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Sat, Sep 24, 2005 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Food Industry
Asian firms flock to Anuga

Hundreds of companies from Asia are coming to Anuga, the world's largest food industry fair, in the congress city Cologne in Germany. During the trade fair from Oct. 8-12, 335 exhibitors from China will present their food and beverage wares, organizers said yesterday. Also well represented is Thailand with 128 exhibitors. From India and Singapore 46 companies each are coming to the Rhine, and 22 exhibitors from Japan are expected. Taiwan, Malaysia and Vietnam will also put new products on view.

■ Telecoms

NTT plans group overhaul

Telecommunications giant Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp (NTT) plans a reorganization under which it will group together parts of its fixed-line, Internet and systems operations, a report said yesterday. The plan, the first group-wide overhaul at NTT since 1999, aims to consolidate operations and improve efficiency, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said, adding that plan will be finalized in November and implemented in 2007.

■ Retail

7-Eleven board rejects offer

Directors of 7-Eleven Inc, the world's largest convenience-store chain, have recommended that shareholders reject a buyout offer from majority owner Seven-Eleven Japan Co. The company said on Thursday that a special committee of its board found the bid of US$32.50 per share is "not in the best interests" of shareholders. 7-Eleven added that its advisers are discussing an increased offer with Seven-Eleven Japan Co. Seven-Eleven Japan Co owns about 73 percent of the US company's stock. It announced on Sept. 1 that it was making a US$1.2 billion tender offer for the remaining shares. Dallas-based 7-Eleven Inc operates or franchises about 5,800 stores in the US and Canada and licenses more than 22,000 worldwide.

■ Banking

German bank mulls change

Deutsche Bank, the biggest German bank, is considering revising the make-up of its management board next year to help placate critics of its corporate governance structure, the Financial Times reported yesterday. The current four-strong board would be expanded to five, adding a chief risk officer, the newspaper quoted senior Deutsche Bank figures as saying. The trigger will be the retirement of chief administrative officer Tessen von Heydebreck next year. Deutsche Bank halved the size of its executive board when Josef Ackermann became chief executive in 2002, sparking criticism among corporate governance experts.

■ Economy

Japan's state debt soars

Japan's government debt, already the highest in the industrialized world, mushroomed to a record high of ¥795.8 trillion (US$7.1 trillion) at the end of June, according to a report released by the Finance Ministry. The latest figure marked an increase of ¥14.3 trillion from the end of March , the ministry said on Thursday. The amount is equivalent to about ¥6.24 million for every Japanese. Japan has relied on government bond issues to make up for falling tax revenues, turning into one of the world's most indebted countries. Japan's public debt burden is almost 160 percent of its GDP. Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has pledged to improve the country's finances by reining in public spending and creating a smaller government.

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