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Wed, Jul 09, 2003 - Page 12 News List

World business quick take

IT industry

Public sector boosts techs

Electronic Data Systems Corp, Hewlett-Packard Co, IBM Corp and other information technology providers may gain from public-sector demand in Europe for online services, the Wall Street Journal reported today, citing companies. Public-sector budgets to put services such as driving-license applications online are growing at 10 percent a year, compared with 2 percent growth for the European IT market overall, the newspaper said. Hewlett-Packard, for instance, has more than 200 government projects in Italy, the paper said. "There's a huge potential as government follows its customers," the Journal cited Bill Sweeney, EDS's vice president for global government affairs, as saying yesterday at a conference on e-government in Como, Italy.

Debt

SK creditors want split-up

Overseas creditors of SK Global Co reckon they can get about US$216 million more by liquidating the South Korean trading company's offshore units than by accepting the cash payout on offer, people familiar with the proposal said. Standard Chartered Plc, and other overseas creditors have rejected an offer of 40 percent of the 910 billion won (US$770 million) they are owed. The offer underestimates the value of the overseas units of SK Global, said the people, who asked not to be identified. The breakup value is closer to 68 percent, they said. Overseas creditors are threatening to wreck a debt workout on 10 trillion won owed by SK Global, the distribution arm of Korea's biggest oil refiner and mobile phone company.

IPR protection

Sony to sue Chinese firm

Consumer electronics giant Sony will file a lawsuit Tuesday against Chinese battery maker BYD, accusing the firm of infringing two of its battery-related patents in Japan. "We have been investigating the case for some time and now have the evidence to bring a lawsuit," said Sony Corp spokes-woman Harumi Asai. The firm claims it spotted BYD Co at a consumer electronics exhibition in Japan last September, displaying a range of battery products containing the Sony-patent and distributing pamphlets. Although there was no evidence BYD had begun selling the items in Japan, Sony felt the fact they had held an exhibition and compiled a catalog meant there was a high chance this would happen in future, said Asai.

Airlines

UAL strives to keep experts

United Airlines parent UAL Corp asked a bankruptcy judge to let it pay up to US$9.5 million in bonuses to as many as 600 computer programmers and analysts to keep them from leaving the carrier. The world's second largest airline said in court papers the bonuses are needed to reduce turnover among the computer workers, which rose from an average 5 percent a year before UAL's December bankruptcy filing to 16 percent between January and last month. The airline's flight attendants, who earlier this year agreed to a 9 percent pay cut, said they object to the retention plan. The proposed bonuses will help the Chicago-based carrier stem a "brain drain" of employees who are essential to its operation and recovery, said UAL spokesman Jeff Green. UAL this year negotiated US$2.56 billion in annual labor savings, and the airline hopes to exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy as early as the fourth quarter of this year.

Agencies

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