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(Reuters) - Dow Chemical Co (DOW) said it would sell a bulk of its chlorine operations - its oldest business - as part of its plan to sell or spin off commodity chemicals assets worth up to $4 billion. Dow Chemical, like other U.S. chemical makers such as Dupont (DD), is moving away from providing a wide range of products to a swathe of industries to focus on electronics, packaging and agriculture. "Exiting our longest, oldest business tells you that we are prioritizing our capital on higher margin, more consistent earnings growth businesses," Dow Chemical Chief Executive Andrew Liveris told Reuters. Other assets identified for sale by the world's No.1 chlorine producer on Monday included its epoxy business and some brine and energy assets, representing a total of $5 billion in revenue.
U.S. antitrust regulators have approved Microsoft Corp's deal to buy Nokia Corp's mobile phone business, the Federal Trade Commission said on Monday. Two people familiar with the matter told Reuters on November 22 that the transaction was headed for unconditional approval in Brussels. Nokia had in September agreed to sell its devices and services business and license its patents to Microsoft after failing to recover from a late start in the smartphone sector. The purchase underscores Microsoft's push into the competitive consumer devices market, where it faces fierce competition from market leader Samsung Electronics and Apple.
ThyssenKrupp (TKA.DE) announced plans late on Monday to sell 51.5 million new shares in a capital increase as it seeks to shore up funds depleted by a downturn in the global steel market and an ill-advised foray into the Americas. ThyssenKrupp's finances have been deteriorating as Chief Executive Heinrich Hiesinger struggled to extricate the industrial conglomerate from its loss-making Steel Americas venture, comprised of a steel slab mill in Brazil and a U.S. finishing plant. Its plan to produce cheap slabs in Brazil and ship them to the U.S. for conversion into products for carmakers fell apart when Brazil's currency rose, hiking labor and production costs, and demand for cars slowed. On Friday, ThyssenKrupp announced it had struck a deal to sell only the U.S. plant in Calvert, Alabama - to ArcelorMittal (MT.AS) and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp - for $1.55 billion, the bottom end of an expected deal price, leaving its Brazilian problem unresolved.
BlackBerry Ltd is "very much alive, thank you," Interim Chief Executive John Chen affirmed in an open letter on Monday in which the smartphone maker committed itself to rebuilding as a niche player concentrating on the enterprise market. Chen took over as CEO a month ago after BlackBerry abandoned a plan to sell itself. BlackBerry, once the market leader in on-the-go email, has suffered a drastic loss of market share to Apple Inc's iPhone and devices powered by Google Inc's Android software. "We know that BlackBerry devices are not for everyone.
A gauge of U.S. factory activity hit a 2-1/2-year high in November and construction spending increased solidly in October, brightening the economic outlook as the year winds down. "The economy is moving forward at a moderate to strong pace," said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ in New York. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its index of national factory activity rose to 57.3 last month, the highest reading since April 2011, from 56.4 in October. The signs of strength in the two surveys are at odds with so-called hard data such as durable goods orders, industrial production and factory payrolls which have all pointed to some slowing in manufacturing activity.
Two founding industrial shareholders of Airbus parent EADS will join a group of current and former managers on trial in a long-running insider trading case, prosecutors said on Monday, but EADS called for charges to be dismissed. In the latest twist to a saga that has haunted EADS ever since its A380 superjumbo hit unexpected development delays in 2006, an official at the French public prosecutor's office said French media group Lagardere and German carmaker Daimler would stand trial. Lawyers involved in the case reiterated that seven current and former managers including Airbus sales chief John Leahy also face trial over share trades carried out before the announcement of delays led to a sharp fall in the EADS stock price. But both EADS and Lagardere expressed surprise that the case was still being played out in the courts despite the parties having been cleared by stock market regulators in 2009.