BUSINESS IN BRIEFS

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LOPEZ GROUP Q1 PROFIT DIPS 64%
The holding firm of Lopez Group recorded a lower profit in the first quarter of this year, earning P1 billion attributable to equity holders of the parent firm, or a 64-percent decline from the P2.752 billion registered in the same period in 2012. According to the Lopez Holdings Corp., the decline in its profit was from the absence of a gain on its sale of investment in equity securities. Earlier, its subsidiary First Philippine Holdings Corp. sold a 2.66-percent stake, or a total of 30 million shares in Manila Electric Co.
MADELAINE B. MIRAFLOR

AGRINURTURE EXPANDING FARMS
Listed food exporter AgriNurture Inc. (ANI) is expanding its banana plantation and cold-storage facilities nationwide to maintain food quality and further boost sales in export markets. “We are aggressive in terms of expanding our banana plantation and cold storage, easily our capital expenditure for that would be about P1 billion,” ANI Chairman Antonio Tiu said on the sidelines of the International Food Exhibition 2013. Recently, the company acquired a 1,000-hectare banana plantation in Mindanao.
JAMES KONSTANTIN GALVEZ

PACKAGING FIRM IN TAX CHARGES
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on Thursday filed tax-evasion charges with the Department of Justice against a packaging company. In a statement, the bureau said that it pressed charges against Megapack Container Corp. and its president, Salvador Lara, for its alleged willful attempt to evade or defeat taxes for taxable year 2009 and 2010. Located at Caloocan City, the firm also allegedly failed to supply correct and accurate information in its quarterly income-tax returns for taxable year 2009, quarterly value-added tax (vat) returns for taxable year 2010 and its monthly vat returns for taxable year 2010. MAYVELIN U. CARABALLO

MINDANAO FOOD FIRMS JOIN IFEX
More than 70 Mindanao-based food producers, processors and exporters will be featured in this year’s International Food Exhibit (Ifex), the country’s largest food showcase that will gather over 700 food exporters and global buyers from key regions and cities in Asia. “We wanted to take this opportunity via Ifex as a platform. These Mindanao products to really gain wider share of market opportunities abroad,” said Romeo Montenegro, director, investment and pubic affairs office of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA). Luwalhati Antonio, chairperson of MinDA, said that in addition to the sales that will be generated by the Mindanao participants, the larger and long-term goal of Mindanao’s participation to Ifex is to achieve international recognition from its Asian counterparts and to close business deals with them.
ROSALIE C. PERIABRAS


JAPANESE ECONOMY GROWS IN Q1
TOKYO: Japan said on Thursday that its economy grew again in the quarter to March, pointing to a recovery as Tokyo and its hand-picked central bank team set about stoking the world’s third-largest economy. The 0.9 percent on-quarter growth—or 3.5 percent on an annualized basis if the data were stretched over a year—confirmed Japan’s exit from recession as consumers spent more, although the nation’s cautious firms did not follow suit. The data was seen by some observers as an early mark of success for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s bid to stimulate the long-stagnant economy with a policy prescription of big government spending and aggressive central bank easing.
AFP

GOOGLE ROLLS OUT MUSIC SERVICE
SAN FRANCISCO: Google on Wednesday rolled out a music service for smartphones and tablets powered by its free Android software in a challenge to streaming radio firms such as Pandora and Spotify. The launch of Google Play All Access came at the kickoff of a packed developers conference, which features a range of improvements to the Internet giant’s products, and saw a surprise appearance by chief executive Larry Page. “We are here because we share a deep sense of optimism about the potential for technology to improve people lives,” said Page, taking the stage to applause a day after disclosing he had been diagnosed with partially paralyzed vocal cords. “Everything I read about Google is us versus some other company or some stupid thing,” he continued.
AFP

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