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In Brief

In Brief

Barry Callebaut eyeing Asia market
Barry Callebaut, the world's largest chocolate producer, will acquire a 60 percent stake in Malaysia's KL Kepong Cocoa Products as part of its expansion in Asia, the two companies said yesterday.
The partnership will allow the Zurich-based company to establish its cocoa business in Asia and give KL Kepong Cocoa a global platform to expand, according to a joint statement.
"The chocolate market in Asia-Pacific is expected to grow by more than 30 percent in volume over the next four years and we want to participate in this growth," said Patrick De Maeseneire, Barry Callebaut's chief executive. "With our rapidly growing chocolate business in Asia, we have an equally growing need for cocoa products. In that regard Asia has been a blank spot on the map for us that we wanted to fill," he said.
Production falls
Japan's industrial production dropped 1.2 percent in February from the previous month as demand decreased for electronic parts, the government said yesterday.
The data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry marked the second straight month of decline, but was better than the 2.2 percent fall expected by economists surveyed by Dow Jones and Nikkei.
The latest numbers add to growing fears that a slowdown in the U.S. due to the credit crunch could weigh on Japanese manufacturers and exports. Shipments slipped 2.6 percent, while inventories rose 0.1 percent, the ministry said.
Lower production in Japan of pulp, paper and paper products, as well as of transportation equipment also contributed to the fall, it said.
Not so exclusive
The Cuban government has allowed the country's nationals to check into the Communist island's hotels previously reserved exclusively for foreigners, hotel employees confirmed yesterday.
"Yes, we have received such instructions, and they are already in effect," an employee of the Copacabana Hotel, who wished to remain anonymous, told Agence France-Presse.
The reform introduced by the new government of Raul Castro was also confirmed at the Cuban capital's Nacional, Victoria, President and Melia-Habana Hotels.
But Cubans wishing to stay at these four- or five-star places will have to pay for their rooms in hard currency, just as foreign guests.


Updated : 2021-10-26 04:13 GMT+08:00