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Thu, Feb 12, 2009 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take



Integration terms reached

Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) and Wall Street giant Morgan Stanley have agreed on basic terms to integrate their securities units in Japan late this year, a report said yesterday. As part of efforts to strengthen its own domestic brokerage operations, MUFG, Japan’s largest financial group, had proposed the integration, the Nikkei Shimbun said without naming sources. Once combined, Mitsubishi UFJ Securities Co and Morgan Stanley Japan Securities Co would be the third-largest securities house in Japan, it said. MUFG has bought a 21 percent stake in Morgan Stanley for US$9 billion.


Nokia shutting R&D plant

Nokia Corp said yesterday that it would close the Jyvaskyla research and development plant in southern Finland and ax up to 320 jobs there in a move to save costs. Nokia said it would close the Jyvaskyla plant by year’s end. It also announced temporary layoffs of some 2,500 workers at another plant in Salo. The announcements follow last month’s earnings report which showed Nokia’s fourth-quarter net profit plunge by 69 percent to 576 million euros (US$744 million) from 1.8 billion euros and a loss of market share to 37 percent, from 40 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007.


ArcelorMittal posts loss

ArcelorMittal, the world’s biggest steelmaker, posted an unexpected fourth-quarter loss after taking one-off charges of US$4.4 billion that included writedowns on inventories and raw-material contracts. The net loss was US$2.63 billion, compared with net income of US$2.44 billion a year earlier, the Luxembourg-based company said yesterday in a statement. The annual dividend was cut to US$0.75 a share, from US$1.50. “Whilst the operating climate is likely to remain challenging for the first quarter, we are starting to see some signs of improvement,” chief executive officer Lakshmi Mittal said in the statement.


Peugeot-Citroen posts loss

France’s biggest carmaker, PSA Peugeot-Citroen, said yesterday that it lost 343 million euros (US$433 million) last year and expects to keep losing money this year as it deals with an “unprecedented collapse” in auto sales amid the world financial crisis. The loss compares with a net profit of 885 million euros a year earlier. Sales fell 7.4 percent to 54.4 billion euros. CEO Christian Streiff predicts auto sales would fall 20 percent in Western Europe this year, before leveling out in 2010. He said he expects the first half of this year to be “particularly difficult.”


New Singapore plan starts

The Singapore Tourism Board yesterday announced a S$90 million (US$59.71 million) initiative to help the tourism sector ride out the global economic downturn as the city-state was expecting a drop in tourism arrivals. The board said the year-long program would include a global marketing campaign with its main focus on attracting tourists from China, India, Indonesia and Malaysia. It also wants to woo visitors from emerging markets, such as Vietnam, and Changi Airport stopover travelers from Australia, Germany and Britain. The board projected that tourists this year would number 9 million to 9.5 million with tourism receipts forecast at S$12 billion to S$12.5 billions, down from last year’s 10.1 million tourist arrivals and S$14.8 billion in tourism receipts.

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