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Fri, Apr 03, 2009 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■PHARMACEUTICALS

Dow to sell Morton Salt

Having completed its US$16.5 billion buyout of Rohm & Haas, Dow Chemical Co said on Wednesday it would sell Morton Salt to German fertilizer maker K+S Aktiengesellschaft in a deal valuing the former Rohm & Haas unit at US$1.675 billion. The sale is part of Dow’s plan to sell off non-core Rohm & Haas assets to pay down the hefty debt it had to take on to complete the purchase of the chemical maker. “This sale puts us ahead of schedule on our de-leveraging plan post the close of the Rohm & Haas acquisition,” Dow chairman and chief executive Andrew Liveris said in a statement.

■INSURANCE

Reinsurer to slim workforce

Swiss Reinsurance Co said yesterday it would cut 10 percent of its work force this year in a bid to reduce costs and simplify its operations. The world’s second-biggest reinsurance company, which currently has 11,560 employees, also announced the appointment of Agostino Galvagni as new chief operating officer. The company posted an 864 million Swiss franc (US$809 million) loss last year. The Zurich-based company has received a capital injection of SF3 billion from US investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc and said it was looking for another SF2 billion on the capital markets.

■PROPERTY

British house prices rise

British house prices rose for the first time in 17 months last month, a survey by home-loans provider Nationwide showed yesterday. The cost of a home in Britain increased by 0.9 percent last month from February, leaving the average value of a home at just under £151,000 (US$220,000), Nationwide said. The surprise increase also led to a reduction in the annual rate at which house prices are falling — to 15.7 percent from a record 17.6 percent in February.

■RETAIL

Aeon to trade in China

Japanese retail giant Aeon Co said yesterday that it plans to open 200 convenience stores in China over the next five years as it looks for business beyond its recession-hit home market. The supermarket operator has set up a unit for its Ministop chain in Qingdao, Shandong Province, with US$5 million in capital, said a spokesman who asked not to be named. “We aim to open outlets as early as this summer and plan to increase the number to about 200 in Shandong Province in five years’ time,” said the spokesman, citing “potentially huge demand.”

■COMPUTERS

Many Satyam staff quitting

As many as 13,000 employees may have quit India’s graft-tainted outsourcing giant Satyam, with some poached by clients and others leaving to work for rivals or other firms, a report said yesterday. The workforce of Satyam, which has been struggling for survival since its founder admitted to falsifying profits, stood at 40,000 by the end of March, down from 53,000 at the start of the year, India’s Mint business daily said.

■COMPUTERS

Silicon Graphics goes bust

Silicon Graphics Inc, a one-time computer powerhouse that delivered the special effects in many Hollywood hits, declared bankruptcy on Wednesday and was purchased for US$25 million in cash. Rackable Systems Inc, a Fremont, California-based manufacturer of servers and data storage products, announced that it had agreed to acquire most of the assets of Silicon Graphics and to assume some of its liabilities.

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