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British, Chinese firms seal major aviation deal

Some Coca-Cola board opposition to China juice bid
US beverage giant Coca-Cola is facing opposition from some of its board members over a bid to take over Huiyuan Juice Group, a media report said Friday, citing the Chinese drink company's head. "Coca-Cola said it was under rather big pressure as there was rising opposition from its board of directors," said Huiyuan's chairman Zhu Xinli, according to popular Chinese portal However, Zhu said Coca-Cola had not changed the plan to buy into the Chinese juice producer, the report said. The Chinese commerce ministry is conducting an anti-monopoly review of the deal, under which Coca-Cola would spend 2.4 billion dollars to buy Hong Kong-listed Huiyuan, according to the US firm's announcement in September. Zhu said the takeover plan covered only the listed arm of Huiyuan Group and did not include the Chinese company's fruit farms and would not affect its factories, of which there are more than 20, the Sina report said. When contacted by AFP on Friday about Zhu's comments, Coca-Cola's Hong Kong-based spokesman Kenth Kaerhoeg only said that the company was "focused on the regulatory approval process" at the moment. "We are in very regular contact with the (ministry of commerce)," he said in an emailed statement. "(But) it would be inappropriate of me to speculate about when (the ministry) will be able to finalize the approval process." The bid has until March 23 to pass the review.
by Staff Writers
London (AFP) Feb 27, 2009
A 1.2 billion dollar deal between British jet engine maker Rolls-Royce and Hainan Airlines of China was announced Friday as British and Chinese firms signed deals worth up to 1.9 billion dollars.

The announcements, sealed at a ceremony in London attended by China's Trade Minister Chen Deming and Britain's Business Secretary Peter Mandelson, came on the last leg of a Chinese trade tour of Europe.

The 1.2 billion dollar (950 million euro) deal is for the purchase of Rolls-Royce jet engines and a service contract for Hong Kong Airlines planes, it was announced.

Afterwards, Chen said all the deals underlined China and Britain's joint commitment to the "fight against protectionism."

"We're probably facing the most serious economic situation ever since the Great Depression," he said.

China's economy "is also seriously negatively affected" and the situation "unprecedented", the minister said.

In a warning against protectionism, he added: "We should also realise there is no coordination between these stimulus packages and some countries are working to protect their own national interests."

Relying on a handful of large economies to pull the world out of trouble was not enough, he said, urging cooperation.

Representatives from Chinese companies signed a number of high-profile deals on their sweep through Europe, including more than 10 billion dollars of tie-ups with German firms. The visit also took in Spain and Switzerland.

The European Union is China's largest trading partner, its most important source for technology imports and its largest export destination, while China is the EU's second-largest trading partner.

On the final leg of the visit, representatives from hundreds of British firms met a delegation of around 150 Chinese companies including Baoshan Iron and Steel, China Construction Bank and Bank of China.

Around ten deals in total were also signed in London including smaller ones between steelmaker Corus, owned by India's Tata Steel, and the Chinese Petroleum Company for the supply of pipes, and a supply contract between Jaguar Land Rover, owned by Tata Motors, and SCAS Investment Group.

The headline figure of 1.9 billion dollars was supplied by UK Trade and Investment, the government body which helps British business abroad.

"I warmly welcome the deals signed today. This is an excellent sign for the future," said Mandelson.

"In this challenging global climate, China represents a great opportunity for UK business.

"By 2010 its market could account for over two trillion dollars of global imports and exports."

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Top Chinese aircraft maker launches global recruitment drive
Beijing (AFP) Feb 26, 2009
China's leading state aircraft maker Thursday launched its first global recruitment drive, offering jobs in fields such as military product development to both Chinese and foreigners.

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