Motorola urges mergers
Motorola Inc said semiconductor makers must merge to revive the industry, the Financial Times reported on its Web site, citing Ray Burgess, director of strategy and marketing at the company's chip unit. Chipmakers' annual sales fell 30 percent to US$140 billion in 2001 and have since shown little sign of recovery, according to the FT. Motorola said last month revenue this year will be less than it had forecast excluding a benefit from an accounting change, partly because of "slightly lower order input and sales" in the chip market. "This is an industry that is not heading down the path of consolidation. It needs to," Burgess said, according to the FT. "It has to happen, the question is who will be first."
PCCW bids for UK licenses
PCCW Ltd, Hong Kong's biggest phone company, applied to bid for 15 broadband wireless licenses in the UK after chief executive officer Richard Li scrapped plans to buy phone and Web operator Cable & Wireless Plc. PCCW may seek permits to offer wireless Internet access in seven cities and eight districts in the UK, spokeswoman Joan Wagner said. The company will decide whether it will actually bid for the licenses after working out detailed costs of setting up the network. "We have put in an application for the auction but our financial exposure is nil," Wagner said, responding to a report in the Sunday Telegraph on Sunday. PCCW is seeking ways to establish an overseas market after Cable & Wireless rebuffed an invitation for talks.
Putin touts ties in Europe
Russia and the other former states of the Soviet Union must "work towards the creation of a common economic area with Europe," Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday. Putin, speaking at a joint press conference with his Ukrainian counterpart Leonid Kuchma, said this would be a prominent topic at a EU-Russia summit on May 31 in Saint Petersburg, also to be attended by the leaders of other nations in the 12-member Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Italian Prime Minster Silvio Berlusconi, whose country takes over the EU presidency in July, has vowed to push for closer ties between the 15-nation bloc with Moscow. Berlusconi believes that bringing in Russia and other CIS states would turn the EU into a superpower on an equal footing with the US.
Opposition attacks US pact
Australia's opposition Labor Party stepped up its attacks on a proposed US-Australia free-trade deal yesterday after US President George W. Bush promised Prime Minister John Howard free trade for Christmas. During a visit by Howard to the president's Texas ranch, an effusive Bush lavished praise on Australia for its support in the Iraq war and in gratitude set a personal deadline for a historic free-trade pact by the end of the year. "Australia came to America's aid in our time of need and I won't forget that," Bush told reporters. However, the opposition's trade spokesman Craig Emerson echoed the view of numerous Australian economists that a free-trade agreement with the US would leave Australians worse off. He said the US would expect too many concessions and fail to open its markets to Australian farmers. "There won't be free trade between the two countries," Emerson said.