Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Star Online: Business

Posted: 28 Jan 2014 03:21 PM PST

SINGAPORE/PARIS: Vietnamese carrier VietJetAir said it would finalise a $9 billion order for up to 92 Airbus aircraft next month as it seeks to tap into Southeast Asia's fast growing low-cost market dominated by AirAsia Bhd and Lion Air.

In September, privately owned VietJetAir and Airbus agreed a provisional order for mostly A320 planes, but the deal did not show up on the order book of Airbus in its 2013 data.

"VietJetAir will sign a purchasing agreement with Airbus in Singapore next month to buy 92 aircraft," said Luu Duc Khanh, VietJetAir's managing director, confirming an earlier Reuters report.

"Signing the MOU last year was our initial step and this is a next step to make our development plan comes true," he told Reuters.

A firm order is seen as a strong indication of future revenue for airplane manufacturers and triggers a deposit from airlines. Airlines mainly pay for aircraft when they take delivery and usually win significant discounts for large orders.

The latest deal worth $9 billion at list prices, includes firm orders for 62 medium-haul jets as well as options for 30 more. VietJetAir, an existing A320 operator, has said it also plans to lease eight more Airbus planes.

Vietnam's fledgling airline industry is poised to boom as local competition heats up with fleet expansions, new routes and planned share offerings that are set to make it one of the world's three fastest-growing markets. State-run flag carrier Vietnam Airlines dominates the local market.

An Airbus spokesman in Singapore said: "We don't comment on discussions that may or may not be taking place with customers or reports of potential announcements."

VietJetAir, which has been flying since December 2011, offers domestic flights and also flies to Bangkok. It has ambitious plans to develop into a regional airline, taking advantage of a boom in regional air travel.

Malaysia's AirAsia Bhd and Indonesia's Lion Air have similarly announced bold plans to expand their fleets and have captured market share from full service airlines.

A source familiar with the situation said the Airbus-VietJetAir deal would be one of the big orders to come out of the Singapore Airshow which starts on Feb. 9.

The aircraft will be delivered in phases over 10-12 years, with VietJetAir set to take delivery of the first few aircraft in the last quarter of this year, the source said.

The source did not wish to be identified as he was not authorised to speak to the media.- Reuters

Posted: 28 Jan 2014 07:29 PM PST MILWAUKEE: A 300-year-old Stradivarius worth millions of dollars was stolen from a concert violinist by thieves who shot the musician with an electric stun gun just after he had performed with the instrument in suburban Milwaukee, police said on Tuesday.

"It appears the violin was the primary target of this robbery," Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn told reporters, adding that the two thieves were seen fleeing the scene of the crime in a minivan.

The so-called Lipinski Stradivarius, an instrument made in 1715 and distinguished by unique striations on its back, was stolen on Monday night at a college campus in Wauwatosa, immediately west of Milwaukee, Flynn said.

The instrument was on loan to violinist Frank Almond of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra when it was taken from him following a performance, Flyn said.

Police said Almond was subdued with a stun gun fired at him by one of the thieves, who then jumped into the waiting getaway vehicle driven by another suspect.

Violins such as the one stolen can sell for $5 million to $10 million, Flynn said. He added that the FBI has entered the Lipinski into its international art theft database.

"This violin is very valuable, but very valuable to a very small population," Flynn said in a news conference carried by ABC affiliate WISN on its website. "This is not something that can be easily sold for even a fraction of its monetary value."

Milwaukee Orchestra president Mark Niehaus said rare instruments such as the stolen Stradivarius are in circulation because they "need to be played to live on."

The missing instrument is one of roughly 600 violins, violas and cellos built by the famed Italian maker Antonio Stradivari that are still in existence.

Korean-born classical musician Min-Jin Kym's 300-year-old Stradivarius violin was snatched in November 2010 when she stopped at a London restaurant to buy a sandwich. That instrument was found three years later and sold at auction for $2.3 million in December, according to the BBC.

