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Stronger Ties

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That's what you call camaraderie. Ending speculations, France and Germany have signalled that they will keep supporting ailing cousin Greece. President Nicolas Sarkozy and Chancellor Angela Merkel have said they are "convinced" that Greece would stay in the euro area, giving enough fillip to European markets. Meanwhile, credit rating agency Moody's has downgraded French banks Credit Agricole and Societe Generale for their exposure to Greek debt. The overall economic scene remains worrisome. While Spain has sold $5.5 billion in bonds, EU data shows the region is expected to grow only 1.6 per cent this year.

Necessary Evil?
India's oil firms have decided to hike petrol price by Rs 3.14 per litre from 15 Septe-mber. Oils firms such as IOC, BPCL and HPCL claim they now lose Rs 2.61 per litre courtesy high prices of crude globally, and the rupee has also touched two-year low against the dollar, spiralling their losses. Petrol price were last raised by
Rs 5 per litre on 15 May.

Betting Big
$1.1 billion (€800 million) — that's the money Tata Steel plans to invest in its Ijmuiden plant in the Netherlands, in a five-year improvement programme. The company says the programme will help raise the capacity of the plant from 7.2 million tonnes to 7.7 million tonnes of liquid steel by 2015-16.

New Avenues
Computers major Dell has bought US-based $200 million networking firm Force 10 Networks, marking its entry into the $6-billion networking market. Dell says it will double Force 10's 270-strong R&D team in Chennai in 18 months. The centre meets 75 per cent of Force 10's software needs.

Infosys's Big Buy

TOUGH CALL: Osamu Suzuki (Bloomberg)

Reports say that IT services behemoth Infosys may soon buy the health care business of Thomson Reuters for $700-750 million. This will be the largest buy in Infosys's history. In the second quarter of 2011, Thomson Reuters had revealed its plans to sell the business as part of its structural rejig.

It's Enough
Suzuki Motor Corp. said it wants to end its two-year-old ties with Volkswagen, just a day after Volkswagen said the Japanese auto giant breached an agreement by buying diesel engines from Fiat. Suzuki chairman Osamu Suzuki has said his firm could not get the technological transfers it wanted. Meanwhile,  Fiat's CEO Sergio Marchionne has said Suzuki will be an interesting partner for it in Asia.

Closing Time
The employee strike at its plant in Manesar,  Haryana, has forced Maruti Suzuki to shut operations of both its plants in the state from
16 September. On Thursday, the 18-day-long strike turned violent as a group of supervisors were attacked on their way to work. The unrest is spreading to Maruti's sister firms. About 7,000 workers at its three factories went on a strike on 15 September.

Talking Tough
Insurance regulator Irda is planning to slash companies' exposure to promoter firms. The watchdog's draft guidelines on investment norms say corporate houses will not be allowed to invest more than 5 per cent in group firms, against 25 per cent now. Meanwhile, Irda has said that health insurance portability service, which allows policy holders to switch insurers, will be introduced in the country from 1 October.

LATEST: Windows 8 on show

Can You Match it?
China has unveiled its first ultra-light civilian helicopter at an international exhibition held in the country. The one-tonne AC310 chopper, sporting a fuel-efficient engine and flexible rotor system, can carry 2-3 three passengers and fly up to 159 km per hour, according to its makers the Aviation Industry Corporation of China.

A Tab To Test
Yes, the rumours were right. At the Build conference in California, Microsoft gave developers free, Core i5 tablets loaded with its upcoming operating system, Windows 8. The "Developer PCs" are meant for building and testing apps, including those meant exclusively for tablets.

Compiled by Jinoy Jose P.

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 26-09-2011)