Revenues of home video market down 1.3% in 2001

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The Italian home video market reported a 1.3 percent drop in revenues for 2001, totalling 609 million Euros. The drop came even though the value of DVD sales rose by nearly two-thirds, and VHS and DVD formats sales grew four percent, the Hollywood Reporter said citing the Univideo distributor trade body. In a statement, Univideo said the decrease was brought on by an 18 percent drop in the price of VHS cassettes and slow DVD player penetration. Compared to 8-12 percent of their European neighbou...


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Berlusconi, Howard talk economy, reform and trade

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Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi received his Australian counterpart John Howard last week to discuss key issues that affect the two countries. AGI quoted Berlusconi as saying the meeting, a working breakfast in Palazzo Chigi, focused on “the management of the state, the economy and reform, but also on the regional crises and the prospects of action by the rich countries to help poorer countries, to eliminate poverty and migratory pressures which bring people to wealthy countries.”

A ...


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E.ON wins full control of Ruhrgas

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Germany’s power giant E.ON AG won government approval for its take-over Ruhrgas, Europe’s largest gas importer, dpa quoted the Economics Ministry as saying. E.ON’s plan to acquire for 4.1 billion Euros a 40 percent stake in the Essen-based Ruhrgas that it did not already own will transform E.ON into one of Europe’s largest gas companies. In approving the take-over by E.ON, which is Germany’s largest utility group, the economics ministry in effect revokes a decision by Germany’s cartel office whi...


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Opel workers OK wage cuts in exchange for job protection

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Workers and management at General Motors’ German subsidiary, Opel, agreed to reduce pay in exchange for guaranteeing jobs as the auto company struggles to sell its cars. The pact temporarily to undercut union pay rates was agreed with the Opel works council, a legally mandated body in most German companies that is elected by the entire staff. Dpa quoted Opel as saying the pact would bring savings totalling 160 million Euros this year and next, but the 30,000 workers would receive bonuses that wo...


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Production slumps 1.3% in May

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Production in Germany slumped by a seasonally adjusted 1.3 percent in May, the Finance Ministry said on July 9, with output in Europe’s biggest economy hit by strikes in the nation’s key engineering sector during the month under review. The ministry also pointed to workers bridging public holidays with days off as another factor in the contraction. But in releasing the data, it revised downwards the April production figure, reversing the originally-reported modest 0.2 percent rise to show a 0.2 ...


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No grand coalition in Germany

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The heads of Germany’s two major political parties have ruled out the possibility of forming a grand coalition after the September general election. In what is seen as a preview of their upcoming live television debate, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the standard-bearer for the Christian Democrats (CDU-CSU) Edmund Stoiber issued their remarks in a wide-ranging interview with Bild newspaper. While surveys show neither party has enough backing to form a viabl...


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German windpower capacity grows 35% in H1

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Installed wind generation capacity in Germany rose by almost 1,100 megawatts in the first half of 2002, a 35 percent gain over the 813 MW added in the same period last year, International Economic Forum for Renewable Energy IWR in Muenster said on June 8. Dpa quoted IWR as saying that with the new wind generators, Germany had total installed windpower capacity of 9,800 MW as of June 30. One year earlier, the figure was 6,890 MW. “The wind industry this year will again be able to surpass the reco...


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DIW revises down growth forecast for 2003

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The strong rebound in the Euro caused one of Germany’s leading economic institutes to announce on July 9 that it had revised down its 2003 growth forecast for the nation to two percent, from a previous prediction of 2.4 percent.
Dpa quoted the Berlin-based German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) as saying it expects Europe’s biggest economy to chalk up a growth rate this year of just 0.6 percent with numbers out of work surging back up past the politically sensitive four million mark, to 4...


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Joblessness in June highest in four years

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Despite the summer season which usually benefits the job market, both unadjusted and seasonally-adjusted joblessness in Germany rose in June to its highest level for the month in four years, dpa reported on July 9, citing Federal Labour Office data. Unadjusted figures showed a rise of 7,900 to a total of 3,954,400, the Nuremberg-based office said. The small rise meant no change in the unemployment rate, which stayed at 9.5 percent.
But unemployment also increased when adjusting for season facto...


