■ SOUTH KOREA
Revised GDP growth slower
South Korea’s economic growth was slower in the third quarter than originally estimated, the central bank said yesterday, further evidence that Asia’s fourth-largest economy is being hit by the global meltdown. GDP rose 3.8 percent in the three months ended Sept. 30 compared with the same period last year, revised down from the preliminary 3.9 percent expansion announced in October, the Bank of Korea said. The bank also said that the economy expanded 0.5 percent in the third quarter from the previous three months, down from October’s estimate of 0.6 percent growth.
Bridgestone to cut jobs
Japan’s Bridgestone Corp, the world’s largest tiremaker by sales, will lay off 158 workers at a plant in Tennessee this month and may cease some production at the factory next year as demand for tires drops. The company is laying off 148 hourly and at least 10 salaried workers at its US plant from Dec. 21, the company said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. About 500 jobs may be eliminated if the plant stops production of passenger and light-truck tires on or before June 30, it said.
Boeing union votes for deal
Boeing Co engineers and technical workers have voted to ratify new contracts, ensuring four years of labor peace at the company’s commercial airplane operations. Seventy-nine percent of members in the professional unit of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace voted for the deal. Union spokesman Bill Dugovich says the vote was 69 percent for ratification in the technical unit. Votes were counted on Monday. The union represents about 20,000 Boeing employees in the Seattle area and 550 others in Oregon, Utah and California. The agreements were reached on Nov. 14. They include pay raises averaging 5 percent a year, higher pension payments and improved medical coverage with small cost increases for employees.
PRC reviews Coca-Cola bid
The Chinese government is conducting an anti-monopoly review of Coca-Cola’s multibillion-dollar takeover bid for the Huiyuan Juice Group, the two companies said in a joint statement yesterday. “The application under [China’s] Anti-Monopoly Law has been submitted to the Ministry of Commerce. The approval process is progressing and we are working in full cooperation with the Ministry of Commerce,” the statement said. Coca-Cola announced in September plans to buy Hong Kong-listed Huiyuan, which controls more than 40 percent of the Chinese market for pure juice, for US$2.4 billion. If approved, it would be Coca-Cola’s largest acquisition in China and, according to analysts, the biggest ever foreign takeover of a Chinese firm.
Aer Lingus rejects offer
Irish airline Aer Lingus rejected on Monday a 748 million euro (US$950 million) cash takeover offer from Ryanair, Europe’s biggest budget airline, saying it was way below its real value. “The board rejects this new offer and Aer Lingus shareholders are strongly advised to take no action in relation to the offer,” the former national carrier’s board said in a statement. “Aer Lingus remains a strong business with significant cash reserves and a robust long-term future. The board believes that the offer significantly undervalues Aer Lingus,” it added.