Airbus compromise mulled
Airbus SA was discussing a compromise on aircraft production aimed at breaking a deadlock over job cuts ahead of a summit meeting between French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday, a union source said on Thursday. The source said the proposal drawn up by Airbus chief Louis Gallois would offer Germany a greater share of work on the next generation of A320 single-aisle jet in exchange for toning down a demand for more work on the upcoming 10 billion euro (US$13 billion) A350 plane. "The Germans were pushing for too much on the A350, it would have meant the end of the Saint-Nazaire and Nantes plants [in France]," said the source.
EU closing in on US
The EU is narrowing its innovation gap with the US and Japan, although performances vary widely among the bloc's members, a study found on Thursday. "The US and Japan are still ahead of the EU-25 in terms of innovation performance, but the innovation gap between the EU-25 and Japan, and in particular with the US is decreasing," the study for the European Commission found. Denmark, Finland, Germany and Sweden won the highest marks for innovation in the latest annual scoreboard, prepared by the Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology. The four were considered to be "innovation leaders" along with Switzerland, it said.
Coles up for sale again
Australia's second largest retailer Coles Group put itself back on the market yesterday, saying it was considering selling the business after several informal approaches were made to its advisors. Coles said it would review the options for the company and its businesses, which include supermarkets and department stores, during the next six months. Chairman Rick Allert refused to name any parties which had approached Coles but said the company had received advice that the company's value remained above A$15.25 per share.
Tokyo, London in alliance
The Tokyo and London stock exchanges said yesterday that they had agreed to work on a business alliance aimed at boosting their international presence. The two exchange operators said they would consider creating new jointly traded products and schemes to encourage access by member firms to each other's markets with the eventual aim of round-the-clock trading. They will also share information on technology. "Taking into consideration the environment surrounding market operators, it is critical for us to explore satisfying [the] exchange's various stakeholders," Tokyo Stock Exchange chief executive Taizo Nishimuro said in a statement.
China WTO filing possible
Washington might file a case with the WTO unless China takes more action soon to reduce piracy and counterfeiting of US goods, the top US trade official said on Thursday. "We are all going to run out of patience at some point and that will be, I suspect, sooner rather than later," US Trade Representative Susan Schwab said in an interview taped for C-SPAN's Newsmakers programs. Earlier this month, the International Intellectual Property Alliance -- a coalition of US industry groups -- estimated they lost US$2.2 billion in China last year because of piracy.
Wei heads to new WTO post
Taiwan's outgoing deputy representative to the EU and Belgium will soon leave for Geneva to assume his new post as deputy representative to the WTO. Wei Ko-ming (魏可銘), a seasoned trade negotiator who served as deputy head of the Board of Foreign Trade, was scheduled to depart Brussels yesterday, ending more than four years as Taiwan's second highest-ranking official stationed in the EU and Belgium. Wei will fill the post left vacant by John Deng (鄧振中) who has been serving as Taiwan's deputy representative to the US since late last June.
Malaysia touts Johor State
Malaysia yesterday voiced confidence it will attract billions of dollars in global investments to turn its Johor State into a metropolis similar to China's Shenzhen or Hong Kong. Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the state neighboring Singapore was expected to draw investors from the Middle East, the Americas and Asia. "Our 20-year plan is to attract US$105 billion, and 50 billion ringgit (US$13.6 billion) in the next five years," he said yesterday. The Iskandar Development Region will be 2.5 times the size of Singapore and cover 2,217km2.
Subaru models recalled
Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd is recalling more than 850 Subaru passenger vehicles over possible brake system flaws, the company said in a statement yesterday. The recall covers two Subaru models Impeza compact car and Forester wagon, but it was not immediately known if any exports are included. Improper fitting of the air cleaner case could trigger vibrations while the car is being driven, and its parts could rub against or damage the brake pipe, the company said. The problem, in worst cases, could cause brake fluid to leak and braking functions to fail, Fuji Heavy said. The recall may be expanded to 4,100 of the models that had been exported to the US, Europe and Australia.
Sony doles out PS3 freebies
Sony is giving away freebies to woo buyers to the new PlayStation 3 video game machine whose hefty price appears to be scaring away shoppers. The latest giveaway from the Japanese electronics and entertainment company is being promised for the Australia launch for the PlayStation 3 set for March 23 -- a Blu-ray Disc version of the Sony Pictures James Bond movie Casino Royale, for the first 20,000 Australian PS3 buyers. The PlayStation 3 costs a hefty A$999.95 (US$790) for the 60 gigabyte hard drive version. It costs US$600 (euro460) in the US. Nintendo Co's surprise hit Wii is being snatched up and has been out of stock at some stores, and at US$250 is widely welcomed by families as a bargain.
From the customer’s perspective, car rental is a straightforward business. The only uncertainty is whether the hire company will charge you for the scratch they discover when you hand back the vehicle. Hertz Global Holdings Inc’s bankruptcy protection filing on Friday last week was a reminder that today even the simplest business models are underpinned by a lot more financial complexity than meets the eye. The proximate cause of Hertz’s demise was of course the sudden collapse in bookings caused by COVID-19 travel restrictions. The company’s monthly revenue last month fell 73 percent year-on-year, a shortfall that even the most resilient
Uber Technologies Inc, Lyft Inc and Airbnb Inc have slashed thousands of jobs. Salesforce.com Inc and Visa Inc are letting employees work remotely for months; Twitter Inc and Square Inc are allowing them to do so for good. For the companies’ hometown of San Francisco, the moves are early signs of a dire blow. In a city with a long history of booms, busts and natural calamities, the COVID-19 pandemic has suddenly upended nearly a decade of prosperity. While municipalities across the US are grappling with economic fallout from the virus, San Francisco stands to take a deeper hit given its high
BULK PURCHASE: The French chain and Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm International reached a deal covering 224 stores, which is expected to be finalized by year’s end Carrefour SA yesterday announced it would acquire Wellcome Taiwan Co (惠康百貨) for 97 million euros (US$108.33 million), and bring all the Wellcome supermarkets (頂好超市) and Jasons Market Place stores nationwide under its banner within 12 months of the deal closing. The France-based hypermarket chain reached an agreement with Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm International Holdings (牛奶國際控股), the pan-Asian retailer that launched Wellcome Taiwan in 1987. The transaction involves 199 Wellcome supermarkets, which have average sales areas of 420m2 and 25 high-end Jasons Market Place stores, which have an average sales area of 820m2, as well as a warehouse in Taoyuan, Carrefour Taiwan (家樂福)
‘ONE-STOP SHOP’: A Miaoli official said that the factory in the Jhunan section of the Hsinchu Science Park would create more than 1,000 jobs and boost prosperity A new high-end IC packaging and testing plant planned by contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) in Miaoli County is expected to start operations in the middle of next year, Miaoli County Commissioner Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) said. Hsu wrote on Facebook that TSMC, the world’s largest pure wafer foundry operator, would invest NT$303.2 billion (US$10.1 billion) to build the plant, the largest-ever single investment in Taiwan. However, TSMC declined to disclose the financial terms of the deal, while a company board meeting on May 12 approved a spending plan worth NT$168.2 billion as part of its investment plans. Construction of the