First Lehman share sold
The first share ever issued by former merchant bank Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc, whose collapse in September 2008 sparked the world economic and financial crisis, fetched 24,000 euros (US$33,000) at an auction in Germany on Saturday. The share, issued by the bank on May 31, 1994, used to hang over the manager’s desk at Lehman Brothers and was put up for sale by specialist auction house Historisches Wertpapierhaus at a starting price of 5,000 euros. Numbered LB0001, the share measuring 30cm by 20cm was issued to the bank’s boss at the time, Richard Fuld. It was sold earlier this year in a mixed lot of financial paper in the US, before being offered as a single item to the Wuerzburg--based auctioneers.
GM recalls Pontiacs
General Motors Co is recalling more than 38,000 Pontiac G8 models in order to reprogram airbag modules for the front passenger seats, the US automaker said on Saturday. The airbag modules for vehicles built for the 2008 and 2009 model years might not be in compliance with US federal standards for head injury protection of some passengers, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recall notice. The recall affects 38,444 Pontiac G8 models, which were manufactured in Australia and imported to the US. The issue was discovered in Australia during testing. There have been no crashes, injuries or complaints related to the airbag issue, the statement said, but the company found that in case of a crash, the air-bag sensor could be delayed and put some passengers at increased risk of head injury.
‘Rigorous’ budget ahead
Prime Minister Francois Fillon has warned the nation that belts must tighten next year to reduce the debt. He said on Saturday that next year’s budget “will be one of the most rigorous France has known since 1945.” Fillon spoke ahead of a meeting called by President Nicolas Sarkozy with a small group of ministers to plot measures aimed at filling public coffers with up to 8 billion euros more in funds. A plan could be announced today after a special Cabinet meeting. Sarkozy, expected to seek a new mandate in next year’s presidential elections, wants to keep the country’s excellent credit rating amid Europe’s debt crisis. The G20 summit he hosted failed to deliver funds to ease the panic.
Business abroad assessed
The government is drafting rules to regulate local companies’ foreign investments, said Zhang Xiaoqiang (張曉強), deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission. The country will increase loans and financial support to encourage companies to invest abroad, he said. Meanwhile, Beijing is in talks with “relative parties” to study railway and port construction projects in western Australia, Luo Tiejun (駱鐵軍), deputy director of raw materials department at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said in Tianjin yesterday.
Lenders to refund borrowers
The nation’s financial watchdog said four domestic loan companies, including A&P Financial Co, lent money at rates above the permitted level and should give money back to customers. The Financial Supervisory Service told the companies yesterday to immediately return a total of 3.06 billion won (US$2.8 million) in excess interest payments to customers.