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Business Briefs

Tea prices to rise

Calcutta, Nov. 9: Tea prices are likely to rise because of lower domestic CTC production and a shortage of the orthodox variety in the global market. A slump in CTC production means exporters will be able to charge more; in orthodox, domestic output is higher but insufficient with respect to the world demand, leading to higher prices. “Indications from tea growing areas show that production of orthodox tea in north India, which is primarily absorbed by the export market, is higher by 7 million kg till the end of August,” said Amit Chaudhuri, chairman and managing director of J Thomas & Co Ltd.

Drug case

New York, Nov. 9: Merck, the maker of the painkiller Vioxx, has agreed to pay $4.85 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits in one of the largest civil cases ever, according to published reports today. The drugmaker faced about 26,600 lawsuits representing 47,000 plaintiffs, and about 265 potential class action cases filed by people or family members who claimed the drug proved fatal or injured its users.

Realty focus

New Delhi, Nov. 9: Property buyers are eyeing Tier II cities. Kunal Banerji, president, marketing and corporate communications, Ansal API, said, “Around 60 per cent of the 7,000 acres that we are developing in north India are mostly in Tier II cities.”

Khaitan plan

Calcutta, Nov. 9: The BM Khaitan group plans acquisitions to take its turnover to Rs 2,000 crore by 2010. The group is looking at acquisitions for four of its companies, including flagship Eveready Industries. “Going ahead, we want 50 per cent of our turnover to come from the non-battery business,” Eveready vice-chairman and managing director Deepak Khaitan said.

Rio bid

Sydney, Nov. 9: Rio Tinto’s rejection of a $140-billion all-share offer from BHP Billiton is likely to trigger rival bids from resource companies awash with cash from record commodity and stock prices.

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