Sat, Jan 22, 2011 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

TECHNOLOGY

HP shakes up board

Hewlett-Packard Co’s (HP) decision to replace a third of its board of directors is the latest milestone in a marathon management makeover that the technology icon hopes will allow it to move on after a series of management scandals. The shake-up announced on Thursday is the first sweeping leadership change under HP’s new CEO Leo Apotheker and chairman Ray Lane. They were hired three months ago to draw up fresh battle plans for the world’s biggest technology company by revenue. HP was roiled by the abrupt ouster of former CEO Mark Hurd and is trying to find its bearings in new markets far afield from its mainstay computer and printer businesses. Hurd’s forced exit last August angered many shareholders, who saw billions of their dollars evaporate on the stock market.

BANKING

Spain wants more listings

Spain is planning to force its regional savings banks to become conventional banks and seek stock market listings, a source familiar with the matter said. The state-backed bank restructuring fund (FROB) would then take stakes in the banks that fail to attract private investment, the source said. The debt-laden savings banks and a possibly expensive rescue are seen as major risks for the Spanish government as it aggressively cuts its budget deficit. The Bank of Spain and the government are at odds over whether a change in law is required to speed the reform of regional banks, separating their financial businesses and social activities, El Pais newspaper reported. The government will announce a change in law to speed their reform before the end of the month, the paper said, citing sources close to the Bank of Spain.

ENERGY

Japan investing in Bulgaria

Toshiba and Tokyo Electric Power will team up with the Japanese government to build one of the world’s largest solar power stations in Bulgaria, the Nikkei Shimbun reported yesterday. The plant will be built in the eastern city of Yambol by March next year at a cost of more than ¥100 billion (US$1.2 billion), the report said. As an EU member, Bulgaria needs quickly to bolster its sources of renewable energy to reduce carbon emissions. By tapping Japanese technology, Bulgaria aims to pave the way for obtaining 16 percent of its power from renewable energy sources by 2020, up from about 7 percent now, the report said. CEZ Group, the seventh-ranked European power utility, will also take part in the joint venture, contributing as much as ¥20 billion, the report said.

AVIATION

BA ready for walkout

British Airways PLC chief executive Willie Walsh said the carrier was well prepared for another round of walkouts by cabin crew should a union vote ending yesterday favor a strike. “We’re confident that with the contingency plan that we’ve developed, which includes training further people to serve as cabin crew, we will be able to continue flying,” Walsh said in New York on Thursday. “What we’re seeing is that the vast majority of our crew wants it over with.” Europe’s third-largest airline would be able to tap other employees, including pilots, to take over flight attendant duty to execute most of its short-haul flights if the strike goes ahead, adding that there is enough personnel for long-distance flights. The carrier rented planes and trained staff from other parts of the company to act as emergency crew when flight attendants walked out for a total of 22 days in five strikes last year in a dispute over pay and staffing levels.

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