga, a lawyer representing Masuoka.

 

Japan to OK US beef imports today

The government is scheduled to formally approve today the resumption of beef imports from the United States. The decision follows the approval by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Wednesday. Experts from agriculture and health ministries approved beef imports from 34 out of the 35 meat processing facilities they inspected in the United States over the last month or so.

 

China Daily, China (online edition)

Front page

 

Satellite to help predict earthquakes

The launch of an earthquake-monitoring satellite is a key next step to help predict tremors using space technology, a senior space official said yesterday. "We expect to develop a satellite specially to monitor electromagnetic changes on the Earth's surface by the end of 2010 after technological breakthroughs were made regarding its payload," Luo Ge, deputy chief of the China National Space Administration (CNSA), told China Daily in Beijing.

 

China warn US on Mideast stance

China on Thursday warned the United States that its opposition to a statement condemning a deadly attack on a UN post in Lebanon could have a "negative impact" on UN talks on Iran's nuclear ambitions. The United States was blocking a UN Security Council statement on Israel's attack on the outpost in southern Lebanon, despite what council diplomats called many compromises by Beijing.

 

Business & Industry

 

China to be No. 3 US export market

China is set to overtake Japan this year as America's third-largest export market, an American trade official said on Wednesday. US exports to China grew 36.5% in the first five months of the year over the same period in 2005, Under Secretary for International Trade Franklin L. Lavin told reporters during a visit to China's business hub of Shanghai.

 

Reform of Chinese mainland provides opportunities for HK

The Qualified Domestic Institutional Investor scheme, or QDII, introducing in the Chinese mainland, provides new opportunities for RMB financial services in Hong Kong, said the Bank of East Asia on Wednesday. The bank said in its newly published analysis that RMB business in Hong Kong received a further boost after Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao indicated that Hong Kong's imports from the Chinese mainland for local use would be settled in yuan, which opens the door for other businesses to be settled in yuan in the future.

 

Taiwan News, Taiwan (online edition)

Front page

 

Chen stresses need for balance

President Chen Shui-bian said that "everyone should be winners" in the two-day National Conference on Taiwan's Economic Sustainable Development if the conference achieves "a new balance between 'prosperity' and 'justice'" as well as promotes Taiwan's global standing. Chen delivered his remarks in the Taiwan International Convention Center to over 200 senior government officials, business executives, and other attendees as over 100 demonstrators from the Taiwan Confederation of Trade Unions, the Workers' Party, and other labor and environment groups clashed with police briefly outside the complex.

 

ESC dominated by clashes over China policy

Verbal clashes between business leaders and lawmakers dominated the first day of the National Conference on Taiwan's Economic Sustainable Development. Lawmakers from the Taiwan Solidarity Party and Democratic Progressive Party as well as labor activists debated over whether the government should ease restrictions on Taiwanese investment in China.

 

Business & Industry

 

Uni-President commercials said to mislead milk buyers

Two of the Taiwan's food manufacturing giants engaged in a battle of words when I-Mei Foods Company yesterday accused one of its competitors, Uni-President, of false advertising. I-Mei President Luis Ko said, referring to a recent Uni-President television commercial, that the company falsely claims to be the first and only one in the country to use a technique called "low temperature long-time pasteurization" to process their milk, even though other food companies began using this technique many years ago.

 

Taiwan biotech industry praised

Did you know that "dang-gui," more popularly known as Chinese Angelica root, possesses properties that could alleviate pain, regulate blood circulation, and even treat flatulence? Did you know that homegrown farming technology has helped local farmers increase their cherry tomato production by 72%, or that Taiwanese scientists have successfully produced vitamin-packed ice cream and supplements made from algae?

 

Korea Herald, South Korea (online edition)

Front page

 

Education minister apologises

The newly appointed Education Minister Kim Byong-joon yesterday apologised for inflating his academic achievements in connection with a Won300m state sponsorship project. "I believe my assistants made the error, but regardless, it should have been up to myself to have cross-checked. I deeply regret my negligence," said Kim at a press conference.

 

North Korea refuses nuclear talks at Asian forum

As North Korea has refused to rejoin the multiparty nuclear talks until the United States drops financial sanctions, the six-party members have scheduled to hold eight-nation talks with Canada and Australia on Friday. "There can be no such a thing as six-way talks," said North Korean spokesman Chung Sung-il on Thursday after the country's Foreign Minister Paek Nam-sun arrived in Kuala Lumpur.

 

Business & Industry

 

Korea posts current account deficit in first half of year

Korea posted a current account deficit in the first half of this year for the first time in nine years, as exports cooled and a service account shortfall widened, the central bank reported yesterday. A first-half deficit hasn't been seen since 1997, when the nation saw a shortfall of $10.1bn, the BOK said.

