Burberry to slash 540 jobs
British luxury clothing brand Burberry said yesterday it planned to eliminate up to 540 jobs in Britain and Spain as the global economic slowdown takes its toll. The company famed for its iconic trenchcoat said it would shut a sewing factory in Rotherham, northern England, and close its “underperforming” Thomas Burberry business in Spain. “Burberry will shortly be entering a consultation process in Spain, which could lead to around 250 redundancies,” the group said in a statement. In addition, up to 290 staff will lose their jobs in England. Burberry said in a statement that the measures would help the group to reduce annual costs by up to £35 million (US$50 million).
China, HK sign agreement
China and Hong Kong signed a 200 billion yuan (US$29 billion) swap agreement yesterday as part of Beijing’s measures to help the city through the economic crisis, the Chinese central bank said. “It will ... strengthen the outside world’s confidence in the financial stability of Hong Kong,” the People’s Bank of China said in a statement about the three-year agreement. It will ease liquidity trouble for the territory as it will boost the amount of yuan that Hong Kong banks can draw on as they service companies in the city that use the Chinese currency when trading.
RIM may appeal court order
Canadian firm Research In Motion (RIM), the maker of the Blackberry smartphone, said on Monday that it may appeal a court order that blocked its hostile takeover offer for Certicom Corp. “RIM is reviewing the court’s reasons for decision and is considering any alternatives available to it as a result of the court order, including a possible appeal,” RIM said in a statement. Based in Waterloo, Ontario, the firm made an offer in December to buy encryption software maker Certicom Corp for C$66 million (US$53 million). But Certicom said the Ontario Superior Court of Justice had granted a permanent injunction to block the buyout offer of C$1.50 per share. RIM said it “continues to be disappointed by the actions of Certicom’s directors in pursuing court proceedings.”
S Korea reports trade deficit
South Korea recorded its first trade deficit in 11 years last year due to the global economic slowdown and soaring crude prices earlier in the year, the Customs Service said yesterday. It said the shortfall was US$13.3 billion last year compared with a surplus of US$14.6 billion in 2007. Exports jumped 13.6 percent to US$422 billion but imports surged 22 percent to US$435.3 billion, it said in a report. The annual trade deficit was the first since 1997 when the nation was hit by the East Asian financial crisis.
BMW looks for guarantees
Germany’s BMW, the world’s largest premium car maker, is looking into applying for state guarantees to back up its borrowings, the Bild Zeitung newspaper reported yesterday. BMW was not immediately available for comment on the report. The car maker would become the second manufacturer in Germany to seek state aid after Volkswagen sought guarantees for its financial divisions to cover refinancing of car loans in December. Germany’s carmakers are suffering from collapsing global demand.