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Tue, Sep 20, 2005 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take


■ Engineering
Siemens to cut 2,400 jobs

Siemens AG, Germany's largest engineering company, will eliminate 2,400 jobs and replace the head of its computer-services division as losses at the unit mount. The cuts at the unit, called Siemens Business Services, will help save 1.5 billion euros (US$1.8 billion) in two years, the Munich-based company said in an e-mailed release yesterday. Adrian von Hammerstein, who headed the SBS division, will leave, making him the second division head after Lothar Pauly to be replaced this month. Chief executive Klaus Kleinfeld is under pressure from investors dissatisfied with a share price that has lagged behind Germany's DAX benchmark index since he took over in January.

■ Japan

Supermarket pioneer dies

Isao Nakauchi, who founded supermarket chain Daiei and revolutionized Japan's retail industry, died yesterday of a stroke, a university where he worked said. He was 83. Daiei Inc, based in the western port city of Kobe, was founded in 1957 by Nakauchi, a charismatic businessman who was praised for bringing US large-scale discount retail methods to a nation long dominated by mom-and-pop stores. Daiei grew to become the biggest Japanese retailer during the 1970s. But as imitators sprang up, Daiei fell into financial trouble and has struggled under the burden of huge debts amassed during years of over-expansion in the 1980s. It was taken over by a government-backed rehabilitation organization earlier this year.

■ Cellphones

China Mobile eyes India

China Mobile (Hong Kong) Ltd (中國移動) has offered to buy Reliance Telecom Ltd, an Indian cellular phone company, the Economic Times reported, citing industry people it didn't identify. Li Yue (李躍), executive director and vice president of China Mobile, met last week with senior officials of Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Enterprises, which controls Reliance Telecom, the newspaper said. Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Enterprises officials declined to comment on the report. China Mobile's Hong Kong-based spokeswoman, Doris Fung, said she wasn't aware of the report and also declined to comment. Overseas mobile-phone service providers such as AFK Sistema and China Mobile are trying to gain a foothold in India by buying stakes in Indian companies. The country's cellphone users are estimated to increase almost five times to 300 million by the end of 2009, according to researcher Gartner Inc.

■ Trade

Liberalize services, EU asks

The EU called on the US and other nations to improve their offers to liberalize their services sectors and make meaningful cutbacks in farm subsidies if negotiations on a new world trade accord are to succeed at the end of this year. EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said if a global trade deal is to be sealed in Hong Kong in December there must be "a strong component of agricultural liberalization." He added that the EU is through making unilateral steps to that end. EU governments, on whose behalf Mandelson is negotiating in the World Trade Organization talks, "will simply not accept further first moves from the EU which are pocketed without parallel moves by others." Mandelson said he was even more worried about the state of negotiations aimed at liberalizing services worldwide.

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