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Sat, Jul 04, 2009 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■TELECOMS

Deutsche mulls asset swap

Deutsche Telekom, the biggest German telecommunications operator, is looking to swap its lossmaking T-Mobile unit in Britain for an asset in another country, the Financial Times (FT) reported yesterday. FT quoted sources familiar with the matter as saying a swap was considered a “preferred option” to selling the unit outright or merging it with a British rival. Deutsche Telekom is active in 15 countries in the region, including Austria and Greece, the report said.

■INTEREST RATES

Indonesia cuts rates

Indonesia’s central bank cut its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 6.75 percent yesterday in a bid to stimulate the economy as inflationary pressures ease. The cut was expected after the annual inflation rate dropped to 3.65 percent last month from 6.04 percent in May. Bank Indonesia said the economy would grow by between 3 percent and 4 percent this year, compared with 6.1 percent last year. Bank Indonesia has cut its policy rate by 275 basis points since December.

■BANKING

Merkel urges tough reform

German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned yesterday that governments would fight off any attempt by banks to water down tough reforms of financial regulations. “There is perhaps a certain danger that banks which are doing quite well again might try to not exactly support the regulation efforts, but to put them in doubt again,” Merkel told the Wall Street Journal Europe in an interview. “I don’t see that they have a chance of succeeding, either with the American administration, nor in the European Union,” she said.

■AUTOMOBILES

China to revise Opel offer

China’s Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co (BAIC, 北京汽車工業) was expected to submit a revised offer yesterday for Opel, the European subsidiary of General Motors, German newspaper reports said. A binding offer is expected to follow in the next two weeks, BAIC executives reportedly told German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Other contenders in the bidding process are a consortium based around Canadian car assembly group Magna, as well as RJH, the European subsidiary of US investors Ripplewood.

■MINING

BHP sells nickel refinery

BHP Billiton, the world’s biggest miner, said yesterday it had agreed to sell an Australian nickel refinery to Australian businessman Clive Palmer for an undisclosed sum. However, the Anglo-Australian group said it had written down the value of the refinery in Queensland by US$675 million. “Communications with our workforce, suppliers, customers and the community will begin immediately and will continue over the coming weeks to facilitate a smooth transition to the new owner,” Jimmy Wilson, president of BHP Billiton Stainless Steel Materials, said in a statement.

■ELECTRONICS

Siemens helps fight crime

Making up for its past misdeeds, Siemens is to help pay for anti-corruption campaigns by the UN and other bodies, the German electronics group said on Thursday in Munich. The company will provide up to US$7 million annually for 15 years to help prevent corruption. Siemens, which has admitted that for years its executives bribed their way to contracts for telephone exchanges and other multimillion-dollar projects, said the undertaking was made to the World Bank in Washington.

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