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Business

Business Briefs

WorldCom's German subsidiary files complaint against Deutsche Telekom; Daimler Chrysler stronger in Asia; gas and heating oil prices soar; reshuffle at SAP's helm and more.

WorldCom: Deutsche Telekom Breaking EU Competition Law

WorldCom, the German daughter company of the U.S. bankrupt telecommunications concern of the same name, has filed a complaint against Deutsche Telekom with the European competition authorities. WorldCom accused Deutsche Telekom of contravening European competition law, by deliberately delaying its provision of leased lines to the firm.Leased lines, provided from Germany's leading national telecommunications firm to smaller firms, are regarded as a way of injecting competition into the German telecoms market. WorldCom is not the first provider in Germany to have registered its anger with Deutsche Telekom. Competitors, such as Arcor and BT Ignite have repeatedly complained at DT's tardiness at providing leased lines. A recent EU report stated that Germany had one of the worst records for delivery of leased lines, although the authorities also said the situation had improved recently.

Daimler Chrysler strengthens Position in Asia

Carmaker Daimler Chrysler announced Friday it would be taking over a 43 percent share in the Japanese commercial vehicle producer, Mitsubishi Fuso Truck, as planned. Daimler Chrysler -- who said they paid €50 million ($54 million) less than they had budgeted due to favourable exchange rates -- put the worth of its new asset at €710 million ($765 million). The move sees the Stuttgart-based concern consolidating its strong market position in Asia.

Gas and Heating Oil Prices Surge

The increased cost of car gas and heating oil in Germany is responsible for surging consumer costs, according to figures published by the Federal Statistical Office on Friday. In February, the cost of living in Germany went up by 0.5 percent compared to the month before. Inflation has risen to 1.3 percent in February from 1.1. percent in January. The Federal statistics Office said the rise in gas and oil prices was to blame for the rise in inflation. In 2002, oil prices rose by 27.8 percent compared to 2001. Gas prices rose by 14.4 percent.

Swiss Posts Losses

The Swiss national airline, "Swiss", announced losses in 2002 of 980 million Swiss Francs ($790 million) on Friday. But the airline -- formed in March 2002 after the collapse of Swissair -- said the losses were not as high as the company had expected. The struggling firm said last month it would slash up to 1000 jobs and 200 planes in a bid to revive the company's fortunes.

Change at SAP's helm

Hasso Plattner, one of the five founders of German software giant, SAP is stepping down as co-chief executive. The 59-year-old Plattner was the last of SAP's founders to still have an active role in day-to-day management. He will now be moving to the company's supervisory board. His exit is far from a shock, with Henning Kagermann becoming SAP's sole CEO. SAP is the market leader for business management software. Plattner's move out of an operational role marks the first time in 31 years that the company will be run by someone other than one of the five original founders.