BNP Paribas Peregrine opens Korean branch

BNP Paribas Peregrine, a France-based investment bank, has announced the official opening of its securities arm in Korea, BNP Paribas Peregrine Securities Korea Co. BNP Paribas Korea was granted permission to do business by the country's Financial Supervisory Commission on October 23, 2002. The approval marks an important milestone for BNP Paribas Peregrine as it gives the firm direct access to trade on the Korea stock market for institutional investors in Korea as well as globally. BNP Paribas ...


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Bouygues in Hong Kong 365 mln Euro Tunnel contract

French development firm Bouygues announced early last week that its construction unit had won a 365 million Euro contract to design and build a tunnel in Hong Kong, cited by AFP. Under the contract with Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation, Bouygues Construction will begin to build the Lok Ma Chau tunnel shortly. The project involves building two parallel tunnels more than five kilometres (three miles) long. The company release estimated that the project would be completed in 2006....


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XRT capital surges, to settle 14 mln Euro bank debt

XRT Group will launch a guaranteed capital increase of 7.7 million Euro and will settle its bank debts, which amount to 13.8 million Euro, the company said in a statement. Under this agreement, the company will pay 6.9 million Euro to its banks before the end of the year. The executive board will then increase the company capital to 7.7 million Euro, share premium included....


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Vivendi issues bond ahead of Cegetel bidding war

The heavily indebted Vivendi Universal recently launched a one billion Euro convertible bond ahead of its bidding war with UK mobile giant Vodafone for control of the French telco Cegetel, Europemedia.net reported recently. The French media group, which has a debt pile of 19 billion Euro, is disposing of assets to raise the four billion Euro it needs to outbid Vodafone for BT's 26 percent stake in Cegetel before the December 10 deadline. Vivendi has rejected Vodafone's offer to buy out its 44 pe...


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Budget deficit tops estimates

The French government's budget deficit is now seen reaching 45-50 billion Euro by the end of the current year, higher than the initial 44.6 billion Euro estimation by the government given last summer, sources said ahead of the 2002 secondary budget publication. As a result, France's public sector deficit will be close to the three percent Euro zone stability pact limit, at 2.8-2.9 percent of GDP, the sources said, quoted by AFX....


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Farmers make demands for better supermarket pay

Farmers blocked dozens of food warehouses across France last Thursday on the second day of a protest aimed at getting across their demands for better pay from supermarkets purchasing their produce. The country faced a potential double strike-whammy, as truckers also threatened to block roads on the weekend if renewed salary negotiations did not meet their demands. Farmers staging the protest, said to have spread to around 65 food depots and warehouses raising fears that supermarkets would run lo...


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Renault confirms Nissan’s contribution to profits

Renault has confirmed Nissan's contribution to second-half earnings for 2002. Citing a company a release, after restatement, the profit reported by Nissan will contribute 910,1 million Euro to Renault's second-half net income for the current year including 79 million Euro from IAS 38. In addition the French car industry forecast that for the full-year 2002, Renault will record a positive impact of 1,335 million Euro on its net income. In other developments, Renault's best selling car Megane II w...


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Air France profits up, share swap with Alitalia ahead

Air France reported an 85.5 percent surge early last week in second quarter operating profit for the fiscal 2002-2003 period to 141 million Euro compared with the same period last year, according to the AFP news agency. The result, calculated before interest, taxes and asset sales, was in line with projections by analysts, who had foreseen operating profit in a range of 122 million to 151 million Euro.
In the first six months of the fiscal year, period ended September 30, operating profit came...


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Beaujolais Nouveau “est arrive” along with quality criticism

Wine’s image suffers at home because of supermarket sales

Beaujolais Nouveau was due to be introduced around the world last Friday to the usual flurry of giddy publicity. In places as far-flung as Bangkok, Prague and San Francisco, banners reading "Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrive" (Beaujolais Nouveau is here) will usher in what Michel Rougier of the Interprofessional Union of Beaujolais Wines described as "the world's biggest pagan celebration."
Unfortunately, this year the wine makers from...