 

Hyundai Motor workers reach accord

Hyundai Motor and its workers reached a tentative accord in the annual wage negotiations while Ssangyong Motor's labor union vows to fight against a possible layoff of nearly a sixth of its production staff. Although the agreement by the nation's largest company-level union is usually followed by wage settlements at other carmakers, it may be a bit early to generalise.

 

Business Standard, India (online edition)

Front page

 

Now pay for US typhoons

A catastrophe like Hurricane Katrina in the US would have the potential to blow up a part of the profits of large Indian corporates. That is because in the detariffed regime from next year, the premium on large risks of over Rs1bn will be driven by international movements.

 

SBI net slides 35% on swollen 2005-06 base

Lower treasury income and higher staff cost have pulled down the April-June quarter net profit of country’s largest commercial bank, the State Bank of India, by 34.70% to Rs7.99bn against Rs12.23bn in the corresponding quarter of the previous year. However, excluding the one-time other income of interest on income tax refund of the April-June quarter of last year, SBI has posted 20.31% growth in net profit.

 

Business & Industry

 

Maruti revs up bottomline 63%

Car major Maruti Udyog today reported a scorching 63.19% increase in net profit to Rs3.70bn for the June 2006 quarter against Rs2.26bn in the year-ago quarter, on the back of higher efficiency in the use of raw materials, surging volumes and increased other income. Total income, net of excise, increased 20.01% to Rs32.69bn from Rs27.24bn.

 

GoAir to ink Rs22.25bn engine order with CFM

The Wadia group-promoted low-cost airline GoAir is all set to sign a Rs22.25bn deal with global jet engine manufacturer CFM International for acquiring 40 engines. The airline is negotiating for two different types of jet engines for its Airbus A320 fleet. CFM International is a joint venture between Snecma of France and General Electric Company of the US.

 

Business Times, Singapore (print edition)

Front page

 

Three Marina Bay sites up for sale

There is 310 ha (3.1 million sq m) of land at Marina South - and plans are under way to release it over time. Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan said yesterday the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is working with other agencies to seek investor feedback and interesting business concepts and ideas for three sites there.

 

Shell gives green light to $3bn S'pore petrochem plant

Oil giant Shell yesterday took the wraps off its hush-hush Houdini project - giving Singapore a multi-billion-dollar present just a fortnight from National Day on 9Aug. Shell flashed the green light to build another petrochemical cracker - estimated to cost about $3bn - that will be the fourth of its kind here.

 

Singapore Companies

 

APB shares shoot up 29% on talk of being privatised

Investors were betting that something was brewing at Asia Pacific Breweries (APB), sending its share price surging in afternoon trading yesterday to close 29.4% higher at a 52-week peak of S$14.10. Year-to-date, the stock is up 56.7%. The S$3.20 rise in the share price yesterday added some S$823m to the brewer's market capitalisation, which climbed to S$3.63bn.

 

Keppel Corp reports 47% jump in Q2 profit

World rig-building champion Keppel Corporation yesterday beat most analysts' forecasts by reporting a 47% jump in second-quarter net earnings to a record S$196m, thanks again to strong performances by Keppel Offshore & Marine, property division Keppel Land and associate Singapore Petroleum Company. The solid result, achieved on a 42% increase in revenue to S$1.65bn, took net earnings for the first six months to S$365.54m - 32% more than the previous corresponding half. Revenue for the first half was 39% higher at $3.19bn.

 

Bangkok Post, Thailand (online edition)

Front page

 

Chidchai favours military teachers in South
Thailand
's Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Minister Pol. Gen. Chidchai Vanasatidya said on Thursday that the government had thought of assigning soldiers and border patrol police deployed to keep the peace in the country's violence-plagued deep South into teachers as schools have always been targeted by militants. Pol. Gen. Chidchai told journalists that government forces in Narathiwat were still searching for the militants who shot a schoolteacher to death in front of his class earlier this week.

 

Court gives TRT more time to defend
Thailand's Constitution Court has extended the period of time for the ruling Thai Rak Thai (TRT) Party to submit its written pleas against prosecution leading to its dissolution. Paiboon Varahapaitoon, Secretary-General of the Constitution Court, said in a press conference on Thursday that the court agreed to give another 30 days, effective 1-30 August, for the TRT Party to submit its written clarifications before the trial on party dissolution begins.

 

Business & Industry

 

Phatra cuts growth forecast to 4%

Economic growth this year is expected to drop to 4% from earlier forecasts of 4.7%, according to Phatra Securities. Supavud Saicheua, the head of research at Phatra, said the new government was likely to focus on political reforms rather than stimulating economic growth and investment. State policy as a result was unlikely to be a major support for the economy over the next 18 months, he said at an investment briefing yesterday.

 

Firms remain uncertain despite election date

Business leaders remain hesitant to expand their operations as energy prices and domestic political uncertainties remain key risks for future growth, according to a new poll by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce. Notably, the poll found that 55.09% of business executives favoured Thai Rak Thai to form the next government, with only 31.36% projecting a victory for the Democrat Party.





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