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Babcock Borsig rescue bid in Germany fails

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An insolvency administrator was expected to take charge at machinery and engineering group Babcock Borsig after eleventh-hour talks between big German banks and the North Rhine-Westphalia state government came to nought on July 8.
Babcock, 111 years old, is one of the world’s main builders of boilers and the pollution control equipment that goes with them. It made a formal filing last Friday for insolvency, but hoped to escape that status with fresh bank credits and state guarantees. After five...


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Bekaert ready to boost advanced materials sales

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Belgium’s Bekaert Advanced Materials announced the signature of a comprehensive strategic alliance between its activity Bekaert Fibre Technologies and US’ Mott Corporation. The alliance includes sales, distribution, and new product development in the area of filtration products.
The aim of this alliance agreement is to enhance Mott’s and Bekaert’s sales of filtration products in Europe, Asia and North America for applications within the chemical, petrochemical and semiconductor industries, by u...


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BA, SN Brussels sign partnership agreement

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British Airways and SN Brussels Airlines have signed a new commercial partnership. The agreement will enable the SN Brussels flight code to be placed on all British Airways services between Brussels and London from October 27.
The deal needs approval from regulators. New ticketing arrangements will allow customers to benefit from improved access to each airline’s network.
The airlines also intend to offer SN Brussels Airlines’ frequent flyers the opportunity to earn and redeem miles with Briti...


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Pinguin supports Hungarian firm in buying drive

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On completing the acquisition of two frozen food companies by mid-August, Pinguin, Belgium’s frozen products maker, and Globus Rt, a Hungarian canning and frozen food company, are expected to continue with joint acquisitions as a strategic partnership, according to BBJ.
“We are looking at potential targets at the moment, and it is likely that our next acquisition will be conducted in Serbia,” said Istvan Temesfti, Globus co-owner and chairman. “However, we are also monitoring the restructuring ...


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Virgin Express announces expansion to German base

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In line with its stated intention to expand its operations Virgin Express, the low fare Brussels-based airline, announced on July 10 that it would commence flights from Koln-Bonn airport in December 2002. It has secured take off and landing slots to Koln-Bonn from a number of key destinations for the winter season and expects to expand this portfolio for the following summer. Virgin Express foresees demand for up to 20 aircraft in Germany by 2006.
Recruitment of German-based crews and ground st...


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Hiddink collaborates with Royal Philips Electronics

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Guus Hiddink, the former coach of the successful South Korean football team and new trainer of PSV Eindhoven, has forged a deal with Royal Philips Electronics to collaborate on special projects, like football clinics and general promotional events. “I am extremely pleased that Guus Hiddink has agreed to work with Philips on supporting our activities around football and the Philips brand,” Philips’ CEO Gerard Kleisterlee said. “Both Philips and Hiddink recently enjoyed a successful World Cup in A...


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Bluewater Energy, Van Oord clinch Jebel Dhana contract

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Bluewater Energy Services and Van Oord ACZ, two Dutch companies, are the recipients of an agreement for the supply and installation of a conventional buoy mooring (CBM) system and pipeline for the Shuweihat Power and Desalination plant, according to press reports. Jebel Dhana, United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the site of the new system. Consortium leader Bluewater’s role will be to design and provide the mooring system, pipeline end manifold (PLEM) and related components. Van Oord ACZ’s role will b...


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Internet via ADSL expands 4%, Multiscope report shows

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Agency Multiscope has issued its latest telephone survey on the Internet via ADSL. According to the data, Internet via ADSL grew to four percent in 2002 from one percent last year, Europemedia.net reported. One thousand people were polled in the study. ADSL still lags behind cable, which has secured a market share of 14 percent. But the data show that the cable market share is no longer growing, rather it is falling to some extent. The report showed that ISDN connections expanded to 16 percent f...


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Rijkswaterstaat chooses Axeda for bridge control

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Axeda Systems, US leader for device relationship management (DRM) company software and services, said Rijkswaterstaat (RWS), a directorate general of the Dutch Transport, Public and Water Management Ministry responsible for bridges, roads, dikes and water locks, has chosen Axeda Supervisor (TM) to remotely oversee and handle key bridge systems and to keep reviewing the amount of salt water introduced into the rivers of the Zeeland province. The ministry’s DG oversees the protection against flood...


