Business Briefs: Toyota lowers production for third month

Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s No. 1 automaker, reported Friday that its global production in November fell for the third straight month, even as Japanese rivals Nissan and Honda expanded output. Toyota, whose reputation took a hit this year from massive recalls, said its worldwide production fell 8.7 percent from a year earlier to 656,924 vehicles. Production outside Japan rose 0.3 percent thanks to higher output in South Africa and elsewhere in Asia. The maker of the Corolla and Prius hybrid recorded a 9.4 percent fall in exports and a 35 percent slide in domestic sales .

Enron auditors in license fight

To many in the accounting world, Carl Bass is a hero. Long before Enron became a worldwide symbol of scandal, Bass told his supervisors at Arthur Andersen LLP that something was amiss with the Houston energy giant. But the Texas state board that licenses accountants sees Bass differently. Nearly a decade after Enron collapsed, the work of Bass and another former Andersen partner, Thomas Bauer, is still being debated in a highly contentious proceeding. The Texas State Board of Public Accountancy has stripped Bass and Bauer of their CPA licenses after determining they violated professional standards. But the pair has pushed back with a legal challenge that led a judge to rule that the revocations should be voided because the board violated the Texas Open Meetings Act. The revocations remain in effect during an appeal which could take at least a year.

GE to sell mortgage portfolio in Mexico

GE Capital will sell its $2 billion Mexican consumer mortgage portfolio to Grupo Financiero Santander Mexico, in the latest sale of real estate assets for a business that was stung badly by it during the recession. The lending unit of Fairfield, Conn.-based General Electric Co. will receive about $170 million, according to a company official who wasn’t authorized to talk about the deal. GE has provided consumer mortgages in Mexico since 2002. The sale of its Mexican consumer mortgage business is part of a push to shrink its balance sheet by dumping non-strategic businesses that lack scale. GE said Friday it plans to continue investing in “core industrial and commercial finance platforms,” including those in Mexico.

Japan Cabinet OKs budget to boost jobs

Japan’s Cabinet approved a record $1.11 trillion budget plan on Friday, aimed at creating jobs and injecting life into the economy. The budget for next fiscal year, which starts in April, includes measures to provide more education for new job seekers and drive innovation in green energy. Parliament must still approve the budget, and even though the chamber is growing increasingly fractious, the ruling party’s majority in the lower house makes it likely to pass. The budget reflects the ruling party’s promise to keep new bond issuance below the level for the this year.

From Herald news services