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Mon, Dec 15, 2008 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ AUSTRALAISA

Companies to reduce staff

Almost half of Australian and New Zealand companies plan to decrease or freeze staff levels due to the global economic recession, a Hay Group survey found. Seventeen percent of the Australian and New Zealand firms polled said they would cut jobs, while 27 percent would keep headcount steady, three times the number of companies that considered a similar action eight months ago, the consulting firm said in an e-mailed release citing its Global Employee Pay and Staffing Survey. More than 130 Australian and New Zealand companies participated in the survey.

■ COMMUNICATIONS

SK Telecom fined US$1.2m

SK Telecom Co, South Korea’s largest mobile-phone operator, was fined 1.7 billion won (US$1.2 million) by the nation’s antitrust regulator for unfair trading practices. SK Telecom blocked the sale of a certain type of an advanced handset to retail customers on concern it might reduce the carrier’s data revenue from wireless Internet services, the Korea Fair Trade Commission said in a statement yesterday. SK Telecom also prevented some of its users from accessing content offered by a third-party service provider, the commission said.

■ AUTOMOBILES

Bosch to slash jobs

The world’s leading auto parts maker, Bosch, will have to slash jobs in Germany and abroad because of the financial crisis, an executive has warned. In an interview to appear in the next edition of the magazine Auto Motor, Bernd Bohr refused to give precise figures, while speaking of several hundred jobs affected in foreign plants and “structural adjustment” in Germany. Temporary contracts would not be renewed, Bohr said. In October the group predicted a “really tough year” next year after results this year fell below expectations, with rising costs and weaker sales growth.

■ TOURISM

Theme park to be built

Merlin Entertainments Group Ltd, the operator of tourist attractions owned by Blackstone Group LP, will build a 750 million ringgit (US$209 million) Legoland theme park in Malaysia. Merlin and Iskandar Investment Bhd have agreed to construct the park, expected to be open in 2013, in Johor Bahru, a statement e-mailed yesterday said. Merlin will take a 20 percent stake in the venture while a group led by Iskandar will own 80 percent, the joint statement said. The Legoland park is part of a 3.5 billion ringgit complex which includes offices, hotels, apartments and a shopping mall, Iskandar, a Malaysian state-controlled company, and Merlin said.

■ COMPUTERS

Biodegradable model made

The world’s first biodegradable computer, the iameco, has been manufactured in Dublin from bio-degradable wood panels made from waste products in the lumber and pulp industry. During a visit to the company by Irish Minister for Science and Innovation, Jimmy Devins, the inventors of iameco, MicroPro Computers Ltd, said they could implant the seeds of native-tree species into the wood panels. The minister’s visit coincided with the announcement of details of a new Enterprise Ireland Green Technology Support for businesses. In addition to the iameco computer, which uses one-third less energy than conventional computers, the biodegradable wood can also be used to manufacture the computer monitor casing, keyboard and mouse.

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