Eurozone jobless rate rises
Official figures on Tuesday showed that unemployment across the 17 EU countries that use the euro has struck 12 percent for the first time since the currency was launched in 1999. Eurostat, the EU’s statistics office, said the rate in February was unchanged at the record high after January’s figure was revised up to 12 percent from 11.9 percent. A total of 19.07 million people were officially out of work in the eurozone in February, nearly 2 million more than the same month the year before. For the 27-country EU, of which the eurozone is a large part, the unemployment rate was 10.9 percent.
Singh pushes investment
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is appealing to business leaders to help return the country to a path of high economic growth and is promising in return to cut the red tape hampering investment. Singh told a meeting of business leaders yesterday that he was optimistic the country could jumpstart the economy. He also called for a revival of the investment climate and stressed that this could be done by removing the “many impediments affecting the implementation of infrastructure projects.”
Sony, Olympus deal okayed
A joint-venture deal between Sony and medical equipment maker Olympus has won regulatory approval, the firms said yesterday, after it was held up by China’s competition watchdog. Sony and Olympus had initially planned the launch of a joint venture from Monday as Sony, which is trying to repair a dented balance sheet, invests ￥50 billion (US$535 million) in Olympus as part of a drive to tap the lucrative medical equipment market.
EADS buyback approved
The new board of European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co (EADS) has approved an 18-month share buyback plan worth up to 3.75 billion euros (US$4.8 billion). The company, which owns the plane maker Airbus, will buy up to 15 percent of EADS stock at a maximum price of 50 euros per share, the company said in a statement on Tuesday, using cash on hand, and then cancel the shares. The move was approved by shareholders last week.
Intelsat revises IPO plan
Satellite operator Intelsat Global Holdings on Tuesday revived its plan for an initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange, aiming to raise up to US$710 million, less than half of what it envisioned last year. Intelsat, the privately held satellite-services giant, plans to use the IPO proceeds to pay down debt, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The Luxembourg group is offering to sell 21.7 million common shares, priced between US$21 and US$25 per share.
Frugality patterns to stay
The frugality and investing discipline that the 2008 financial crisis imposed on Americans appear to have instilled permanent changes in behavior on money matters, according to survey findings released yesterday by Fidelity Investments, the nation’s second-largest mutual fund company. Findings from the “Five Years After” survey of nearly 1,200 investors suggest that spendthrift ways are unlikely to again become as pervasive as they were before the crisis. Positive behaviors that appear to be entrenched include saving more, paying down debt and taking greater care to invest wisely.