ThyssenKrupp to sell assets
The biggest German steelmaker, ThyssenKrupp, has announced a 10 billion euro (US$14.5 billion) divestment program, which will notably lead to retrenchment in Brazil and in the US. The main sell off concerns its Stainless Global division, worth about 5.9 billion euros, for which “all options [for] continuation of the business activities outside the group are to be investigated,” the company said in a statement on Thursday. ThyssenKrupp said it would also be selling its Waupaca group, specializing in iron casting in the US, along with its Brazilian Automotive Systems business and other automotive activities.
JT to close Austria factory
Japan Tobacco (JT) said it planned to close its Austrian factory by early next year and cut related administrative staff, entering negotiations with labor union representatives toward shedding 320 jobs. “We have formalized intent to close the Hainburg factory, followed by the commencement of consultations with the local works council,” the company said in a statement issued on Thursday. Along with the plant closure, some of the Vienna-based administrative functions are also expected to be rationalized.
Lucasfilm to face suit
A former Lucasfilm software engineer is suing the movie studio along with Silicon Valley technology titans for what he portrayed as a conspiracy to curb pay for workers. A suit filed on behalf of Siddarth Hariharan in a California state court on Wednesday contended that the accused firms, and perhaps as many as 200 more, illegally fixed workers’ pay by agreeing not to recruit talent from one another. The suit listed named defendants as Adobe, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit, Lucasfilm and Pixar.
BYD awaits approval
Chinese car and battery maker BYD Co (比亞迪) says it is awaiting approval from China’s stock regulators for a share offering on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. The China Securities Regulatory Commission is due to review the application on Monday. MidAmerican Energy, a subsidiary of billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, holds a 9.9 percent stake in BYD, which says it plans to use proceeds from the share sale for a US$338 million expansion. BYD also has shares listed in Hong Kong.
Qatar negotiates huge order
Qatar Airways is in advanced negotiations to place a giant order for 60 airliners built by the European firm Airbus, the Les Echos newspaper reported yesterday. The order, which would be announced at the Le Bourget air show next month, would be for 50 A320 NEO aircraft, the re-engined version of the medium-range A320, and for 10 to 20 A380 superjumbo jets. The airline would also place an additional 50 options to buy A320 NEO aircraft and options to buy an additional 10-20 A380 planes, the report said.
CEO issues apology
Sony CEO Howard Stringer apologized to users of its PlayStation Network, breaking his silence on one of the biggest Internet security break-ins ever. Stringer’s comments come after he faced criticism of his leadership since Sony revealed hackers had compromised the data of more than 100 million accounts. Stringer said Sony would restore network services “in the coming days,” but gave no date.