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Tue, Sep 18, 2007 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ AUTOMOBILES

GM, UAW talks progressing

Bargainers for General Motors Corp and the United Auto Workers (UAW) took a break early yesterday amid optimism that they are getting closer to an agreement. Negotiations came to an end just before 3am after a marathon 16-hour session on Sunday and yesterday, GM spokesman Tom Wickham said. "GM and the UAW have agreed to take a break and talks will resume later this morning. We aren't going to comment or speculate on the nature or content of the discussions," Wickham said. He said that all employees were expected to report for work at their scheduled times yesterday.

■ BONDS

China sells debt

China's Finance Ministry sold 31.97 billion yuan (US$4.2 billion) of 15-year debt yesterday in its first sale of special bonds directly to the market. The ministry unexpectedly increased the size of the offering from 30 billion yuan because of strong demand from cash-rich investors despite an interest-rate hike on Friday and a rally in local stocks yesterday. The bonds are part of a total 1.55 trillion yuan Beijing is selling to fund the country's new foreign exchange investment agency, the China Investment Co.

■ PHARMACEUTICALS

Drug maker gives update

Sanofi-Aventis SA expects to make 31 submissions for new drugs by the end of 2010, the company said yesterday. In its first such update to investors in two years, the Paris-based company, the world's third-largest drug maker by prescription drug sales, said it had 48 drugs in late-stage development. However, the company's drug for treatment of Alzheimer's disease, xaliproden, failed in late-stage trials. The company said anti-depressant saredutant was effective in two late-stage trials against a dummy pill for the treatment of severe depression.

■ AVIATION

Airline out of receivership

Philippine Airlines will come out of receivership next month, the national carrier said yesterday, ahead of schedule and amid an improved financial position. "The airline will come out of receivership much sooner than its original year-end target and continue to look seriously at financing options to further improve its capitalization," PAL Holdings president Jaime Bautista said. Bautista issued the statement yesterday after PAL Holdings' annual stockholders meeting. PAL Holdings, controlled by Filipino-Chinese tycoon Lucio Tan, owns 84.7 percent of the airline, which entered receivership in June 1998 after suffering massive financial losses caused by external and internal problems.

■ TAKEOVERS

`WSJ' contract deal reached

Dow Jones & Co has reached a tentative deal on a new contract with the union representing reporters at the Wall Street Journal, ending several months of sometimes contentious talks. The tentative contract agreement comes six weeks after Rupert Murdoch's News Corp media conglomerate agreed to buy Dow Jones for US$5 billion. The board of the union, the Independent Association of Publishers' Employees, agreed on Saturday to send the contract deal to its membership and recommend that they ratify it. The union said the new contract offer included annual wage increases of 3 percent through 2009, compensation for jobs lost to outsourcing, and health care changes including new caps on out-of-pocket medical expenses.

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