E.U. to Ease Protection of Arms Industries
European Union defense ministers adopted a plan to open up their $35 billion arms industry to increased cross-border competition within the 25-nation federation. The new "code of conduct" is voluntary and nonbinding, but it marks a breakthrough after decades of efforts to persuade nations to relax the protection of their tightly guarded national defense markets.
Spotlight on E.U.'s Negotiator at WTO Talks
European Union nations said they will closely monitor trade negotiator Peter Mandelson at crucial global trade talks next month to ensure he makes no excessively generous offers on cuts in farm subsidies. In an unusual declaration, the E.U. foreign ministers said they would meet "in special session" during World Trade Organization talks in Hong Kong to offer Mandelson "necessary guidance" in the final stretch for a global trade deal.
MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS
Cadbury to Sell Soft Drink Unit
Cadbury Schweppes has agreed to sell its European soft drink arm for $2.19 billion to two private-equity firms: Blackstone Group and Lion Capital. The unit makes the citrus-flavored Orangina soft drink. Cadbury Schweppes said the proceeds will be used to pay down debt, allowing it to concentrate on its other beverages businesses.
DuPont to Build Chemical Plant
DuPont, a maker of titanium dioxide, said it signed an agreement with the city of Dongying, China, to build a $1 billion plant to make the pigment used to whiten paints, paper and plastic.
The 350-employee plant will annually produce as much as 200,000 tons of titanium dioxide when it opens in 2010, DuPont said in a statement. More than $300 million of the project cost will be paid by DuPont, spokesman Rick Straitman said.
Compiled from staff and news service reports.