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Ingegneria Informatica clinches EU Consip deal

The Consip agreement, awarded to Italian engineering group Ingegneria Informatica, gives the latter the right to develop a new IT system for European Union funds monitoring and for the management of financial ties with the European Community, according to Prline. Valued at 12 million Euro, the project will run for a period of three years. Ingegneria Informatica will work together with Ecosfera, a firm specialised in European fund monitoring. Under the agreement, development services, aid and mai...


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Benetton warns demand, profit, sales drops in 2002

Industrial group Benetton issued a warning that demand has fallen and continuous problems at its sporting goods division will push down sales by 3.5-4 percent in 2002, according to just-style.com. Benetton also estimates this year's profits will shrink by 5 percent. The clothing company is currently negotiating the sale of its Sportsystem unit, producer of Rollerblade skates, Nordica skis and Prince tennis rackets. Benetton's net profit in the third quarter totalled 24 million Euro, down 23 perc...


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Telecom Italia chooses CMG for wireless messaging solutions

Telecom Italia SpA and CMG Plc have entered into an agreement for the supply of wireless messaging solutions, according to AFX News. No financial terms were revealed. Under the deal, CMG will act as main supplier of these solutions for the 15 units of the Telecom Italia Group in Europe and South America, the company said in a statement. CMG will offer both its multimedia messaging service centre and its short messaging service centre....


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Tod’s shows 12% jump in Q3 core profits

Tod's, an Italian luxury shoe and bag maker, announced its core profits were 12 percent higher in the first three quarters of 2002. However, the company's bottom line was impacted by a huge tax bill and a comparison against the IPO increase in 2001, according to just-style.com. Net profit stood at 30.1 million Euro, down 6 percent, partly hit by a 41.8 percent tax bill. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation reached 72.8 million Euro, while turnover totalled 285.3 million E...


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Air Dolomiti reports 26% increase in Q3 revenues

Air Dolomiti SpA announced third-quarter revenues were 26 percent higher to 47.9 million Euro. The group's results were green-lighted by the Board of Directors. Revenues climbed 19 percent in the first three quarters despite the negative effects brought on by the terrorism attack in the US in September 2001. Large expansion in the group's network is the main reason behind the company's growth....


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Cavalli slapped with charges of fraud for redecorating villa

Fraud charges were laid on Roberto Cavalli, an Italian fashion designer, according to just-style.com. Prosecutors charged him of using USD 2.6 million written off in business expenses to renovate his mansion....


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Central bank says bank exposure to Fiat is OK

The Bank of Italy announced that local banks' exposure to Fiat SpA is within limits established by rules that target lower risks for the state financial system, according to Dow Jones. Credits granted to the industrial giant, which is struggling financially, were "covered by the group's activities," the central bank said in its economic bulletin. The central bank denied allegations it had cautioned a number of banks earlier this year to reduce further lending to the company. Italy's five leading...


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Italy-Russia trade rises to USD 4.5 mln in January-June

Trade between Italy and Russia has intensified over the years, Novosti quoted Russian First Deputy Economic Development and Trade Minister Elvira Nabiullina as saying. The trade figure amounted to USD 4.5 billion Euro in the first six months of this year. In a speech at the 38th General Assembly of the Italo-Russian Trade Chamber, Nabiullina said the negative balance of the bilateral trade dropped to USD 2.5 billion in the first half of 2002 from USD 5.7 billion the year before and USD 6 billion...


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Italy, Israel move to strengthen joint R&D projects

Italy and Israel announced they are ready to get started on a technological-industrial cooperation pact that was inked in 2000 and finally approved by the Italian parliament, according to Globes. In a statement, the Israeli Ministry of Industry and Trade said ratification of the deal allows Israel and Italy to back joint industrial projects, namely research & development programmes.
The two governments will invite public tenders shortly, calling for bids for joint R&D programmes which will be g...


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Berlusconi calls justice system “mad” after shocking conviction

Government officials and politicians felt like they were slapped in the face last week when an Italian appeals court overturned an earlier acquittal and sentenced ex-Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti to 24 years in prison for the murder of a journalist 23 years ago. The politicians said the ruling was "politically motivated."
"The justice system has gone mad," Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was quoted as saying by VOA News. According to the media magnate, the ruling was just another example of ...