A rare Stradivarius violin that once belonged to the granddaughter of English poet Lord Byron sold for $15.9 million in 2011 at a charity auction for Japanese disaster relief.- Reuters

Posted: 28 Jan 2014 07:26 PM PST

As Olympics loom, NBC leads in the race for prized viewers

(Reuters) -Corp's NBC network, for years a ratings laggard, is ahead in a key contest among broadcasters even before it attracts millions of viewers this month to its marquee event, the Winter Olympics. "The Blacklist," which starsas a master criminal who helps the FBI, and the second-year drama "Chicago Fire" have pushed NBC into the lead among viewers 18 to 49, the group most prized by advertisers.

faces damning criticism over failed $170 million digital project

(Reuters) - Thecame under fire on Tuesday for botching a 100 million pound ($170 million) digital project in the latest of a series of reports to criticize top management for their running of Britain's publicly funded broadcaster. Public spending watchdog the(NAO) said executives led by then Director General Mark Thompson, nowCompany chief executive, failed to realize in time that the Digital Media Initiative was in trouble.

British PM Cameron's ex-media chief knew of phone-hacking, court hears

(Reuters) - The former media chief to British Prime Ministerlistened to a hacked voicemail revealing an affair between two leading actors and declared it "brilliant" when he was editor of , aheard on Tuesday. , a former reporter and self-confessed prolific phone hacker on thetabloid, saidwas one of 10 senior figures on the now-defunct paper who knew how he intercepted voicemails to generate front page stories.

in talks toto Cox -sources

(Reuters) -Corp, the No. 1 U.S. cable operator, is in advanced discussions about licensing its "X1" videoto Cox Communications, the third-largest cable operator, according to people familiar with the matter.Chief Executive Brian Roberts said on January 7 that the company is looking to license its latestto other cable operators.has been in talks to provide Cox with a "white label" version of the product without using 's Xfinity product name, two sources said.

saysreporter broke visa rules, will leave

(Reuters) -said on Monday that a -based reporter forbroke rules on residence visas and would be leaving the country before the end of the week, in a case which could sour 's relations with Washington. The issue of media freedom for foreign reporters inhas attracted high-level concern in the , especially over worries that the government is denying visas for organizations that carry negative stories about .

Rivals DirecTV and Dish team up to sell customized political ads

(Reuters) - DirecTV and Dish Network Corp, the largest U.S.providers that usually compete for customers, announced on Monday that they have joined forces to sell customized ads in a bid to gain a slice of $3.4 billion political ad market dominated by local broadcasters. Both companies have been in a push to sell so-called addressable ads, which are targeted to their subscribers, based on data about their households.

Ex-journalist admits hacking at Murdoch paper, rival Sunday Mirror

(Reuters) - A former journalist on 's now defuncttabloid and its rival Sunday Mirror has admitted conspiring to hack into hundreds of phones to get exclusive stories about celebrities.toldon Monday he had been a prolific phone-hacker and that , one of Murdoch's ex-editors and later Prime Minister 's media chief, had known what he did before employing him.

Twenty-First Century Fox to take majority stake in

(Reuters) - Twenty-First Century Fox Inc said it would take control of Yankees Entertainment and Sports (YES) Network, by raising its stake to 80 percent from 49 percent. Twenty-First Century Fox, which first acquired its stake inin 2012, said the remaining 20 percent stake will continue to be held by .

eyes Time Warner Cable'smarkets: source

NEW YORK (Reuters) - No 1 cable provider , in its talks with Charter about a possible deal to acquire parts of Time Warner Cable, would be interested in an agreement that givesthe New York market and parts of , a person familiar with the matter said on Friday. Discussions betweenCorp andInc have gotten more substantive in recent days, partly becausefelt takeover target Time Warner Cable was seeking too high a price for itself, the person said on Friday.

Fox scores with Hispanic TV, online ad sales for Super Bowl

(Reuters) - Twenty First Century Fox, whose Fox network is getting an average of $4 million for a 30-second spot on its sold-out Super Bowl telecast, has almost reached that mark on its Spanish-language channel and online video stream. Fox should have sold nearly 90 percent of available advertising time on Fox Deportes by the time theandtake the field on February 2, said, executive vice president of advertising sales at Fox Hispanic Media.

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