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Business

Business Briefs

German electonics company Grundig threatened with insolvency after acquisition deal collapses; Schröder says war could dampen economy at opening of Hanover Trade Fair; Postbank posts record gains and more.

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The world may soon be without the beloved short-wave radios made by German electronics giant Grundig.

Grundig threatened with insolvency

Electrical goods maker Grundig said on Monday it was no longer ruling out insolvency following the announcement by Turkish would-be buyer Beko that it was abandoning plans to take over the German maker of television sets and car radios. Top priority would be to save as many jobs as possible from the 1,300 employees in Germany, Schwarz said. Beko announced in a stock exchange filing on Monday that it had decided not to buy Grundig "following an in-depth examination and evaluation." The Turkish group, controlled by the family-owned Koc conglomerate, had said at the beginning of March that it planned to take over Grundig with the aim of expanding its market presence in Europe. It is the second time in just over a month that Grundig has failed to attract a buyer. The German group only started talks with Beko in March after long-running discussions with Taiwan-based Sampo ran aground. (AFP)

Schröder worried about war impact on economy

German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder used the massive Hanover trade fair, which opened Monday, as his platform to speak out on Iraq and the flailing German economy. He used the occasion to call for a quick end to the Iraq war, as well as a strong role for the UN in a postwar Iraq. He also expressed his concern that the uncertainties of war would lead to long-term negative effects on the economy. The chancellor called for industry to provide more training positions as a step toward solving the economic crisis. For their part, the captains of German industry called for more optimism on the part of industry and politicians. The Hannover Messe, the world's second-largest trade fair, runs from April 7 to 12 and serves businesses in the capital-goods industry, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, electronics, the automotive industry and the energy sector.

Private Rail Service Commence Between Germany, Denmark

Beginning on Sunday, German and Danish commuters and tourists had a new travel option -- a privately operated daily train between towns in Germany's North Friesland and South Jutland, in Denmark. The North Baltic Line (Nord-Ostsee-Bahn, or NOB) will do the 36 km, hour-long round-trip journey between Niebüll, Germany, and Tondern, Denmark, eight times each day. It's the first international line run by NOB, which is a subsidiary of Frankfurt-based Connex Group. The NOB has been operating as a privately run train line since November 2000. The group also runs a successful private rail line between Leipzig and Rostock.

Is Germany too short on engineers?

Though it has one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe, Germany is still having trouble producing enough qualified engineers each year. With an annual shortfall of at least 20,000 qualified engineers, the German Association of Engineers warned on Monday at the opening of the Hanover Messe industrial trade fair that the industrial and technological innovations the country is famed for could be imperiled. Association head Willi Fuchs said that, although there are currently 64,000 unemployed engineers in Germany, the country will need at least 100,000 entry-level engineers by 2005.

Postbank Reports Record Profit, Customer Gains

Germany's Postbank, the private banking subsidiary of Deutsche Post, the nation's mail delivery monopoly, obtained a larger market share and dramatically grew its customer base in 2002. The company's profits climbed 16.2 percent to approximately €400 million -- the biggest profit in the company's history, Deutsche Post reported on Monday. The company attributed the profit to gains in its private banking business. The bank's private customer base grew by 200,000 last year to bring the overall total to almost 4 million customers, who together have deposited close to €36 billion in savings into the bank -- representing a 4.35 percent market share in the consumer banking sector.

Compiled with information from wire reports.