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Tue, Jul 13, 2004 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Retailing

Marks makes offer

Marks & Spencer Group announced plans yesterday to return ?2.3 billion (US$4.3 billion) to shareholders as part of its defense against aggressive takeover overtures from retail tycoon Philip Green. New chief executive Stuart Rose said the business had "substantial further trading potential, which will be unlocked through a return to the core values of quality, value, service, innovation and trust." The measures are part of a revival plan that comes at a crucial time for the retailer, a household name in Britain, as it tries to persuade shareholders to shun Green's proposal. Last week Marks & Spencer's board of directors rejected a third informal offer from Green, worth ?9.1 billion, as too low.

■ Trade

EU probing Chinese shoes

The EU is likely to launch an investigation against imports of Chinese-made shoes later this year in a bid to protect its manufacturers from soaring Chinese exports, Beijing said yesterday. A complaint has been initiated by Italy and supported by Portugal, Spain and France -- major shoe manufacturing countries in the EU, China's ministry of commerce said in a statement. The EU is collecting data and information in preparation for the case, which is likely to lead to anti-dumping investigations or the imposition of general protective measures.

■ Banking

KorAm strike may end

Workers and management at KorAm Bank, a unit of US financial giant Citigroup, reached a tentative agreement yesterday to end a strike that has crippled South Korea's seventh-largest lender, union leaders said. Some 2,400 KorAm workers who went on strike on June 25 demanding job security, higher wages and independent management were to be asked to vote on the accord, possibly later yesterday. "We reached a tentative agreement at dawn," a union leader said. "We may be able to put it to a vote by all union members later today." The strike shut down nearly 80 percent of KorAm's branches.

■ Chips

NTT DoCoMo makes deal

NTT DoCoMo Inc, the world's second-largest mobile-phone company, and semiconductor maker Renesas Technology Corp will jointly develop a single-chip large-scale integrated circuit to be used in DoCoMo's handsets. DoCoMo will invest about ?7 billion (US$62.9 million) in Renesas over three years to help with building the chips, the company said in a faxed press release. Tokyo-based Renesas is a venture between Mitsubishi Electric Corp and Hitachi Ltd.

■ Telecom

Ad agencies shortlisted

Six advertising firms have been shortlisted by Singapore Telecommunications for its multimillion-dollar home-country account, the company said yesterday. Incumbent Leo Burnett is vying for the two-year contract with Young & Rubicam, Saatchi & Saatchi, Ogilvy & Mather, DDB Worldwide Communications and DNA, the telecom company said in a statement. A decision will be made by September. While the state-linked company did not put an exact dollar value on the work up for grabs, it quoted industry estimates that valued its annual Singapore advertising spending at S$30 million (US$17.65 million). SingTel has been facing rising competition in its home market from new players MobileOne Ltd and StarHub Pte Ltd.

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