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Wed, Feb 25, 2009 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■AUTOMOBILES

Opel to receive credit

The German government is set to give automaker Opel credit to survive the global slump and financial distress at Opel’s US parent, General Motors (GM), a press report said yesterday. The move is prompted by a sense of urgency concerning the situation at Opel, which employs around 25,000 people in Germany, the Financial Times Deutschland said, without identifying its sources. Opel supervisory board member Armin Schild has estimated the German car maker needs at least 3.3 billion euros (US$4.2 billion) in cash to survive. The company will go bankrupt by May or June if no state aid is forthcoming, mass circulation Bild reported on Saturday.

■PUBLISHING

Paper seeks to cut costs

The Financial Times, the leading financial newspaper, will offer staff the chance to work three days a week over the summer as part of its drive to cut costs, a company spokesman said on Monday. “We are offering a range of flexible working options to our staff, including a temporary three-day working week in the summer between June and August … to respond positively to the changing market,” spokesman Tom Glover said in an e-mail. The Guardian newspaper reported on Monday that the FT had also offered employees additional annual leave but at a reduced rate of pay, citing an internal company memo.

■SEMICONDUCTORS

Spansion to cut workforce

Troubled flash memory maker Spansion Inc said late on Monday it would slash its global workforce by 35 percent, affecting about 3,000 employees, mostly at manufacturing sites. The move come as Spansion, one of the world’s largest makers of flash memory chips used in digital cameras and other gadgets, is cutting costs amid a company-wide restructuring effort and exploring a possible sale. “The global recession is forcing us to make this very difficult decision in order to bring our costs in line with the current expectations for significantly reduced revenues,” Spansion president and chief executive John Kispert said in a statement.

■BIOTECH

Genentech cold on Roche bid

US biotech firm Genentech said on Monday its board urged shareholders to reject a takeover offer from Swiss pharmaceutical group Roche as “inadequate and not in the best interests of stockholders.” A special committee formed to study the bid “unanimously recommends that stockholders not tender their shares into Roche’s offer,” a statement from the US firm said. “Genentech’s strong projected financial performance implies a valuation substantially in excess of Roche’s offer price,” chairman of the panel Charles Sanders said.

■GERMANY

Business confidence drops

Business confidence in Europe’s biggest economy slipped to its lowest reading ever this month, the closely watched Ifo indicator showed yesterday, compared with market expectations for little change from the previous month. The Ifo indicator edged down to 82.6 points from 83 points last month, the Munich-based Ifo institute said. Analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires had expected the indicator to remain essentially unchanged. The level for this month came in just below the level of 82.7 points in December, the previous all-time low. “The worsening of the business situation that has been going on for months has continued in February,” a statement quoted Ifo president Hans-Werner Sinn as saying.

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