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Wed, Dec 24, 2003 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Aviation

China opens up sector

China will open its aviation sector further to private investors, allowing them to set up new firms or take stakes in existing entities, state press said yesterday. The Civil Aviation Administration of China will soon issue rules governing investment in the industry to provide an adequate legal framework, CAAC director Yang Yuanyuan was quoted as saying by the Xinhua news agency. China has already taken steps to allow more competition and investment in the sector. New regulations in August last year allow overseas investors to hold up to a 49 percent stake in local carriers, with the maximum stake by a single overseas investor capped at 25 percent. Combined stakes by overseas firms in domestic airports can exceed 51 percent as long as the Chinese side remains the largest shareholder.

■ Cars

Renault plans US comeback

French auto giant Renault aims to re-enter the US market in 2010 or later by capitalizing on its alliance with Japan's Nissan Motor Co, Renault chief executive officer Louis Schweitzer said in an interview published yesterday. "Fuel-efficient cars will be in greater demand in the US market, giving a chance for not only [Renault's] mainstay small trucks but also compact cars," Schweitzer was quoted as saying by the leading Japanese business daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun. He added, however, that re-entry into the world's biggest car market before 2010 would be difficult because it requires a massive amount of "human and financial resources." Renault is considering using the network of Nissan dealerships in the US, the report said.

■ Steel

Arcelor in China venture

European steel giant Arcelor yesterday signed a US$800 million agreement with Japan's Nippon Steel and the Chinese group Baoshan Iron & Steel, also known as Baosteel, to launch a joint venture in the Chinese city of Shanghai. The factory will have the capacity to produce 1.7 million tonnes of carbon flat steel a year, largely for the automobile sector, the European group said. Arcelor, a French-Spanish-Luxembourg consortium, will have a 12-percent stake in the venture, while 38 percent will be held by Nippon Steel and 50 percent by Baosteel. "The new facilities will begin to supply customers from the second quarter of 2005," the statement said. Arcelor group chairman Guy Dolle said in the statement that the joint venture represented a "strategic advance" alongside large automakers.

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