Business Briefs | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 05.08.2003
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Business Briefs

Dortmund soccer club signs contract with Nike; ThyssenKrupp and Siemens' Transrapid railway hits hurdles in China, retail sector is celebrating; health care admin costs skyrocketing


Marcio Amoroso in his Dortmund uniform, which will be sporting a Nike logo again beginning next season.

Dortmund signs soccer contract with Nike

German soccer club Borussia Dortmund announced over the weekend that they had sealed a sponsorship deal with Nike. The top-flight club will begin wearing the Nike logo from the beginning of the 2004-2005 season. The contract, the amount of which was not announced, will run for five years. Dortmund, which will play in the European UEFA cup this season, had a ten-year contract with Nike that ran out in 2000. The club continued to sport Nike shoes and play with official Nike soccer balls. The sporting goods company has given Adidas serious competition in the soccer business. Both Brazil's national team and the English club Manchester United are under contract with Nike.

Transrapid railway runs into more problems in China

The much-touted magnetic railway built by German companies ThyssenKrupp and Siemens in China is running into problems, endangering future contracts, according to a report. The Süddeutsche Zeitung quoted management sources saying that the Transrapid railway linking Shanghai with its airport has been rife with technical problems. Chinese television has reported that repairs could cost up to €30 million ($33 million). The negative headlines will no doubt further sour the mood towards the new technology. China's government was reportedly unhappy after the German state of North Rhine Westphalia canceled plans to build a magnetic railway between Dortmund and Düsseldorf. The government cancelled a planned 1,300 km (807 miles) route from Peking to Shanghai because of money concerns. ThyssenKrupp's chair said in a Sunday interview that 300km routes are still being considered.

Retail sector happy with summer sales figures

The German retail industry, lately accustomed to reluctant consumers and declining profits, has reported that the summer clearance sales which began July 28 have been surprisingly successful. The Association of German Retailers reported results at the half-way mark of the two-week sales period as “outstanding.” “The summer clearance sales have been very popular with consumers,” said Hubertus Pellengahr, spokesman for the retail association. “They aren’t letting the low prices pass them by.” The number of customers taking advantage of the limited-time lower prices has been higher than expected. The association said it was cautiously optimistic that the current strong sales in addition to the tax relief promised by the federal government in 2004 could mean the retail industry is on the way out of its long slump.

Health care administrative costs hit new highs

Despite calls for savings to save Germany’s struggling and expensive public health care sector, a new study shows that the system’s administrative costs reached new highs last year. The Health Ministry has confirmed a newspaper report that said expenditures for administration and personnel topped €8 billion ($9 billion) last year. While administrative costs per member in 1991 were €94 ($107), in 2002 those same costs were calculated at €157 ($178). The upward trend has continued in 2003, where first quarter net costs were 1.8 million higher as they were the same period in 2002.

U.S. billionaire submits new bid for Kirch Media

American media investor Haim Saban is said to be one step away from a successful takeover of ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG, Germany’s number two commercial television broadcaster and a key asset of the failed empire of media mogul Leo Kirch. It is Saban’s second bid for the German media consortium. His earlier €2bn ($2.25bn) offer for the group fell apart in early June. Bankers involved in negotiations confirmed that they were “very satisfied” with Saban’s offer and a decision could be made as soon as Tuesday. Saban is bidding €7.50 per share for a 72 percent package of ordinary shares for a total 525 million euros ($594 million). Created by Kirch, ProSiebenSat.1 runs several television channels and has bigger advertising sales than its commercial rival RTL or the publicly owned ZDF and ARD groups.