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Thu, Mar 25, 2010 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ECONOMY

US pay czar orders cuts

US President Barack Obama’s pay czar on Tuesday ordered executive compensation at five prominent bailed-out firms to be cut by 15 percent, amid voter anger over Wall Street pay. Kenneth Feinberg said 119 executives at AIG, Chrysler, Chrysler Financial, General Motors and its troubled former finance arm GMAC would this year see their cash rewards slashed by a third and total pay cut by 15 percent versus last year. In a statement the US Treasury — where Feinberg’s office is located — said 82 percent of the executives covered by the ruling will receive cash salaries of US$500,000 or less.

■AVIATION

Conflicting reports on WTO

Officials say the WTO has ruled that European governments unfairly financed Airbus and harmed the fortunes of rival US plane maker Boeing, even as the France-based Airbus claimed it won. Two officials from different countries with knowledge of Tuesday’s confidential WTO ruling say it upheld findings of an “interim” decision handed down last September. That verdict was also confidential. It faulted European governments for providing Airbus with subsidies through risk-free loans, research funding and infrastructure support, officials said. However, Airbus said “70 percent of the US claims were rejected” and that the WTO panel rejected Boeing’s claims that its performance suffered as a result of European subsidies.

■CURRENCIES

East Asian swap launched

East Asian nations yesterday officially launched a US$120 billion regional currency swap agreement, giving them a safety net against future liquidity shortages. The Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization covers South Korea, China, Japan and the 10-member ASEAN. The agreement will allow each member to swap local currency for dollars for an amount in proportion to its contribution. Japan and China will each provide 32 percent, US$38.4 billion, of the total. South Korea will contribute US$19.2 billion, or 16 percent, with the remaining US$24 billion shared between the ASEAN members.

■SOFTWARE

Adobe’s Q1 earnings decline

Adobe Systems Inc said on Tuesday that fiscal first-quarter earnings declined on higher expenses, but sales climbed as demand for its design and publishing software improved with the economy. Adobe said it earned US$127.2 million, or US$0.24 per share, during the three months that ended on March 5. That is down 19 percent from a year earlier. Revenue rose 2 percent to US$858.7 million, surpassing analysts’ expectations.

■AUTOMAKERS

Fiat may cut 5,000 jobs

Automaker Fiat is seen cutting 5,000 jobs as part of its strategic plan due to be unveiled next month while at the same time increasing Italian production by 50 percent, newspaper la Repubblica reported. The job cuts would affect three plants in Italy and represent 15 percent of the 30,000 workers employed on assembly lines in the country, the newspaper said..

■AVIATION

EasyJet chooses new CEO

Budget airline easyJet says it has chosen publishing executive Carolyn McCall as its new chief executive. McCall, 48, has been group chief executive of Guardian Media Group, publisher of the Guardian and Observer newspapers, since 2006. EasyJet said yesterday that she replaces Andy Harrison, who will be taking up a new job as chief executive of hotel and restaurant group Whitbread PLC.

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