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Business

Business Briefs

Boeing hires former Kohl aide, travel giant Thomas Cook spills red ink, energy concern E.On announces record earnings, a German publisher cuts its stake in the Wall Street Journal Europe and more.

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Airplane manufacturer Boeing wants to raise its profile in Germany.

Boeing Hires Former Kohl Aide

American aerospace leader Boeing on Tuesday announced the appointment of Horst Telschik to head its German division. Telschik served as a prominent security advisor to former Chancellor Helmut Kohl during the 1980s and recently served as a managing director of BMW. Boeing, the world's largest airplane manufacturer, has struggled in the European market in recent years as competitor Airbus continues to increase its market share. Analysts viewed Telschik's appointment as an effort by the company to shore up its sales in Germany, the world's fourth-largest aviation market. (DW)

Thomas Cook Posts First-Ever Loss

German travel giant Thomas Cook on Wednesday reported its first-ever loss for a fiscal year. The company reported a €119.5 million ($130.93 million) loss for the 2001-2002 fiscal year. One year earlier, the Oberursel-based company posted a profit of €20.4 million. The company, jointly owned by retailer KarstadtQuelle and Lufthansa, blamed Germany’s weak economy and a rise in global oil prices as well as fears of terror and a war against Iraq for a softer travel climate. (DW)

Train Strikes Set To Resume

Germany's railroad workers unions are threatening to halt nation-wide passenger train traffic for 45 minutes on Thursday morning as part of warning strikes on the day when union negotiators will sit down with executives from Deutsche Bahn, the country's national railway. The strikes are part of warning actions that have been staged across Germany since Saturday. On Wednesday striking rail workers disrupted regional rail traffic in Hamburg and Hanover. The head of the German Train Engineers Union (GDL), Manfred Schell, threatened on Wednesday to allow talks to fall through if Bahn does not put a better offer on the table. (DW)

German Utility Giant E.On Posts Record Earnings

E.ON, the biggest energy supplier in Germany, said Wednesday it plans to raise its dividend for 2002 after underlying profits powered ahead last year. E.ON said in a statement it would pay a dividend of €1.75 per share to shareholders, up from €1.60 a year earlier. The group said underlying earnings rose by 23 percent to €3.89 billion ($4.2 billion) in 2002. However, growth was more modest at the bottom line, with net profit rising by just eight percent to €2.777 billion owing to "substantial one-off charges caused by writedowns of equity interests and write-offs of securities," the statement said. Sales, on the other hand, slipped marginally to €37.1 billion in 2002 from €37.3 billion a year earlier. (AFP)

Volkswagen Law Decision Delayed

The European Commission announced on Wednesday in Brussels that it would delay by two weeks a decision over whether or not to sue Germany for violation of European Union treaties over its so-called Volkswagen law, which serves as a government-regulated poison pill against hostile takeovers of the automaker. The Volkswagen law ensures that no single party can own more than 20 percent of the shares in the company and gives the state of Lower Saxony, a minority VW shareholder, veto rights over any deal to sell the company. The German government has stated that the federal law is compatible with European law. But the EU's internal markets commissioner, Frits Bolkestein, has said the law violates the EU's free flow of capital rules and stymies intra-European mergers and investments. (DW)

German Publisher Reduces Stake in Wall Street Journal

German publishing conglomerate Holzbrincks Verlagsgruppe, publisher of the financial daily Handelsblatt, said on Tuesday that Holzbrinck and Dow Jones intended to reduce their joint holdings and investments while at the same time preserving their editorial cooperation. Holtzbrinck currently owns 49 percent of The Wall Street Journal Europe, the Brussels-based European edition of the American daily, and WSJ majority owner Dow Jones owns 22 percent of Handelsblatt. Both companies said they planned to reduce their respective holdings to 10 percent. The deal would also allow both sides to shed their remaining holdings at a later date. Both newspapers struggled financially under the global drop in the advertising market last year, with ad pages falling 18.7 percent at the WSJE in 2002. (DW)

Compiled with material from wires.