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Accelerated use of info, communication technology

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The Netherlands is showing accelerated progress in the use of information and communication technology, the Dutch statistics office CBS said in its latest study, cited by Europemedia.net. However, it did add that the rise in spending has now reached saturation point
The study showed that use of computers and Internet facilities in the country is reaching a saturation point as well. To date, 90 percent of Dutch businesses use computers and 82 percent will have access to the Internet by year-end....


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Moi chastises Amsterdam, Ottawa for lack of development aid

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The Dutch and Canadian ambassadors to Kenya were recently criticised by Daniel arap Moi, the Kenyan president, for reportedly failing to offer the east African nation substantial amount of development aid, the French news agency AFP reported.
The Kenyan president’s office cited Moi as saying: “The Netherlands has not been treating Kenya well and I wonder whether that country would like Kenya to be unstable to deserve development aid. Moi’s comments were made at the farewell ceremony for outgoin...


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KPNQwest loses French ring to Swedish Telia – report

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Dutch KPNQwest’s network in France is being purchased by Telia AB, a Sweden-based telecoms company. Telia agreed to buy the stake for USD 2.9 million. The deal includes KPNQwest’s ring in Paris and links extending to Lille and Kehl, Germany, according to the Associated Press.
...


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Crowded skies over Britain lead to aircraft near-misses

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British flight authorities are investigating an incident over the western English city of Bristol in which two British Airways passenger planes nearly collided. A BA spokesman said on July 5 that the Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), an electronic warning device in the cockpit, was automatically activated and thus prevented a collision. Both aircraft had come within 300 metres of each other over Bristol airport. The TCAS steered them clear of each other. The spokesman added: “The TCAS s...


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Britain approves export of jet parts for Israel

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Britain gave the go-ahead on July 8 for the export to the United States of fighter jet components destined for Israel, despite protests that it was violating its own guidelines on ethical arms sales. Foreign Secretary Jack Straw was quoted as saying the navigation and targeting equipment — known as head up display units — would be shipped to the United States where it would be built into F-16 jets due to be delivered to Israel next year. Straw said Britain, which has pledged to meet tough export...


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SABMiller eyeing acquisitions

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Brewer SABMiller has paved the way for more acquisitions announcing a share placing worth around GBP 614 million. The world’s second-largest brewer, brewer of Pilsner Urquell, Miller Lite and Castle beers, said the placing would give it flexibility in the face of a rapidly consolidating global beer industry, including opportunities to enhance its position as a global brewer, local news agencies reported. On July 9, the company announced the completion of its takeover of Miller Brewing....


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CMHB offering 100% mortgages to clients

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Ceskomoravska Hypotecni Banka (CMHB) announced it is offering 100 percent mortgages to clients, which has left its competitors tongue-tied. CMHB is the first Czech bank to make this move. PBJ quoted analysts as saying the move will surely heighten competition on the market by allowing in more potential homeowners in a segment that nearly doubled last year. Under the terms of the mortgage package, property valued between 500,000-1 million Czech crowns will be covered and they will carry an intere...


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CSOB funds for corporate investors shrink in June

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June’s CSOB funds for corporate investors fell in administered assets by 2.05 billion Czech crowns. The decrease was mainly due to investor withdrawal of funds for tax returns and dividend payments, according to PBJ. Overall volume of single investors’ investments to CSOB funds in the Czech Republic totalled 1.15 billion crowns, against 1.2 billion crowns in the previous month. Net sales in June stood at 0.97 billion crowns....


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Appian Group to invest 700 mln crowns in Skoda

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Appian Group has placed a bid for a 49 percent in Skoda Plzen, which is being sold by state agency Ceska Konsolidacni Agentura (CKA). The company is offering 700 million Czech crowns for the stake in exchange for exclusivity from the state, PBJ quoted unnamed sources close to the deal as saying. Apian Group said it would also like to undertake Skoda’s debts to the state, valued at two billion crowns. Financial company Advent and US group General Electric have also shown interest in securing the ...


