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Sat, Dec 04, 2004 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Price Fixing

Infineon staffers to be jailed

Three German citizens and an American have agreed to serve jail time and each pay a US$250,000 fine as part of a wide-ranging federal investi-gation into price fixing in the computer memory market, the US Justice Department said on Thursday. All four defendants were executives in 2001 and 2002 at Infineon Technologies, a German computer chip maker that prosecutors said had conspired with competitors during that time to fix prices in the multibillion-dollar market for computer memory. Three of the Infineon executives are German citizens -- Heinrich Florian, Gunter Hefner and Peter Schaefer -- all of whom worked in sales and marketing for the company's memory division. Rudd Corwin, an American, also worked in sales and marketing. A spokesman for the North American division of Infineon, Christoph Liedtke, said one executive had left the company, one was leaving and two remained but have been reassigned. Liedtke declined to specify which executives remained with Infineon.

■ Retail

Carrefour might quit Japan

Carrefour SA of France, the world's second-largest retailer, is considering leaving the Japanese market by selling its eight stores in two regional blocs, a report said yesterday. Carrefour had asked the world's top retailer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc, and Japan's largest supermarket operator, Aeon Co, about buying all of its eight stores, but the deals fell through over the price and other terms, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported, citing unnamed sources. Now Carrefour is considering selling the stores as two groups according to their regional locations: three based in the Tokyo metropolitan region and five in the Osaka area in western Japan, the paper said. Carrefour chairman Daniel Bernard said in September that the French retailer will pull out of money-losing operations and instead focus on the Chinese market as a new source of profit.

■ Computers

Dell wins US$700m deal

Dell Inc won a US$700 million order from Royal Philips Electronics NV to provide computers and services in 60 countries. The five-year agreement includes PCs, notebook computers and workstations for 75,000 people, said Bob Kaufman, spokesman for Dell. Euro-pean services companies Getronics NV and Atos Origin SA will work with Dell. The contract bolsters chief executive Kevin Rollins's plan to increase sales of services, which account for less than 10 percent of the company's annual revenue. Rollins is targeting International Business Machines Corp, which receives about half its revenue from services, and Hewlett-Packard Co, where services work is the No. 2 profit generator behind printers.

■ Retail

Wal-Mart touts low prices

Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world's largest retailer, will start an advertising campaign that emphasizes the chain's low prices after the company reported that last month's sales rose less than forecast. The national print and radio campaign was to start yesterday and television spots will air next week, spokesman Gus Whitcomb said. The ads will focus on 24 products selling at reduced prices. November sales rose a less-than-forecast 0.7 percent after Wal-Mart reduced discounts during the Thanksgiving Day weekend, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season.

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