Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Ambramovich to acquire 40% of Highland Gold

Russia’s richest main, Mr Roman Abramovich, will acquire a 40% interest in Highland Gold Mining Ltd for $400 million (£200 million) by subscribing to a new share issue in Russia's fourth-largest gold miner. Highland Gold, which produced 3.2% of Russia's gold last year, has seen its London-listed stock plummet to a record low this year after falling short of production targets and the disposal of a mine where 25 people died in a fire in 2006.

The financial and political clout of the billionaire helping Highland Gold Mining Ltd to fulfill expansion plans and acquire more assets in Russia has helped Highland's stock rose on Tuesday to its highest in over seven months. Gold prices hit a 28-year high last month as oil rose toward the $100 (£50) milestone and the dollar sank to record lows against the Euro. Russia has gold reserves second only to South Africa's, but ranks only sixth in terms of output. (The Guardian)

The world’s biggest Finland-based mobile handset maker, Nokia, is set to go head-to-head with iTunes to offer free music downloads to buyers of its new music phones. Nokia has announced a deal with Universal Music to provide the label's releases, and aims to ship more than 180 million music-enabled phones in 2008.

The company's intention to expand into music will be of concern to Apple, which dominates the digital music market with its iTunes online download store. Nokia’s executive vice-president and general manager for multimedia, Mr Anssi Vanjoki said: "Even if you listened to music 24 hours a day, seven days a week, you would still only scratch the surface of the music that we're making available," The company added that it was in discussions with a number of other record labels regarding the use of their material.

Meanwhile, at its annual investor day Nokia forecast that the overall market for mobile phone sales would grow by around 10 per cent next year. Last week the world's number two mobile maker, Samsung Electronics, estimated market growth of 12%. Nokia added that it expects margins of 20% from its phones and services business over the next couple of years and aims to increase market share.

Shares in Nokia fell around 4% on the margins announcement, with investors expecting a more positive forecast from its key business. (source: Timesonline)

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