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Sat, Sep 10, 2005 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take


■ Automakers
Ford shakes up managers

Ford Motor Co announced a major shakeup on Thursday in senior management ranks, marking the first step in the auto maker's plan to revive its sagging North American business. Mark Fields, executive vice president of Ford of Europe and the Premier Automotive Group -- made up of Jaguar, Volvo, Land Rover and Aston Martin brands -- has been promoted to the post of executive vice president of Ford and president for the Americas. He will now lead all of Ford's business operations in North and South America, including the US, Mexico and Canada. Fields has extensive experience within Ford's ranks when it comes to returning business units to profitability. He lead the recovery of Mazda in the late 1990s and worked to maintain the luxury status of Ford's Premiere Automotive Group brands.

■ Internet

Access to buy PalmSource

Japanese Internet technology provider Access said yesterday it had agreed to buy PalmSource, the US maker of software for mobile phones and devices, for about ?36 billion (US$324 million). Under the binding deal, Access will pay US$18.50 per share in cash for PalmSource, an 83 percent premium to the US firm's share price. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of the year. "PalmSource is a global leader in mobile device software and the developer of the well known Palm OS operating system," Access chief executive Toru Arakawa said in a statement.

■ Oil industry

IEA weighs in on Katrina

Hurricane Katrina is likely to curtail world oil production until the end of the year by 55 million barrels, about the same as Hurricane Ivan last year, the IEA estimated yesterday. Countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development are to meet on Thursday to review the post-hurricane supply situation and whether to increase, maintain or reduce emergency supply action, the agency said. "Hurricane Katrina has had a severe impact on US Gulf of Mexico supply and will likely affect production for several months to come," the IEA said. However, overall data show "world supply 2.0 million barrels a day above August 2004. OPEC crude stands 0.75 million barrels per day higher, OPEC other liquids supply is up 0.5 million barrels per day and non-OPEC supply is 0.75 million barrels up."

■ Securities

Merrill Lynch eyes alliances

Merrill Lynch & Co, the No. 2 securities firm by market value, may seek alliances or ventures with South Korean lenders to help sell more financial products to corporate clients, the bank's head of global markets said. Merrill, based in New York, wants to tap banks' customers across Asia's third-largest economy to sell derivatives and other financial services, Dow Kim, co-president of Merrill Lynch's Global Markets & Investment Banking Group, told reporters in Seoul. Merrill yesterday received an extended derivatives trading license, allowing the securities firm to offer won-denominated interest rate swaps and other complex products, Kim said. The license will enable it to offer diversified products in Korea, Kim said. Merrill plans to tap small and medium-sized corporate clients and financial companies in South Korea, before expanding to Taiwan and Hong Kong, Kim said.

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