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GES to develop media co, invest in RTV Galaxie buyout

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GES, a financial group, announced it will develop a media company and will invest some money to take over RTV Galaxie, owner of a broadcasting licence for Prague and a section of Central Bohemia, according to PBJ. The amount of the investment was not disclosed. GES currently owns TV Prima and Good Harvest, a publishing house....


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Caldairou joins Czech Peugeot family

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The Czech unit of French carmaker Peugeot has a new financial director. According to PBJ, Stephane Caldairou, 30, has transferred to Peugeot Ceska Republika after his tenure at the company’s headquarters. “After my experience at the headquarters, I felt the need to take a more operational position,” Caldairou said. A Frenchman, Caldairoiu said he was offered several foreign posts but finally selected the Czech Republic because he admires “the amazing pace at which the country is catching up with...


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Czech Republic enters liberalised telecom era

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The telecoms market in the Czech Republic recently seemed to be on course for the new liberalised era wherein clients have the option to select their phone operator on a call-by-call basis, according to PBJ.
Czech Telecom, a leading fixed-line operator, said it is prepared to sign deals permitting carrier selection. Under the telecoms law, routing of clients’ calls via alternative operators’ networks call-by-call were made available at the start of this month. Clients will have the capacity to ...


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HTC Holding succeeds in clinching 99% of Zetor

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The Slovakia-based HTC Holding has clinched a tender to obtain tractor maker Zetor. The sale’s contract was inked between HTC Holding and the Czech Consolidation Agency (CKA), CTK quoted CKA spokesman Jiri Pekarek as saying. The Slovak company obtained a 99.93 percent stake in Zetor and all its debts, in addition to the full control of Revitalizacni traktor.
No financial terms of the deal were disclosed. Based on an April resolution of the government, HTC Holding will shell out 310 million Czec...


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Coalition urges government to guarantee CEZ sell-off

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CEZ’s sell-off will be high on the list of government priorities thanks to the urging of its minority partners, the Coalition, according to PBJ. In recent talks, negotiators for the Coalition called on CSSD to switch its pre-election promise to consider a “possible” sale of the country’s top electricity producer to a 100 percent promise for privatisation.
Although the deal has not yet been finalised, the Coalition is slated to receive the Ministry of Industry and Trade portfolio in the next gov...


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New music channel for Slovak listeners

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A new music channel is opening in Slovakia. The Bratislava-based TV group Servis has obtained a TV licence to provide music. Broadcasting and Retransmission Council (RVR) gave the licence a green light. Servis has been offered 13 free frequencies that will allow it to reach some 20 percent of the Slovak region. According to Peter Kovac, chief of RVR, “TV Servis had a professionally prepared project.”...


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Higher spending puts 2003 state budget at risk

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Higher social spending approved by members of parliament can put the 2003 budget at risk, the Finance Ministry said in a statement. Next year’s budget has just 50 percent of the money it needs for spending on budget priorities, according to local reports. Just 13 billion Slovak crowns will be available for the 2003 state budget, while this year’s budget set aside 30 billion crowns of a total of 258 billion in planned spending for defence and highway development....


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Swedish Swedwood mulls cancelling Slovak investment

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Swedwood, a Sweden-based furniture maker, announced it might cancel a planned 500 million Slovak crown (USD 11 million) investment for the development of a wood processing plant in Slovakia because it cannot agree with a state forest company on supplier prices and quantities, according to local reports....


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Clients get protection for bank deposits

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Bank clients are now getting more protection for their deposits from the Deposit Protection Fund. Effective July 1, clients can get possible repayments if bank crashes total more than 500,000 Slovak crowns (USD 11,000), according to local reports....


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Parliament ratifies new law on retail chains

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Slovakia’s parliament ratified a new law on retail chains week before last. However, the new law has drawn criticism from the European Union because it says it fails to conform to the EU’s free movement of goods rules, according to the Slovak Spectator. Even though the law left out a draft rule that retail chains in Slovakia carry nearly three-quarters of domestic goods, Dirk Meganck, the EC’s main negotiator for Slovakia’s accession, said the new requirement that stores carry a “proportional as...


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