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Wed, Dec 09, 2009 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■AUTOMOBILES

GM mulls selling Saab line

General Motors Co (GM) is talking to BAIC (北京汽車工業), China’s fifth-biggest car maker, about a partial sale of assets associated with its Saab brand, including tooling and technology, two people with direct knowledge of the discussions said. Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Group has made it clear that it has no interest in acquiring Saab’s production hub in Trollhattan, Sweden, according to the people who could not be named because the talks remain private. Under the proposed deal, BAIC, which lacks its own car brand, would set up production in China based on an older generation of Saab vehicles, including the 9-5 and 9-3 models, the people said. BAIC and GM both declined to comment.

■CELLPHONES

RIM expands China market

Research in Motion said yesterday it planned to expand the China market for its BlackBerry smartphone to include consumers and small businesses, amid fierce competition in the world’s biggest mobile market. Research in Motion (RIM) said in a statement it was working with China Mobile (中國移動) to introduce the handset to “professional” individuals and small and medium-sized businesses. It gave no timetable nor did it say how much they would cost. The handset will be customized to China’s home-grown third generation wireless technology, TD-SCDMA, the company said.

■DUBAI

IMF to probe Dubai World

An IMF team will visit Dubai in coming weeks to look closer at the economic impact of the Dubai World debt crisis and actions needed to resolve it, a senior IMF official said on Monday. IMF director for the Middle East and Central Asia Masood Ahmed said the visit was an opportunity for the IMF to update and conclude this year’s assessment of the United Arab Emirates. The Dubai and Abu Dhabi stock markets were buffeted yesterday by the fallout of Dubai’s debt woes, both posting fresh losses in volatile trade. The Dubai Financial Market index fell 6.39 percent to 1,633.26 points, continuing a downward spiral a day after the market dropped 5.84 percent.

■RESOURCES

Xstrata restructures nickel

Mining group Xstrata is taking a US$1.9 billion charge for restructuring its nickel business after metal prices fell, and is taking further charges of US$545 million for copper smelting operations in Canada and Chile, it said yesterday. “The impairments announced today reflect the structural changes made to our nickel business during 2009, together with the very significant impact of short and medium term currency movements, which have resulted in an exceptional impairment charge against Xstrata’s nickel assets,” chief executive Mick Davis said. The price of nickel has rebounded this year by 75 percent to about US$15,700 per tonne, but is still a fraction of its 2007 peak of US$51,650.

■RETAIL

Tesco sales grow slowly

Tesco PLC, the world’s third largest retailer, yesterday reported a 5.7 percent increase in sales in its third quarter, lower than analysts expected. In the 13 weeks ending on Nov. 28, Tesco said sales excluding gasoline were up 6.6 percent on a constant currency basis. Sales outside the company’s UK base rose 5.4 percent at constant exchange rates and 12 percent at actual exchange rates. Without adjusting for currency fluctuations, Tesco said total group revenue was up 7.7 percent, or 8.8 percent excluding gasoline.

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