11 May 2007 02:01 [Source: ICIS news]
Asahi Shimbun, Japan (online edition) ?xml:namespace>
Ex-LDP bigwig guilty of concealing donation
The Tokyo High Court on Thursday overturned a lower court ruling and found former Chief Cabinet Secretary Kanezo Muraoka guilty of concealing a 100-million-yen donation from a dentists group.
Muraoka, 75, was given a 10-month prison sentence, suspended for three years. He is expected to appeal the ruling.
FTC searches Yamada Denki for 'coercing suppliers'
Fair Trade Commission investigators on Thursday searched the head office and some outlets of Yamada Denki, the nation's largest electronics retailer, on suspicion it coerced suppliers into dispatching employees to work at Yamada.
According to sources, the company, based in Maebashi, is suspected of forcing some wholesalers and appliance makers, which are in weaker bargaining positions, to send their employees to work at its outlets at the suppliers' expense.
Business & Industry
Biofuel boom leading to price hikes of food products
Rising demand for plant-derived bioethanol has led to a shortage of cooking oil, pushing up prices of food products such as mayonnaise, and likely beef and even beer.
Corn and sugarcane are increasingly being grown as ingredients for the eco-friendly fuel, leaving makers of food products that use those or other crops with limited supplies.
Breweries to take on Asahi with new beers
With beer gardens set to open soon, the nation's leading brewers are drawing up battle plans for an assault on Asahi Breweries's latest beer, Gokuuma.
By the end of June, major players Kirin Brewery, Suntory and Sapporo Breweries will be fighting it out with Asahi Breweries in introducing a new malty version of "third category" beer.
Chinese, US economies closely linked – Randt
The economies of the United States and China are so inextricably entwined that if something bad happens to China it is going to negatively affect the US.
Similarly, what is good for the Chinese economy will be good for the long-term benefit of the US.
Bank to retain dollar reserves
The central bank said yesterday that the country will not sell large amounts of US dollar-denominated assets to diversify its foreign exchange reserves.
The People's Bank of China also warned of a risk of rising inflation and a rebound in investment as the economy steamed ahead in the first quarter, growing by 11.1% year on year.
Business & Industry
Hot market may cool: experts
The stock market continued to rise yesterday after a two-day bull run, sending the Shanghai Composite Index to a new high of 4,049.7 as analysts warned of a correction ahead.
The main indicator rose 36.6 points, or 0.91% yesterday, with 497 out of 907 stocks closing higher. The turnover on the Shanghai Stock Exchange was yuan (CNY) 207.7bn ($27.0bn), down from a record high of CNY255.3bn, set the day before.
Subsidy charge looms on textiles
Chinese textile manufacturers, already victims of overseas dumping charges and safeguard measures, now face a potential US countervailing investigation.
The US National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) is getting in touch with lawyers representing US paper enterprises, which initiated the first countervailing case against Chinese products, to launch similar charges against "Made in China" garments, according to China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Textiles (CCCT).
Dispute over SET TV footage rages on
The dispute over local cable TV station Sanlih E-Television's use of erroneous footage in a program documenting the 228 Incident was still raging in local political circles yesterday.
An SET TV broadcast in early March, explaining how the Kuomintang slaughtered Taiwanese people near Keelung harbour during the 228 Incident, used footage from a documentary about the Chinese Civil War between the KMT and Chinese Communist Party in Shanghai in 1948.
KMT to step up its media watch, official declares
A high-ranking official of the opposition Kuomintang said yesterday that the party will step up efforts to monitor certain media and take legal action in response to any libellous remarks directed at the KMT.
In making his point, Wu pointed a finger at Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Yu Shyi-kun, who last November accused the KMT of selling three of its affiliate companies, worth around New Taiwan dollar (NT$) 15.2bn ($456.6m), for just NT$400m, saying the sale amounted to a breach of trust and misappropriation.
Business & Industry
Experts explain why gas boycotts won't work
Gas boycott e-mails show up every year about this time, saying things like, "Don't buy gas on 15 May, and big oil will take a $2.2bn hit" or "Don't buy one brand for the rest of the year and the company will drop its prices, forcing others to do the same."
With gas prices breaking records, it may appear like an ideal time to participate in a revolt to bring gas prices crashing down.
ABN Amro's top financial officer resigns amid takeover quagmire
ABN Amro's chief financial officer said he would resign yesterday, as the battle to buy the Dutch bank bogged further down in legal disputes.
ABN said late Wednesday it would appeal a Dutch court ruling ordering it to freeze the sale of its US subsidiary LaSalle Bank to Bank of America, which has effectively gridlocked a takeover of ABN.
Lee makes it official
Presidential frontrunner Lee Myung-bak yesterday declared his candidacy for the party's primary elections ahead of the December presidential race.
"My aspiration is to become the CEO of this country. My dream as the national CEO is to build a country with a 7% economic growth, a $40,000 per capita income and also the world's seventh-largest economy," Lee said at a press conference at the GNP headquarters.
Park threatens boycott of GNP primary vote
Grand National Party presidential hopeful Park Geun-hye yesterday threatened that she could boycott the party's primary elections, fueling concerns about the GNP's breakup ahead of the December presidential race.
