Siemens to axe thousands
German engineering giant Siemens is to slash “thousands” of jobs, the financial daily Boersen Zeitung reported yesterday. A company spokesman declined to comment on the information when contacted by reporters, but said that Siemens was scheduled to hold its traditional annual management conference in October. Last month, Siemens chief executive Peter Loescher said the company was drawing up a program to cut costs, boost productivity and efficiency. While the program would not primarily be implemented by reducing the headcount, job cuts could not be ruled out completely, Loescher said at the time.
Barclays pushes ‘one Africa’
Barclays yesterday said it was in talks about combining the majority of the British bank’s Africa operations with ABSA — the lender’s African subsidiary. “This is expected to involve the combination of Barclays interests in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and the Indian Ocean with ABSA, with Barclays Bank PLC remaining as the majority shareholder of the combined African operations,” the British group said in a statement.Absa Group and Barclays Africa chief executive Maria Ramos said the proposed tie-up was “the next logical step in delivering our ‘one Africa’ strategy,” which Barclays PLC announced last year.
Soros buys Man U stake
US billionaire George Soros has bought a stake in Manchester United, the British soccer club that made its Wall Street debut earlier this month, according to a filing with US regulators on Monday. Soros’ investment firm bought approximately 3.1 million class A shares, or 7.85 percent of the total Class A shares, a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revealed. After an underwhelming initial public offering (IPO) on Aug. 10, shares in the club finished on Monday at US$13.06, down 6.7 percent from the IPO price of US$14. Still, the club earned US$233 million from the IPO, which valued it at about US$2.3 billion, making it the most valuable sports team in the world.
Nooks to be sold in UK
Barnes & Noble on Monday announced it would release Nook tablets in Britain in the first move by the world’s largest book seller to sell the e-readers outside the US. Nook tablets and digital content will become available in October at a new online shop at nook.co.uk. Barnes & Noble said that it would start by focusing on e-reader offerings, including digital books, magazines and newspapers. Pricing details were not disclosed. The company last week cut prices in the US to US$179 and US$199 for a Nook Tablet with 16 gigabytes or 32 gigabytes of memory respectively. The price of a Nook Color was trimmed to US$149.
Robot lawnmower unveiled
Honda Motor Co finally has its first product for the home packed with its prized robotics technology — a sensor-equipped lawnmower. Miimo goes on sale next year, only in Europe, where spacious lawns are often enclosed in gates, targeting 4,000 unit sales a year. The machine, which looks a bit like iRobot Corp’s Roomba vacuum cleaner, continuously shaves about 3mm off the grass, maneuvering itself on slopes. It will not break potted plants, goes to charge itself on its own and will not wander off. Honda said yesterday Miimo sells for between 2,100 and 2,500 euros (US$2,600 and US$3,000).