Sun, Dec 14, 2008 - Page 11 News List

Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ AVIATION

China Eastern head replaced

The chairman and president of China Eastern Airlines (中國東方航空), one of several major state-owned carriers, have been replaced as part of a government-managed shake-up of the troubled industry. Liu Shaoyong (劉紹勇), chairman of rival China Southern Airlines (中國南方航空), was appointed to replace Shanghai-based China Eastern’s chairman Li Fenghua (李豐華), the carrier said in a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. More recently, the airline was the subject of speculation that it might merge with local rival Shanghai Airlines (上海航空), but China Eastern denied that. The management reshuffle is expected to facilitate a merger with Shanghai Airlines, the financial magazine Caijing and other state media reports said.

■ INTERNET

Baidu cuts projection 15%

Baidu.com Inc (百度), China’s leading search engine, is cutting its projected revenues by up to 15 percent after it dropped some advertisers because of a scandal over unlicensed companies selling medical products. Fourth-quarter revenues are expected to be between 890 million yuan and 900 million yuan (US$131 million to US$133 million), down from the previously forecast 1.025 billion yuan to 1.055 billion yuan, the company said in a filing on Friday with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Baidu blamed China’s economic slowdown and the removal of listings for the medical advertisers and other “questionable” advertisers.

■ ELECTRONICS

Siemens to settle charges

Industrial conglomerate Siemens AG plans to plead guilty and pay at least US$450 million in fines to settle long-standing corruption charges in the US, court papers filed on Friday said. The Justice Department has accused Siemens of making bribes and trying to falsify its corporate books from 2001 to last year. It has also accused some of the conglomerate’s subsidiaries of bribery, including paying kickbacks to the former Iraqi government to get some of the UN Oil-for Food contracts. Siemens has agreed to pay US$448.5 million in fines, with the three subsidiaries paying at least US$500,000 each, the court papers said.

■ INTERNET

Chrome completes beta test

Google officially took its Chrome browser out of its beta testing phase on Friday, signaling its ambitions to take on Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Firefox’s Mozilla browsers. The Internet software giant is already believed to be negotiating with computer makers to have Chrome pre-installed on their machines, giving the Google browser a powerful leg-up in its bid to achieve parity with its more established competitors. Google only released the beta version of Chrome in September, marking an unusually fast development to official release in a move that marks the strategic value of the browser.

■ AVIATION

Delta offers severance

Delta Air Lines Inc, the world’s biggest carrier, will offer voluntary severance payouts to a majority of the 75,000 employees at Delta and Northwest’s mainline operations as part of a plan to cut an unspecified number of jobs, executives said on Friday. Chief executive Richard Anderson and president Ed Bastian said in a memo to employees that the program is similar to one earlier this year that Delta used to trim about 4,000 jobs. Northwest previously trimmed jobs of its own before being acquired by Delta on Oct. 29.

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