Business Briefs
Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Monday, July 30, 2001

Japanese output declines for fourth straight month

TOKYO >> Japanese manufacturers produced fewer personal computers, cosmetics and chip-making machines as industrial production fell for a fourth consecutive month in June, cementing expectations that the world's second-biggest economy sank into recession in the second quarter.

Industrial production fell 0.7 percent in June from May, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry figures released today showed. Economists had expected a 0.3 percent drop. Production fell 4 percent in the second quarter from first-quarter levels.

Companies are cutting production in response to falling U.S. and Asian demand for computers, mobile phones and other consumer goods. Most are leaving payrolls intact, letting earnings slide and cutting capital spending, robbing the economy of its main source of growth last year.

More cuts are expected as companies slow assembly lines to adjust to lower demand from U.S. and Asian consumers.

Coke executive shuffle sparks renewed worries

ATLANTA >> Coca-Cola Co. said today the head of its European operations has resigned in the latest management shake-up at the world's No. 1 soft drink company, sparking renewed concerns that its bid to boost sales and fend off archrival PepsiCo Inc. was floundering.

Coca-Cola said Charles Frenette, a 27-year company veteran in charge of the Atlanta-based company's business in Europe and Africa, was retiring to "pursue other interests" after only a few months in his new job. Frenette, 48, had been charged with helping Coca-Cola overcome the fallout from an embarrassing 1999 product contamination scare in Belgium and France, as well as improve relations with government regulators in Europe.

His departure came less than five months after Jack Stahl, a popular 20-year Coke veteran and the company's second-highest ranking executive, resigned as president and chief operating officer.

Nickelodeon partners with Jive Records

NEW YORK >> Nickelodeon is getting into the record business. The kids channel is partnering with Jive Records -- home of such teen pop sensations as 'N Sync and Britney Spears -- to create Nick Records. The new label is aimed at 'kids and tweens' .

Cross-promotion will be a key theme for Nick Records; one of its artists, Nick Cannon, will star in his own series for the Nickelodeon network this fall, and recently was featured on the cable network in a concert special. Nickelodeon is also sponsoring the current tour of Aaron Carter, a Jive Records artist.

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