Scandal at Deutsche Telekom
A former personnel director of the German telecommunications operator Deutsche Telekom accused two of the group’s former bosses yesterday of involvement in a telephone spy scandal. Former chairman Kai-Uwe Ricke and supervisory board president Klaus Zumwinckel were more involved than initially thought, Heinz Klinkhammer told the business daily Handelsblatt. The biggest European telecoms operator by revenue has acknowledged that it hired an outside firm to track hundreds of thousands of phone calls by senior executives and journalists in 2005 and 2006 to identify sources of leaks to the press.
GE to drop appliance unit
General Electric Co CEO Jeffrey Immelt said yesterday that LG Electronics was one of the leading candidates for its appliances unit, which it plans to sell or spin off in an ongoing restructuring plan. Some global companies have shown interest in the business and it would make sense for them to make a bid if they want to expand internationally, Immelt told a group of business leaders in Seoul. The chief executive cited Haier Electronics Group Co of China and Mexico’s Controladora Mabe, a unit of Controladora Comercial Mexicana, as parties who could make bids. Interest has also come from Turkey, he said.
Oki may sell chip business
Troubled Japanese electronics maker Oki Electric Industry Co plans to sell its semiconductor business to rival Rohm Co for about ¥100 billion (US$962 million), news reports said yesterday. The two firms, in the final stage of negotiations, were expected to reach a basic agreement and announce the deal as early as yesterday, the Nikkei Shimbun and other local media said. The sale is expected to be completed by December, the Nikkei said. It would be the first major realignment in the domestic semiconductor industry since Hitachi Ltd and Mitsubishi Electric Corp integrated their system chip operations in 2003, the report said. The two firms both issued statements denying such an agreement had been reached.
SK launches China tie-up
SK Energy Co, South Korea’s biggest oil refiner, said yesterday it would tie up with China Petroleum and Chemical Corp (Sinopec) to build a naphtha-cracking center in central China. The facility, which will reportedly cost some US$2 billion, would be built in Wuhan, Hubei Province, SK Energy said, adding the two companies had signed a preliminary agreement in Beijing yesterday. SK Energy will hold a 35 percent stake in the joint venture and the Chinese counterpart will get the remaining 65 percent. When completed in late 2011, the plant will produce 800,000 tonnes of ethylene every year.
Nationals to replace expats
Headhunters in five emerging markets predict that costly foreign staff will be replaced by locals, returning nationals and regional talent within the next decade, a study said yesterday. Conducted by the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC), the study gathered responses last month from 62 executive search professionals from China, India, Brazil, Russia and the Middle East. “The global market for senior executives is not completely borderless,” AESC president Peter Felix was quoted by the Business Times as saying. “The fact is that ‘cultural fit’ continues to be a barrier, both for multinational companies hiring locals and for those returning to their home countries to work.”