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Fri, Sep 24, 2010 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AFP AND AP

■ MEDIA

Blockbuster could go bust

Troubled video-rental chain Blockbuster Inc could file for bankruptcy protection, a Wall Street Journal article reported. Citing unnamed sources, the Journal said Blockbuster is working with creditors to develop a bankruptcy restructuring plan that would free it of debt and allow the company to keep some stores open and focus more on digital distribution. If Blockbuster misses an interest payment on Sept. 30, more than US$900 million in debt will be due in full.

■ COMPUTERS

Dell to release second tablet

Dell chief executive Michael Dell said on Wednesday the firm would release a second tablet computer to compete in a hot market dominated by Apple’s iPad. Dell made the announcement during an on-stage presentation at Oracle’s annual OpenWorld conference in San Francisco, but gave no details about the gadget, its price or when it would hit the market. Industry insiders believe the new tablet will have a seven-inch touchscreen and run on Google Inc’s Android software.

■ AUTOMAKERS

New Mexico plant planned

Volkswagen unveiled plans on Wednesday to invest US$550 million in a new plant in Mexico to help the giant German automaker strengthen its position in the North American market. The announcement came jointly with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who said the plant would be a “next generation” engine facility in the central state of Guanajuato, to supply the assembly plant in Puebla and a US facility in Tennessee. Volkswagen aims to triple is US sales by 2018 to 1 million annually and hopes to overtake Toyota as the world’s biggest automaker. The German firm produced 325,000 vehicles in Mexico last year and hopes to boost that by 35 percent this year.

■ BANKING

Unicredit looking for CEO

The chairman of Italy’s largest bank, Unicredit, said a new chief executive for the lending giant would be found “quickly,” following a shareholder rebellion that has weighed down investor confidence. “The succession to Alessandro Profumo will be handled quickly, but with great care,” Dieter Rampl said in a letter to company employees. The bank’s share price has fallen 6.11 percent in the past two days to 1.823 euros (US$2.44). Profumo was ousted on Tuesday at an emergency board meeting. Rampl has temporarily taken over Profumo’s duties.

■ AVIATION

Franz gets Lufthansa CEO job

Deutsche Lufthansa AG on Wednesday named Christoph Franz, the head of its passenger airline business and the man who presided over the restructuring of Swiss International Airlines, as its new chief executive. Franz, 50, will take over as chief executive on Jan. 1, Germany’s biggest airline said. His term will run through May 31, 2014. Franz will replace Wolfgang Mayrhuber, who has led the company since 2003.

■ AUTOMAKERS

Nissan, Renault to cut costs

Japan’s Nissan Motor and its partner Renault of France will jointly develop a platform for at least 10 models to consolidate suppliers and cut procurement costs, a report said on Wednesday. The two companies, which intend to design the common platform for medium-sized sport utility vehicles and sedans, also plan to standardize 70 key components, including windows and brakes, the Nikkei reported. The key components account for about 80 percent of the total cost of parts and materials, the report added.

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