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Wed, Nov 07, 2007 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ AUTOMOBILES

Ford halts plant closures

Struggling Ford Motor Co has agreed to halt planned closures of six US plants in exchange for major concessions from its main union, the United Auto Workers said on Monday. In a document outlining a deal reached over the weekend, the union said the agreement also includes a "moratorium" on further plant closures over the four years of the contract and a commitment to move 1,500 contract jobs back into the company. In exchange, the union has agreed to a two-tiered wage system similar to those negotiated with General Motors Corp and Chrysler, LLC in recent weeks.

■ AVIATION

Dubai runway completed

The first runway has been completed at an airport being built in the booming Gulf emirate of Dubai that aims to become the world's largest, developers said on Monday. The 4.5km long runway at al-Maktoum International Airport cost US$1 billion to construct and will undergo trials before being permitted to handle aircraft such as the Airbus A380 superjumbo. The project, originally known as Dubai World Central International Airport, was named this week after the Maktoum family, the ruling dynasty of the emirate of Dubai. The airport is part of the DWC mega-project, which is expected to cover 140km2 and feature a regional logistics hub, in addition to commercial and residential areas.

■ MEDIA

`Les Echos' protests sale

French luxury goods group LVMH said on Monday it signed an agreement to buy Les Echos for 240 million euros (US$347 million) from Britain's Pearson Plc despite opposition from the business newspaper's journalists. In protest at the deal, the journalists decided they would not run an edition of the newspaper yesterday. They were concerned the paper would not keep its editorial independence once it becomes part of a huge industrial group. "This acquisition should be finalized between now and the end of the year," LVMH said in a statement.

■ SOFTWARE

BEA pleads with Icahn

BEA Systems Inc is sharing confidential information with billionaire investor Carl Icahn in hopes of persuading its largest stockholder that the business software maker is worth the US$8.2 billion sales price sought by its board of directors. The agreement announced on Monday represents BEA's latest attempt at placating Icahn, who has threatened to wield his 13.2 percent stake firm to lead a shareholder rebellion. Icahn, who has a history of provoking shake-ups at downtrodden companies, lashed out at BEA late last month after its board repeatedly spurned an unsolicited US$6.7 billion offer from rival Oracle Corp. Calling BEA's demands "impossibly high," Oracle withdrew its US$17 per-share bid on Oct. 28.

■ CURRENCIES

Greenback edges up

The US dollar edged up against the pound and euro in New York trading on Monday, rising from last week's slump as the greenback was bolstered by better-than-expected growth in the US services sector. The US dollar rose against the 13-nation currency, as the euro fell to US$1.4471, below its all-time high of US$1.4528 set last week and the US$1.4502 it bought late on Friday. The dollar rose against the euro and pound after the Institute for Supply Management's index gauging the health of US non-manufacturing industries registered 55.8, up from 54.8 in September.

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