The Multinational Monitor


N E W S   R O U N D U P

Aborigines OK Getty

The Getty Oil Company and Pancontinental, an Australian firm, announced on August 12 that they were granted a lease to develop a large uranium deposit in the Northern Territory of Australia.

The lease has been held up for 18 months while the Aboriginal owners of the land debated whether to allow the companies to mine on their land.

An official of the Northern Lands Council, the group which represents the Aborigines, said that the companies agreed to pay an undisclosed sum in royalties to the traditional landowners and to abide by the environmental safeguards of the Australian government.

IBM bombed in Honduras

IBM's corporate headquarters were bombed on the night of August 4 by a guerrilla group calling for "an end to Yankee intervention in Central America." According to Hank Gordon, a spokesperson for IBM, three employees working late suffered minor cuts from flying glass.

IBM has sales operations in Honduras; it does not manufacture products there.

Goodyear's Guatemala debt

After the president of Goodyear's Guatemalan subsidiary, Ginsa Tire, was kidnapped by guerillas in December, 1980, and found dead eight months later, the company hushed up an agreement it made with the former employee's widow.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the widow, Mrs. Louise Bevens, had threatened to sue the company. To head off litigation, Goodyear paid $1,250,000 to Mr. Bevens' estate.

Exxon gets Exim help

The U.S. government's Export-Import Bank announced in mid-August that it was lending $375 million to the Colombian state coal company for a joint venture Colombia has with Exxon. The project, called El Cerrejon, the largest industrial development in Colombia's history, has been criticized by Colombians as a giveaway to foreign companies (see MM, December 1980).

Exxon holds a 50% stake in the joint venture and is the operator; the Idaho-based Morrison-Knudson company is the construction manager.

The Eximbank loan is designed "to maximize U.S. procurement for the project," Exim chairman William Draper said in a July 13 letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

As is the case with Exim loans, the government receiving the loan must spend the money to procure goods and services from U.S. companies. The Colombian loan, Draper wrote, will bring "benefits to U.S. output and employment and to the U.S. trade balance." I

Arco's Indonesian deaths

An offshore oil rig of the Atlantic Richfield (ARCO) company had a gas pipe explosion in mid-August, killing three employees and seriously wounding three others, Reuters reported.

Schering-Plough owes $

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service has notified the drug company, Schering-Plough, that it owes $117 million to the U.S. government for tax avoidance.

The IRS claims that Schering-Plough, between 1976 and 1978, reported more profits in Puerto Rico than it actually made there. Since Puerto Rico provides more tax exemptions than the U.S., Schering-Plough got away with paying less taxes, says the IRS.

The company denies the charge.

This is not the first time the IRS has accused Schering-Plough of using its Puerto Rican subsidiaries to dodge U.S. taxes. In December 1980, the IRS sought $65 million for underpaid taxes from 1972-1975. This claim has not yet been settled.

Searle grows in Brazil

The G.D. Searle company announced on August 22 that it was acquiring a major Brazilian drug company, Laboratorios Andromaco. With this acquisition, Searle becomes the third largest drug company in Brazil.

In 1981, Brazil had total drug sales of $1.2 billion. It is the ninth largest pharmaceutical market in the world.

"Karl Marx or Jesus Christ"

The right wing attack continues against church groups that express social concerns.

This time the shots come not from Fortune (see MM, February 1981), nor from the Wall Street Journal, but from the popular monthly, Reader's Digest.

In its August issue, Reader's Digest ran a story lambasting the World Council of Churches, an activist religious organization, which has operated a program on transnational corporations (see MM, August 1982).

Entitled "Which master is the World Council of Churches serving. . . Karl Marx or Jesus Christ," the article, written by Joseph Harriss, accuses the World Council of Churches of "increasingly aggressive involvement in politics" and "financial support of violence."

U.S. church leaders affiliated with the World Council of Churches denounced the article as "biased and unfairly negative."

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