Archive for May, 2011

Coca-Cola eyes China listing: report

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 | Finance News

HONG KONG (AFP) – US soft-drinks giant Coca-Cola is considering listing on the Shanghai stock exchange as China's main bourse moves toward launching an international board, a report said Wednesday.

The Hong Kong Economic Journal quoted a company spokesman as saying it is "interested in exploring the opportunity of listing our stock on the Shanghai exchange."

"We continue to have positive discussions with Chinese government officials as we look at this opportunity," Geoff Walsh, Coca-Cola's public affairs and communications director for Asia-Pacific, told the paper.

Walsh could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday.

In October, the firm opened three bottling plants in China's Inner Mongolia region at a cost of about $246 million, part of its three-year, $2 billion expansion plan in the country, the report said.

Coca-Cola's stock currently trades on the New York stock exchange.

The larger of China's two bourses has been pushing forward with plans to see foreign firms list as part of a long-term strategy to turn Shanghai into an international financial hub.

Asia-focused banking giant HSBC, which is headquartered in London, said last year it was aiming to raise a "significant amount" from its bid to be the first international company to list in Shanghai.

Currently, no foreign companies can list in the domestic stock market.

Beijing, which has yet to unveil rules governing how foreign companies can sell shares in China, said previously that it would eventually allow qualified foreign firms to list in Shanghai. No timeline for the foreign board, which was announced in 2009, has been provided.

A listing in China is attractive because it would give foreign firms access to the nation's massive local currency deposits, and help companies with China operations boost awareness of their brands.


Oil near $103 amid falling dollar, rising stocks

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 | Finance News

SINGAPORE – Oil prices inched higher to near $103 a barrel Wednesday in Asia as traders mulled whether a weakening dollar could help push crude back to 2 1/2-year highs.

Benchmark oil for July delivery was up 23 cents to $102.93 a barrel at midday Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added $2.11 to settle at $102.70 on Tuesday.

In London, Brent crude for July delivery was up 6 cents to $116.79 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

Crude has risen from $96 last week as a falling dollar made commodities cheaper for investors with other currencies. The euro rose to $1.4421 on Wednesday from $1.4397 late Tuesday while the dollar fell to 81.18 yen from 81.51.

"The dollar now seems to be on course to test the lows seen at the end of April," Cameron Hanover said in a report. "If that's the case, we could see stocks and oil prices also advance to test their late April highs."

Oil reached near $115 a barrel on May 2, the highest since September 2008.

A U.S. stock market rally also helped boost crude. Traders often look to equity markets as a barometer of overall investor sentiment. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 1 percent Tuesday and most Asian stock indexes were up slightly Wednesday.

In other Nymex trading in June contracts, heating oil was steady at $3.05 a gallon and gasoline rose slightly to $3.03 a gallon. Natural gas futures dropped slightly to $4.66 per 1,000 cubic feet.


Toyota recalls 105,784 Prius cars to fix gearbox, steering

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 | Finance News

TOKYO (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) said on Wednesday it will recall 105,784 early model Prius cars in Japan and overseas to fix a fault with the model's steering and gearbox.

The recall will affect all its first generation Prius cars, which it launched in 1997. At home the notice covers 47,784 vehicles, with a further 52,000 in the United States. Toyota sold the remainder in the UK and Germany, a company spokeswoman said.

Last month Toyota extended its Prius line up with the launch of the Prius Alpha including a two-row, five-seater version and a three-row, seven-seater version.

Toyota wants to sell at least 1 million hybrid vehicles globally a year by mid-decade.

Toyota also recalled 33,636 iQ small cars, 21,636 of which it sold in Japan between 2008 and 2009.

Toyota declined to say how much the recall will cost.

(Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)