Fiat, GM delay agreement
Fiat SpA and General Motors Corp agreed on Sunday to delay by a year the start of agreement that would allow the Italian carmaker to sell its struggling auto unit to the US giant. GM currently owns 20 percent of Fiat Auto, and Fiat SpA had the right to sell the remaining 80 percent to GM starting next year. However, under the new agreement, the exercise of the "put" option will be delayed until Jan. 24, 2005, and will last until 2010. The move came as Fiat flails with major losses in its auto unit, and tries desperately to rebuild the company. Despite these problems, top Fiat officials have said repeatedly that they do not want to use the put option. Fiat reported a US$4.7 billion net loss last year.
■ Soft drinks
Cadbury plans job cuts
Cadbury Schweppes PLC, the world's third largest soft-drink producer and a leading confectionery maker, said yesterday it plans to cut 10 percent of its 55,000-strong global work force. The company also said it plans to close some 20 percent of the 133 factories it operates worldwide. Cadbury said it expected the moves to yield savings of US$640 million a year by 2007. The company did not specify in which countries the job cuts would be made, and a spokeswoman could not immediately be reached for comment. But chief executive Todd Stitzer said that "as and when we take action, people will be spoken to sensitively and thoughtfully." Confectionery sales suffered during the European heat wave in August, and the company has also complained of tough market conditions in the US beverages market and the Asia-Pacific region.
Sharp focusing on LCDs
Japan's Sharp Corp announced yesterday that it will double capacity for liquid-crystal display (LCD) televisions to 40,000 units a month at its factory in Barcelona, Spain, next April. "The European LCD TV market has been expanding faster than we expected. We are increasing our production capacity [in Europe] to deal with the growing demand," said Masaaki Takeda, Sharp spokesman. The Barcelona plant will stop making cathode-ray tube TVs by the end of the year, he said. Sharp will eventually make similar changes at factories in Mexico and China, although the exact timing for the move is not set yet, he said. The company plans to only make LCD TVs in Japan by 2005, he said.
China buys networks
China Telecom Corp Ltd, China's largest fixed-line telephone operator, has agreed to buy six provincial networks from its parent for 46 billion yuan (US$5.5 billion) to boost revenue and expansion, the firm said yesterday. China Telecom said in a statement that it will take over networks in Anhui, Fujian, Jiangxi, Guangxi and Sichuan provinces, as well as in Chongqing, from China Telecommuniations Corp, which owns 77.78 percent of China Telecom. The Hong Kong-listed firm said the total acquisition price includes a cash consideration of 11 billion yuan paid upon the closure of the deal and another 35 billion yuan, due in 10 years. China Telecom expects its telecom assets to generate net profit of 6.352 billion yuan this year. The deal will also boost China Telecom's user base by about 74 percent.
SCHEDULE: The delegation is due to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen this morning and witness the signing of an MOU on bilateral health cooperation in the afternoon US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar yesterday arrived in Taipei aboard a US government plane at the head of a delegation that is the highest-level visit by a US official since Washington switched diplomatic recognition to China in 1979. Azar’s flight landed at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) at 4:48pm, nearly one hour earlier than scheduled, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The apron where it landed is reserved for military aircraft, the Songshan Air Force Base Command said. The members of Azar’s delegation included HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec, HHS Chief of Staff Brian
CHINESE FIGHTERS: Beijing marked the US Cabinet member’s visit by briefly sending two warplanes across the median line of the Taiwan Strait yesterday morning President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday met with US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar in the highest-level official meeting between the two nations since 1979. “It is a true honor to be here to convey a message of strong support and friendship from [US] President [Donald] Trump to Taiwan,” Azar said during the open portion of his courtesy call to the Presidential Office, which was streamed live online before Tsai and Azar held a closed-door meeting. “Taiwan’s response to COVID-19 has been among the most successful in the world, and that is a tribute to the open, transparent,
ALEX AZAR: The first visit by a head of the Department of Health and Human Services would strictly observe the CECC’s special regulations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar is to lead a delegation to Taiwan — the highest-level visit by a US Cabinet official since the two sides cut formal relations in 1979. The plan was announced yesterday morning by the US Department of Health and Human Services and confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Beijing has expressed its concerns to Washington, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) said later yesterday. Taiwan and the US only issued statements saying that the visit would happen “in the coming days.” MOFA said that due to security concerns, it would
‘CROSS-STRAIT CONSIDERATIONS’: Groups said that the Ministry of Education’s policies excluded Chinese and students should not be blocked over political issues The Taiwan International Student Movement yesterday said it would protest today outside the Ministry of Education in Taipei against a policy that excludes some Chinese students from returning to Taiwan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Since June 17, the ministry has allowed foreign students from 19 “low risk” and “medium-low risk” countries and regions to enter Taiwan. On July 22, it announced that it was relaxing restrictions to include students from all countries and regions who are graduating this semester and on Wednesday it further expanded entry to students enrolled in degree programs. A letter sent by the ministry on Wednesday to universities did