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Anti-terrorism insurer Extremus struggles

A German insurance company that exclusively covers big business against the threat of terrorist attack is struggling to survive after hardly anybody signed up, but said it would hang on for a few more months. Extremus chief executive Bruno Gas admitted the number of customers who signed up in the first two weeks could be counted on the fingers of one hand, the Spiegel Online news service reported. But he said salesmen were talking to 20 to 30 big corporations.The policies signed so far do not co...


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Aker MTW wins Iranian order

Shipyard Aker MTW said it had won contracts to build six container freighters for an Iranian shipping line in a deal worth USD 205 million. Four of the vessels will be built at Aker's own yard in Wismar, Germany, and two at the yard further along the Baltic coast of its joint-venture partner, Kvaerner Warnow Werft (KWW) of Rostock. The MTW 2500 vessels will be delivered to Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), a Teheran-based shipowner, by mid-2004. The 207-metre ships with deadweight...


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KarstadtQuelle sales fall 3%

German department store and mail order group KarstadtQuelle staged a weak third-quarter recovery in sales, and said it expected the full-year sales figure to be down three percent. In the three months to September, sales rose 0.3 percent year-on- year and earnings before tax were flat at 54.1 million Euro, the company said from its Dusseldorf base. The retailer has bought sports-merchandising rights from the governing body of world football, FIFA. KarstadtQuelle said it had obtained exclusive Ge...


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Dresdner Bank suffers Q3 loss

Despite asset sales and heavy cost cutting, Dresdner Bank suffered a loss of 147 million Euro before tax in the third quarter, the German bank controlled by the Allianz insurance group said. Dresdner sold its mortgage lending arm Deutsche Hyp and shifted its asset management operations over to Allianz in the quarter, but the moves could not make up for an operating loss of 819 million Euro. Allianz, using a different accounting method, announced the loss at the banking subsidiary was 972 million...


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E.ON raises operational earnings

German utility group E.ON lifted nine-month operational earnings by 36 percent but warned that the full-year improvement would be significantly lower. Strong electricity sales were the main contributor to the 3.2 billion Euro in operational earnings scored January to September....


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Bundesrat OKs energy tax hikes

The German parliament has approved energy tax increases in the first of a series of meaasures to boost state revenue. Taxes will rise on natural gas, heating oil and electricity for heating under the bill passed by the Bundestag, parliament's lower chamber. No further approval for the legislation is required from the upper house, the Bundesrat. The tax increases will bring the state 1.4 billion Euro in extra revenue annually....


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Moody’s reviews Deutsche Telekom, Voicestream ratings

Moody's Investors Service on November 18 placed the Baa1 long-term and Prime-2 short-term debt ratings of Deutsche Telekom AG (DT) and its guaranteed subsidiary Deutsche Telekom International Finance BV on review for possible downgrade. At the same time, Moody's also placed the Baa2 long-term rating of VoiceStream Wireless Corp. (VoiceStream) on review for possible downgrade, on account of the link between the ratings of the two companies, resulting from DT's majority ownership of VoiceStream an...


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Economy faces biggest crisis of past 20 years

Germany's economy faces its biggest crisis of the past two decades and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's reforms will only make the situation worse, Dieter Hundt, president of the influential Federation of German Employers (BDA), said on November 19. He warned that Schroeder's failure to carry out real labour market reform would hike up unemployment to at least 4.3 million and maybe more next year....


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Banks give Mobilcom a holiday

Company must lay off 1,850 employees, freeze third-generation mobile plans

Banks recently gave struggling German mobile phone company MobilCom a one-week interest free holiday on loans so that all the signatures could be collected on a rescue package. But France Telecom, the French state-controlled group that was Mobilcom's principal backer, remained ominously silent about when it would free the humbled company from seven billion Euro in debt as it had earlier promised.
The German government...


