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Sat, Dec 30, 2006 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take


■ Telecoms
Essar hopes to buy stake

India's Essar Group has offered US$11 billion to joint venture partner Hutchison Telecommunications International Ltd for its 67 percent stake in Indian mobile telephone operator Hutchison Essar Ltd, a news report said yesterday. The Business Standard said Essar Group had valued Hutchison Essar at US$16.5 billion. Essar and Hong Kong-based Hutchison Telecom officials were not available for comment. On Thursday, the London-based Financial Times reported that Britain-based Vodafone Group PLC had approached Hutchison about buying the stake in Hutchison Essar with an offer that values the Indian mobile telephone operator at between US$17 billion and US$18 billion.

■ Stock Market

NASDAQ mourns Ford

The NASDAQ Stock Market said on Thursday it would close on Tuesday as part of a national day of mourning to mark the funeral of US President Gerald Ford. An announcement was expected shortly from the New York Stock Exchange. It was expected that the stock exchanges would close out of respect for the 38th president. Financial markets have traditionally closed for presidential funerals.

■ Banking

ABN AMRO to cut jobs

Dutch banking group ABN AMRO announced on Thursday that it planned to cut about 900 jobs in North America next year. The cuts will affect the LaSalle Bank Corporation and its subsidiaries and ABN AMRO's global businesses operating in the US, the company said. "ABN AMRO announced in its third-quarter results release that it is taking steps to lower expenses and improve the operational performance of businesses in mature markets such as the US," ABN AMRO said. "The North American staff reductions coincide with this effort." In October, the bank said it would cut 500 jobs at its headquarters in the Netherlands.

■ Unions

Strike ends on good note

A US union representing 14,000 striking workers at Goodyear tire plants across the country announced yesterday that members had ratified a new contract and ended an 86 day strike. Workers with the United Steelworkers union went on strike on Oct. 5 to protest planned plant closures. The union reached a tentative contract agreement with the Ohio-based Goodyear last Friday and workers ratified the contract in a vote late on Thursday, the union announced. "It took a strike, but we achieved a fair and equitable contract that protects quality health care for active and retired members," Steel Workers union executive vice president Ron Hoover said.

■ Transportation

Honda announces eco-car

Japanese carmaker Honda believes it can mass-produce environmentally friendly fuel-cell cars by 2018, a press report said yesterday. Honda Motor Co, Japan's third biggest vehicle maker, plans to begin leasing a pricy new hydrogen-powered fuel-cell car in Japan and the US in 2008. "By evolving a next model based on this, I think the level of technology will become very close to that of mass-produced ordinary vehicles within 10 years or so," Honda president Takeo Fukui said in an interview with Kyodo News. Fukui told Kyodo that there would be many customers who want to buy a Honda fuel-cell car if it goes on sale for US$84,114 in the general market.

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