Talks on a proposed treaty governing international telecommunications collapsed in acrimony on Thursday when the US rejected the agreement on the eve of its scheduled signing, citing an inability to resolve an impasse over the internet. It is with a heavy heart that I have to announce that the US must communicate that it is unable to sign the agreement in its current form, Terry Kramer, head of the American delegation, announced moments after a final draft appeared to have been approved by a majority of nations. The US announcement was seconded by Canada and several European countries after nearly two weeks of talks that had often pitted Western governments against Russia, China and developing countries.
EU car sales at 19-yr low as recession hits sector
European Union car sales fell to a 19-year low, with French companies PSA Peugeot Citroen and Renault and Italian competitor Fiat SpA posting the biggest drops, as a recession in countries using the euro hurt demand. Eleven-month registrations in the 27-nation EU fell 7.6% to 11.3 million vehicles, the lowest figure for the period since 1993, the Brussels-based European Automobile Manufacturers Association said on Friday. The decline was propelled by a 10% plunge in November.
Alcatel wins $2.1-bn loans from Goldman, C Suisse
Alcatel-Lucent reached a 1.6-billion-euro ($2.1 billion) financing deal, gaining time to overhaul the French phone-equipment maker and try to sell as much as 1.5 billion euros of assets. The senior secured credit facilities underwritten by Credit Suisse Group and Goldman Sachs will be denominated in US dollars and euros, with maturities of 3 1/2 to six years, the Paris-based company said. The stock gained as much as 15% and the companys 8.5% bonds jumped to the highest since in almost eight months.
Encana, PetroChina take $2.2-billion stab at JV
PetroChina will pay Encana Corp C$2.2 billion ($2.2 billion) for a 49.9% stake in a rich Alberta shale gas prospect, the first test of new guidelines issued by Ottawa for major energy investments by foreign state-owned enterprises. Encana said the venture, with a non-controlling interest for PetroChina, allows the partners to bypass stringent reviews under the governments new restrictions.
Murdochs son vying to reclaim Ten Network
For buyers as diverse as Rupert Murdochs eldest son Lachlan and rural broadcaster Southern Cross Media Group, theres no cheaper media target in Australia than Ten Network Holdings. The countrys third-ranked television broadcaster, which airs Homeland and focuses on younger viewers, plunged 60% this year through Thursday after twice selling new stock to pay back debt and turning off advertisers with programming flops. Ten may be a target for chairman Lachlan Murdoch, whose father Rupert Murdoch once owned the network, said BBY, while Credit Suisse Group said Southern Cross would also be a logical bidder.
AkzoNobel sells paint arm to PPG for $1.1 bn
Dutch chemicals group AkzoNobel is selling its struggling North American decorative paints arm to US rival PPG Industries for $1.1 billion to focus on its larger European and faster-growing businesses. The sale is the latest move by the worlds biggest paints maker to address problems it inherited through its 8.1-billion ($13 billion) acquisition of Britains Imperial Chemical Industries in 2008. The deal will strengthen PPGs challenge to Sherwin-Williams, which has about 36% of the US decorative paints market compared with PPG on around 15% and AkzoNobel on about 13%.