Chief Company News Correspondent
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Mar 6, 2015

Iran tourism sector aims to rebuild as international tensions thaw

BERLIN, March 6 (Reuters) – Iranian businessman Cyrus
Etemadi has had a stand at Berlin’s ITB travel trade fair every
year for more than 20 years, even when tension with the West
meant few tourists visited the former ancient kingdom of Persia.

As the pragmatic President Hassan Rouhani, successor to
hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, tries to reverse the path of
antagonism to the West, Etemadi hopes he can rebuild his tour
business, Cyrus Sahra, to its former strength.

Mar 6, 2015

Condor will rise to the challenge from Lufthansa’s Eurowings, says CEO

BERLIN, March 6 (Reuters) – German airline Condor, owned by
tour operator Thomas Cook, plans to meet competition
from Lufthansa’s proposed low-cost long-haul operation
head-on, its chief executive said.

Lufthansa said this week that it would start long-haul
budget flights to tourist destinations in the likes of Cuba and
Thailand under the Eurowings banner from the autumn, but Condor
CEO Ralf Teckentrup is confident that his company’s tourism
expertise will ensure it continues to compete.

Mar 5, 2015

European tourism buoyed by recovering economies and cheap oil

BERLIN (Reuters) – Travel and tourism companies are looking forward to a solid year in Europe thanks to recovering economies and a fall in oil prices.

Many recent economic data reports have beaten expectations and signs of a long-awaited recovery in Europe are starting to show through in the profits of leading global companies.

Feb 13, 2015

Nivea-maker Beiersdorf sees faster sales growth in 2015

FRANKFURT/HAMBURG, Feb 13 (Reuters) – Germany’s Beiersdorf
, the owner of the Nivea skin cream brand, expects its
sales growth to accelerate in 2015 thanks to increased market
share and resilience in emerging economies.

Beiersdorf has reorganised its business, redesigning the
Nivea logo, focusing on emerging markets and stripping out
underperforming lines to regain ground from rivals such as
France’s L’Oreal.

Feb 11, 2015

Europe tests spaceplane in push for reusable space tech

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – An experimental spaceplane successfully returned to Earth on Wednesday after a 100-minute test flight that the European Space Agency (ESA) hopes will pave the way for the continent’s first reusable space transportation systems.

Reusable spaceplanes that can carry out controlled landings on runways rather than splashing down in the ocean could help bring down costs. They could also enable scientists to bring back samples from celestial bodies such as comets.

Feb 6, 2015

Wage cuts and discounts as Swiss companies respond to franc strength

ZURICH, Feb 6 (Reuters) – Swiss companies are cutting
prices, asking suppliers for discounts, paying staff in euros
and demanding new hours to protect profits from a soaring franc
currency.

The central bank last month abandoned its cap on the Swiss
franc, causing the currency to strengthen and prompting firms
across Switzerland to warn of a plunge in profits. The
1.20-per-euro cap had protected the export-reliant economy from
the effects of a strong currency since 2011.

Feb 6, 2015

Swiss bank Pictet posts 459 mln Sfr in full-year net profit

ZURICH, Feb 6 (Reuters) – Swiss private bank Pictet has
posted a net profit of 459 million Swiss francs ($499 million)
for 2014, the first time it has publicly disclosed full-year
results following a change in its structure which had endured
for 209 years.

The Geneva-based private bank, Switzerland’s third-largest
wealth manager, has been dragged into the spotlight because its
switch to a limited partnership last year required some public
reporting.

Feb 5, 2015

ABB fourth-quarter falls short as oil price, weak economy weigh

ZURICH, Feb 5 (Reuters) – Swiss engineering group ABB
has reported lower than expected fourth-quarter
results as the global economy failed to pick up and a slide in
oil prices prompted customers to hold off ordering new
equipment.

Like rivals Siemens and Schneider Electric
, ABB has grappled with a sluggish global recovery that
has delayed capital spending by its customers, which include
utility companies and oil, gas and mining firms, as well as a
slide in oil prices.

Dec 5, 2014

German man sentenced to three years, nine months for joining IS

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – A 20-year-old German man was sentenced to 3 years and 9 months in prison on Friday after he admitted joining Islamic State militants in Syria, in the first trial in Germany of a home-grown jihadi accused of membership of the insurgent group.

Judges decided to treat the man, known as Kreshnik B., who was born in Germany to Kosovan parents and spent six months in Syria last year, as a juvenile because of his lack of maturity. They said there was no evidence he had participated directly in fighting.

Dec 2, 2014

Lufthansa pilots to strike again on long-haul on Thursday

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Pilots at Deutsche Lufthansa AG (LHAG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research) said they would strike again on Thursday on long-haul and cargo flights, after a two-day stoppage on Monday and Tuesday stranded thousands of travellers.

The union said in a statement that short and medium-haul flights and those of budget carrier Germanwings would not be affected by the action on Thursday.