Political analysts say her remarks are intended to apply pressure on GNP leader Kang Jae-sup to retract his disputed proposal on the primary rules. However, they did not rule out Park leaving the party and running as an independent.
Business & Industry
Consumer confidence rises to 1-year high
Korea's consumers were more confident than at any time in the past year in April, suggesting they may increase spending and help boost economic growth.
The sentiment index rose to 100.1 from 97.8 in March, the National Statistical Office said yesterday, citing unadjusted figures. A reading higher than 100 indicates more people are optimistic than pessimistic.
Top regulator eyes body for cross-border transactions
Yoon Jeung-hyun, chairman of Korea's Financial Supervisory Commission, yesterday proposed a regional body to ensure cooperation among Asian regulators on cross-border financial transactions.
Small IPOs to face price band on listing
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) proposes to ask the stock exchanges to put circuit filters on the first day of listing of those companies with issue sizes up to Indian rupee (Rs) 2.0bn ($48.6m). A formal communication to this effect is expected shortly.
A circuit filter is a daily price band imposed by the exchanges on the price movement of listed securities. There is no circuit filter on the first day of listing, which is a price discovery day, and the prices of the securities can move freely without any limits.
Trai norms to make Net surfing dearer
Broadband connection users might have to pay more for Internet access if the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) accepts the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) recommendations to impose an annual licence fee for Internet service providers (ISPs).
Currently, ISPs pay only Rs1 as annual licence fee while Internet telecom service providers, or telecom operators providing Internet services, pay 6% of their annual gross revenue as licence fee.
Economy & Policy
Rising Rs eases pressure, fuel price hike unlikely
The rising rupee over the last three months has brought cheer to the oil marketing companies, who have together added around Rs2.5bn-3.0bn to their operating profits already.
Also, the over 8% rise in the rupee against the dollar is likely to discourage the government from raising petrol and diesel prices.
Overseas arms of Indian firms can get loans
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has permitted banks to give loans and non-funded credits to wholly-owned entities of overseas subsidiaries floated by Indian companies. The central bank has clarified that Indian companies must have more than a 51% stake in the overseas subsidiary.
SGX proposes key changes to listing rules
In the wake of an options back-dating scandal that has ripped through corporate America, regulators in Singapore are looking to head off any similar debacle here by increasing the transparency and accountability of stock-option grants.
Non-resident Indians worth over $1,000bn
The 20m Indians living abroad have accumulated wealth of more than $1,000bn, a figure noticeably higher than the country's GDP of about $850bn, a government committee has estimated.
Business & Industry
Wall St content with Fed's minimalist approach
Mum was the word on Wednesday when it came to the statement accompanying the US Federal Reserve's interest rate policy-making committee's decision to leave short-term rates unchanged at 5.25%. And that, it seems, is just the way Wall Street likes it.
Temasek takes 4.2% stake in Hup Soon Global
Temasek Holdings has taken a small stake in Hup Soon Global, a Sesdaq company which sells tractors and industrial parts - not a typical target for Singapore's much admired investment company.
According to sources, Temasek will be paying Singapore dollar (S$) 5.4m ($3.6m) for 15m shares at 36 cents apiece for its 4.2% stake in Hup Soon Global, an 'old economy' company owned by private equity investor Timothy Chia.
Rumours of rift won't go away
Council for National Security (CNS) chief Sonthi Boonyaratkalin is sure Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont harbours no ill-feelings against him for receiving a demand from activists seeking Gen Surayud's removal.
Gen Sonthi insisted that he did not even know beforehand the activists led by former MP Chaiwat Sinsuwong planned to submit a request seeking Gen Surayud's replacement when they met him.
Putting US-Thai relations on track
In recent weeks, Thailand has been feuding with government and industry officials in the United States. The good news is that some simple steps can be taken to reduce the tensions, which began between the two allies over the military coup last September.
After the coup, Thailand announced controls on foreign capital, restrictions on established business practices such as advertising in Thailand, and the breaking of patents on western-made medical technologies.
Business & Industry
Govt drops Google lawsuit
The Information and Communications Ministry has dropped the criminal lawsuit it planned to file against Google today after the internet giant officially informed Thailand that it will remove controversial video clips from its YouTube website. ICT Minister Sitthichai Pookaiyaudom said yesterday that he had received a letter from Google's vice-president Kent Walker to this effect.
MBK pays Bt25.31bn to renew lease
MBK Plc has agreed to pay baht (Bt) 25.31bn ($776.1m) for a new 20-year lease for its MBK Centre Building with Chulalongkorn University (CU), with annual rates approaching the total value of its original 30-year deal signed in 1983. MBK president Suvait Theeravachirakul said the first payment of Bt2.45bn would be made within 18 months after signing the contract. Shareholders' approval will be sought on 14 June and the deal is expected to be finalised in October.
For the latest chemical news, data and analysis that directly impacts your business sign up for a free trial to ICIS news - the breaking online news service for the global chemical industry.
Get the facts and analysis behind the headlines from our market leading weekly magazine: sign up to a free trial to ICIS Chemical Business.
|ICIS news FREE TRIAL|
|Get access to breaking chemical news as it happens.|
|ICIS Global Petrochemical Index (IPEX)|
|ICIS Global Petrochemical Index (IPEX). Download the free tabular data and a chart of the historical index|