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Business

Business Briefs

Deutsche Telekom report happier times, the German cigarette industry is up in arms over tax hikes, E.On profits are up and Lufthansa and US Airways sign a code sharing deal.

Deutsche Telekom back in the Black

Deutsche Telekom went back into the black in the first quarter of 2003. The concern announced it made profits of €850 million ($968 million) between January and March, the first time the Bonn-based firm has been in the black for two years. In the same period last year Deutsche Telekom made a loss of €1.8 billion and posted full year losses of €24.4 billion in 2002. The results were much better than city analysts had expected,but Telekom boss Kai-Uwe Ricke warned that the general economic situation "remained difficult". He added that Deutsche Telekom hoped to post a full year profit.

Cigarette Tax Will Cost Jobs, Industry Says

Tobacco industry bosses in Germany have warned that the planned €1 rise in tax on every packet of cigarettes will cost thousands of jobs. The head of the German Tobacco Wholesalers Association Peter Lind said around half of Germany's cigarette wholesalers would not survive the tax hike. "Job losses are as certain as saying Amen in church," Lind said. Germany's leading cigarette manufacturer Phillip Morris added that jobs would go across the industry, "from planters to kiosk owners." The American cigarette firm – which sells around 11 billion packets of cigarettes each year in Germany - has cigarette factories in Berlin, Munich and Dresden, employing around 3000 nationwide.

E.ON Operating Profits up a Third

Europe's biggest energy concern E.ON appears to be harvesting the fruits of its €30 billion spending spree over the last few years. The firm's operating profits for the first quarter of 2003 were up 33 percent on last year to €1.5 billion. E.On's first quarter sales were up 64 percent to €13.7 billion. The rosy figures are due in part to healthy profits from E.On's new acquisitions, Powergen and Ruhrgas. Ruhrgas posted operating profits of €264 million in the first quarter of 2003.

Lufthansa and US Airways sign code sharing deal

Germany's national carrier Lufthansa said on Thursday it had signed a code sharing agreement with U.S. carrier US Airways which will enable the two to sell tickets on each other's flights. The agreement which is due to start this autumn sees US airways move a step closer to becoming a member of the 14-member Star Alliance. "We are looking forward to working with US Airways" Lufthansa chief Juergen Weber said in a statement, adding that the agreement would improve customers' travel options.