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World Business Quick Take



JAL to cut thousands of jobs

Japan Airlines is to cut 6,800 jobs and pursue a tie-up with a foreign carrier in an effort to return to profit, its president Haruka Nishimatsu said yesterday. “We are talking about a personnel cut of 6,800,” he told reporters. “It’s a significant figure. The personnel reduction cannot wait.” JAL, which lost more than US$1 billion in the April-June quarter, has already slashed thousands of jobs in recent years. Nishimatsu said JAL aimed to seal a tie-up with an overseas carrier by the middle of next month. According to local media, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines’ parent company are both interested in taking stakes in the Japanese group.


Citigroup plans to pare stake

The US Treasury Department and Citigroup Inc have begun discussing how to sell the 34 percent stake that the government acquired in the rescue of the bank, people familiar with the matter said. The Treasury, which owns 7.69 billion common shares after a recent preferred-stock conversion designed to shore up the bank’s capital, may start unloading the stake as soon as next month, one of the people said. It aims to sell the holdings over the next six to eight months, the person said. The planning is in the early stages, and some transactions may need regulatory approvals, the people familiar with the matter said. Other bailed-out banks, including Bank of America Corp and Wells Fargo & Co, have pledged to repay government money.


Coca-Cola reports arrests

Coca-Cola said yesterday two former employees of its Shanghai bottling company had been arrested for corruption. The two employees worked for Shanghai Shenmei Beverage and Food Co (上海申美飲料食品), which is licensed to produce Coca-Cola in China and which is part-owned by the US soft drink giant, a Hong Kong-based spokesman for Coca-Cola said. “We can confirm that two former employees at our Shanghai [Shenmei] bottling plant have been detained by the police,” said the spokesman. Coca-Cola dismissed reports that the case involved bribes to government officials, saying the investigation focused on “allegations that the former employees extracted kickbacks from suppliers and embezzled from our bottler.”


Yahoo to sell Alibaba stake

Yahoo has cashed out of its investment in Chinese e-commerce site, Alibaba.com (阿里巴巴). The sale, announced on Monday, is expected to generate a pretax windfall of about US$150 million for Yahoo. The Internet company had owned a 1 percent stake in Alibaba.com. Yahoo invested about US$100 million in Alibaba.com as part of an initial public offering completed in November 2007. The shares have soared since then, and Yahoo decided it was time to capitalize on the run-up. Yahoo still holds a roughly 40 percent stake in Alibaba.com’s owner, the Alibaba Group.


Ssangyong proposes plan

Debt-burdened South Korean carmaker Ssangyong Motor yesterday proposed a rescue package that would weaken links to China’s SAIC Motor Corp (上海汽車), its biggest shareholder. The plan submitted to a bankruptcy court involves a major capital writedown and a debt-for-equity swap, the company said in a statement. SAIC’s holding of 51 percent would be cut to 11.2 percent through a five for one writedown of its stake, while other shareholders would face a three for one reduction.

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