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Thu, Dec 04, 2008 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■REAL ESTATE

Citi dismisses Asian staff

Citigroup Inc dismissed most of the employees at its real estate investment banking team in Asia after slumping property prices stifled share sales and acquisitions in the industry, three people familiar with the matter said. The bank dismissed at least five people two weeks ago, the people said, declining to be identified. Citigroup, which last month embarked on a plan to shed 52,000 jobs worldwide, will serve property clients through its country and corporate bankers after closing down the team, the people said. The bank, with operations in more than 100 countries, last month received US government insurance on US$306 billion in toxic assets.

■ELECTRONICS

LG forecasts slowdown

LG Electronics Inc, Asia’s second-largest mobile-phone maker, forecast its shipment growth will slow next year amid the global recession. “Growth will clearly slow down and we are aiming for a small increase from this year,” Skott Ahn, president of LG’s mobile-phone business, said in a statement yesterday, without giving details. The Seoul-based company said it expects to meet its shipment target of 100 million units for this year and hasn’t set a goal for next year because of the “uncertain” market outlook. LG, the world’s fifth-largest handset maker in the third quarter, said it plans to increase its market share to 10 percent next year. The phone maker had a 7.8 percent share in the July-to-September period, researcher Gartner Inc said.

■ENERGY

Temasek sells power utility

State-linked Singapore investment firm Temasek Holdings has sold its last remaining power utility to a Malaysian company — days after saying the tender process had stopped because of market conditions. Sabre Energy Industries, a wholly owned subsidiary of Malaysia’s YTL Power International Berhad, will pay S$3.6 billion (US$2.4 billion) and assume S$200 million in net debt, a Temasek statement said late on Tuesday. The sale of PowerSeraya is part of Temasek’s divestment plans announced in July last year, and the transaction with YTL Power International is expected to be completed early next year, Temasek said.

■TELECOMS

Telecom Italia to cut jobs

Italian telecommunications group Telecom Italia said yesterday it would cut a further 4,000 jobs in Italy from next year to 2011 as part of a restructuring plan. Telecom Italia, saddled with 35 billion euros (US$44 billion) in debt, launched a savings scheme last June that called for the elimination of 5,000 jobs in Italy. The June initiative aims at savings of 2 billion euros by 2011 and a sharp cut in the debt. The group has also announced its intention to sell off non-strategic operations in deals that could be worth up to 3.0 billion euros.

■JAPAN

Mergers increase 40%

Mergers and acquisitions involving Japanese firms surged 40 percent in the first 11 months of this year from a year ago, Recof Data Corp said. The total value of takeovers or investment deals reached ¥11 trillion (US$118 billion) this year through last month, compared with ¥7.83 trillion for the same period last year, according to data provided by a unit of Recof Corp, a mergers and acquisitions adviser. Among the top deals announced this year are Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc’s US$9 billion investment in Morgan Stanley and the US$8.8 billion acquisition of Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc by Takeda Pharmaceutical Co, Japan’s largest drugmaker.

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