Cathay offers retirement
Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific yesterday asked its cabin crew to volunteer for early retirement as part of its cost-cutting measures to boost profitability amid a global slowdown. Cathay has been trying to trim costs after it fell into the red in the first half of last year with a HK$935 million (US$121 million) loss, partly due to high fuel prices that have also dragged down other regional airlines’ performance. The airline said the scheme would be offered to flight attendants who joined the firm before September 1996 to cut costs, as well as to help facilitate recruitment and promotion opportunities.
Atari US files for bankruptcy
Videogame maker Atari’s US operation has filed for bankruptcy protection in an effort to separate from its French parent company, which is filing a similar motion separately in France. Atari, which turned 40 last year, was a videogame pioneer with games like Pong and Centipede. The company said in a statement the move was necessary to secure investments it needs to grow in mobile and downloadable video games. In its court filing, Atari said it had between US$1 million and US$10 million in assets and between US$10 million and US$50 million in debt. It expects to sell its assets or confirm a restructuring plan in the next three to six months.
Ericsson buys Devoteam unit
Swedish telecommunications equipment maker Ericsson on Monday said it would buy the telecoms and media unit of French technology consultant Devoteam. About 400 France-based information technology services professionals will join the company under a deal the company said would strengthen its consulting capabilities. The value of the transaction was not disclosed. Ericsson said Devoteam has 5,000 employees in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
SABMiller Q3 sales up 17%
Global brewer SABMiller said its overall revenues rose 17 percent in the third quarter compared with last year, sustained by improving growth in its key Latin American markets. Lager volumes were up 2 percent on an organic basis for the quarter, the maker of Miller Lite, Grolsch and Peroni said, with overall performance in line with its expectations. Growth in volume terms was held back by a decline in China, where cold weather dampened demand.
Energy subsidy to change
The government, which has spent US$2.6 billion to foster a domestic market for clean energy, plans to change the way it subsidizes renewables to encourage private energy providers to take more initiatives. Under the plan, a certain amount of subsidies will be paid depending on the renewable source and its energy yield, rather than a set ratio of subsidies in excess of base tariffs, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said in an e-mail yesterday.
India clears IKEA plan
India’s foreign investment panel has cleared a nearly US$2 billion plan by IKEA to open stores in the country. Two months ago, India’s Foreign Investment Promotion Board rejected 15 of IKEA’s 30 product lines, including food and textiles. However, late on Monday, Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said the investment board had cleared the plan because the government was committed to playing a constructive role in encouraging foreign direct investment.