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Thu, Feb 05, 2009 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ELECTRONICS

Panasonic to close 27 plants

Panasonic Corp said yesterday it will slash 15,000 jobs and shut down 27 plants worldwide to cope with plunging demand for its TVs, semiconductors and other electronics products. The world’s largest maker of plasma display TVs also announced a net loss for the October to December quarter and lowered its forecast for the fiscal year through next month to a net loss of ¥380 billion (US$4.2 billion), its first annual loss in six years. The Osaka-based manufacturer plans to cut the jobs — half of which will come in Japan — by the end of March next year. They amount to about 5 percent of its 300,000-strong global work force. Panasonic also will shutter 14 overseas plants and 13 plants in Japan to adjust production and cut costs, company spokesman Akira Kadota said.

■SPAIN

Unemployment surges

The number of people out of work in Spain rose to a 12-year high last month as companies shed tens of thousands of jobs due to the collapse of a decade-long property boom, official data showed on Tuesday. By the end of last month there were more than 3.3 million out of work, up 6.35 percent or 198,838 over the previous month, the labor ministry said. Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said he expects the situation will start to improve in March and April when 32,000 public works projects get under way across the country which will create over 300,000 jobs. The labor ministry does not calculate a monthly percentage unemployment rate but according to the latest quarterly figures it hit 13.91 percent in the last three months of last year, the highest rate in the 27-nation EU. The government expects it will rise to 15.9 percent this year before gradually starting to fall.

■ELECTRONICS

Motorola reports Q4 loss

Motorola reported a huge fourth-quarter loss on Tuesday and said it was suspending its dividend and looking for a new chief financial officer. The Illinois-based company reported a net loss of US$3.57 billion in the final three months of last year, or US$1.57 per share, and a net loss of US$4.16 billion for the full year. Motorola also released a grim outlook for the current quarter, forecasting a loss of US$0.10 to US$0.12 per share. Motorola’s stock plunged on Wall Street losing 11.01 percent on Tuesday, to close at US$4.04.

■ENTERTAINMENT

Music giants near merger

Music industry giants Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc and Live Nation Inc are on the verge of an all-stock merger, the Wall Street Journal said yesterday, citing people close to the matter. The deal to create a combined company called Live Nation Ticketmaster would be a “merger of equals,” the Journal said, bringing together the concert promoter and the ticket selling artist-management company. If approved by both company boards, the new firm would be able to manage music from its creation in the studio to live concerts, handling everything from recording music to sponsoring tours and selling tickets, the Journal said.

■ENERGY

Refiner unions avert strike

Union negotiators tentatively agreed to a new labor contract with refiners on Tuesday, averting a strike by as many as 24,000 workers that could have crimped US supplies of gasoline and other fuels. The agreement sets minimum levels for wages and benefits. Final details were to be released yesterday by the United Steelworkers union, which represents 30,000 workers.

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