Thursday, November 20, 2008


Italy Approves Alitalia Sale After Buyers Raise Bid

The Italian government has approved an offer from a group of investors to buy the assets of bankrupt state-controlled airline Alitalia after getting them to raise the bid to at least $1.33 billion.

The approval clears the way for Alitalia's administrator to sign a final deal with the group, called CAI. The new airline is scheduled to launch by early December, two years after the government started the process of unloading its 49.9 percent stake in long-troubled Alitalia.


Brown Hints at Further Financial Action

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that further measures may be needed to encourage banks to resume a normal flow of credit to British homeowners and small businesses.

Brown came under pressure from opposition lawmakers who complained that the government's $55 billion recapitalization program for banks had not yet improved the flow of credit.

Brown said the government was monitoring banking activity and meeting frequently with bankers to try to resolve issues that continue to restrict credit during the global financial crisis.

Brown's spokesman said new measures were likely to be announced on Monday, when Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling publishes his pre-budget review.


Peru Signs Agreement With China

Peru strengthened economic ties with China by concluding a free-trade agreement with the Asian giant that has become an engine for growth across Latin America.

The agreement removes tariffs on certain products. Nearly 600 items were excluded from the deal, including textiles, which will continue to be subject to tariffs for the next 15 to 20 years. Peru exported $3.2 billion to China in the first nine months of the year, while importing $2.9 billion.

Peru is also finishing the implementation process for its trade agreement with the United States, which could be completed as early as Jan. 1.


BASF to Close Plants, Cut Worldwide Production

The chemical company BASF said it is temporarily closing 80 plants worldwide and cutting production at 100 more because of slumping demand. About 20,000 workers are affected. It also abandoned its goal to match last year's profit, citing slowing demand for its products, particularly from automotive customers.

Compiled from reports by Washington Post staff writers, the Associated Press and Bloomberg News.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company