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Sluggish economy fails to dent Agfa-Gevaert results

After three quarters in 2002, Agfa's sales reached 3,499 million Euro. Although economic conditions showed overall weakness, profitability improved substantially as the group's operating result before restructuring and non-recurring expenses rose 77.9 percent. Net profit increased even more steeply to reach 149 million Euro. Over the same period, the balance sheet strengthened considerably as the Belgian company succeeded in substantially reducing working capital and net financial debt.
After n...


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Virgin Express wins Best Short Haul Airline award

The Brussels-based Virgin Express was named Best Short Haul Airline of the Year at the Annual Travel Magazine Awards 2002 on November 15. This top accolade, voted for by travel agents around Belgium, is the first of its kind that the Belgian low fare airline has won. Last year Virgin Express was third in this category after gold-medallist KLM and Lufthansa, which took second place. This year however, the Belgian low fare carrier jumped to first place, leaving Lufthansa with silver. SN Brussels A...


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Keyware Technologies increases financial credibility

The Belgium-based Keyware Technologies NV, a provider of multi-application smart card solutions, said on November 19 that during the third quarter of this year Keyware divested and deconsolidated Keyware Solutions Inc., formerly Lex Solutions (located in Washington, US). Furthermore, Keyware divested the assets linked to IDtech nv/sa (Belgium). Also during this quarter the company signed a letter of intent to divest its subsidiary Able nv/sa (Belgium) and signed a letter of intent with Identix I...


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Luxembourg: SES Global insures another 6 satellites

SES Global SA of Luxembourg has secured groundbreaking insurance coverage for the next six satellites to be deployed by its US unit, providing it with large rebates if the launches and performance of the spacecraft avoid significant technical problems, The Wall Street Journal reported on November 18.
The insurance package, expected to be announced on November 18, has been awaited by much of the industry as an indication that innovative methods can be used to hold down escalating insurance premi...


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Akzo Nobel set to speed up Pharma performance

Akzo Nobel's Pharma businesses are taking active steps to turn around the current temporary slowing in performance and return to a path of stable growth in the future. Akzo Nobel's Pharma group will continue to push its successful pattern of organic growth, based on its strong commitment to Research and Development (R&D) and well-filled pipeline, which has created tremendous value over the years.
The company noted in a press release that growth momentum will also be supported by intensively pur...


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KLM enjoys higher traffic in October

Dutch airline KLM's overall load factor last month went up 5.3 percentage points to 80.8 percent compared to the same last-year period. Overall traffic increased by 10 percent, whereas passenger traffic increased by 17 percent year-on-year and capacity increased by three percent year-on-year. Overall traffic for the month was three percent below October 2000 with an overall load factor at a comparable level to this year. As capacity was only up five percent, the company noted, load factor increa...


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Philips and Sony at head of Intertrust acquisition

Fidelio Acquisition Company, LLC, a company formed by Sony Corporation of America, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation, Royal Philips Electronics and certain other investors, has executed a definitive agreement to acquire InterTrust Technologies Corporation. The transaction means that Fidelio will acquire all of the outstanding common stock of InterTrust for approximately USD 453 million on a fully diluted basis, or USD 4.25 per share. The transaction's most important objective is to enable secure ...


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Washington eager to combat suburban sprawl with LRT-project

Washington, DC officials are eager to jump-start new transit service in the city with a 7.2-mile light-rail line that would begin in the district's poorest neighbourhoods in the southeast, cross the Anacostia River and connect with the burgeoning jobs and residences along the southwest waterfront.
The USD 310 million "Anacostia Starter Line" tops the list of five new light-rail projects that city officials are pursuing, a Light Rail Atlas press release informed. The LRT-proposal is key to linki...


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KPN agrees sale of TeleMedia subsidiary for 500 mln Euro

KPN week before last reached agreement for the sale of its wholly-owned directory subsidiary TeleMedia Nederland BV to a syndicate led by 3i Group Plc and Veronis Sulher Stevenson (VSS) for 500 million Euro in cash. TeleMedia is one of the leading directory companies in The Netherlands.
The company's core product portfolio includes combined white pages and yellow pages-type directories in 50 regional printed editions, CD-Rom technology and online products. The company has become the country's f...


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