Morning business round-up: Thailand's economy grows

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What made the business news in Asia and Europe this morning? Here's our daily business round-up:

Thailand's economy has grown by 3% in the first three months of 2011, helped by increases in both exports and consumer spending.

This growth from a year earlier compares with a 3.8% rise in the last three months of 2010, said the National Economic and Social Development Board.

A couple of Japanese firms are still experiencing the fall-out from the 11 March earthquake and tsunami.

Workers at Honda plants in Japan will take 14 days off between June and August because of continuing disruption caused by March's disaster.

That month's earthquake and tsunami have created a parts shortage which has in turn hit vehicle production.

Workers will take an extra day off in June, 10 more in July and three in August.

Japanese electronics giant Sony says it expects to report an annual loss of $3.2bn (£2bn), after previously predicting a return to profit.

Sony had earlier indicated it would make a $860m profit in the financial year to the end of March.

Media caption,

Biz Heads

In the UK banks are on course to miss targets for the amount of lending to small and medium-sized (SMEs) companies.

Figures from the Bank of England show that in the first three months of 2011, the "big five" loaned £16.8bn to SMEs.

Under a deal called Project Merlin, the banks agreed with the government to raise lending to SMEs to £76bn in 2011 - which equates to £19bn a quarter.

Small firms say a credit freeze is hurting them, but the Merlin banks said the data shows a determination to lend.

Meanwhile, MPs said they still have "significant concerns" about Kraft's takeover of Cadbury according to a report.

The Business, Innovation and Skills Committee also criticised Kraft's chief executive for her "regrettably dismissive attitude" in refusing to give evidence to the panel.

The MPs said Kraft's attitude "steered close to a contempt of the House".

Kraft, which bought Cadbury for £11.5bn in February 2010, said it had "been a good steward" of the company.

Irish budget carrier Ryanair has reported a 374m euros ($525m; £325m) annual profit, a 23% rise.

But the airline says high fuel cost, and a lack of growth in capacity, will mean no increase in profit next year.

It envisages a 4% growth in passenger numbers in 2012, to 75 million, and said that average fares would rise in line with increased fuel costs.

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