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27 Apr 07. Scandal-plagued Siemens AG faces the prospect of more upheaval after U.S. authorities increased their scrutiny and the German conglomerate extended an internal corruption probe to other business units. Siemens made the twin disclosures yesterday as board members intensified their search for a new chief executive after Klaus Kleinfeld said Wednesday he wouldn’t stay at the helm of the company beyond September. Wolfgang Reitzle, the chief executive of industrial-gases giant Linde AG, remains a favored choice among some board members to succeed Mr. Kleinfeld, said people familiar with the matter. Siemens said yesterday that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission recently began a formal investigation into corruption allegations at the Munich-based company. It disclosed in February that the SEC had started an informal inquiry alongside a criminal investigation by the Justice Department. An SEC official declined to comment. The U.S. probes are tied to a German criminal investigation of Siemens’s telecommunications-equipment business after more than 200 German police raided the company’s offices in mid-November and arrested several people. Prosecutors suspect employees funneled hundreds of millions of dollars through sham consulting contracts into slush funds to bribe customers over several years. Siemens said in December it had uncovered €420m, or about $570m, in suspicious transactions spanning the previous seven years. The company hired the law firm Debevoise & Plimpton LLP late last year to carry out an independent investigation that is separate from Siemens’s internal probe. (Source: WSJ)

24 Apr 07. Saab (SAABb.ST: Quote, Profile, Research) posted a slightly smaller-than-expected fall in first-quarter pretax earnings on Tuesday and stood by its outlook of higher margins this year. Quarterly pretax earnings at the firm fell to 380m Swedish crowns from 533m, hit by higher restructuring costs and write-downs, to come in just above the mean forecast of 378m in a Reuters survey of four analysts. Earnings in the first quarter of last year were boosted by a capital gain of just under 200m crowns from the sale of its Metech subsidiary. (Source: Reuters/Google)

27 Apr 07. Microsoft Corp.’s 65% jump in fiscal third-quarter earnings and an upbeat forecast for the next year point to solid gains from the company’s long-delayed Windows Vista operating system. But a hefty chunk of the third-quarter revenue was deferred from the quarter ended in December, when the company issued coupons to personal-computer buyers that could be redeemed for Windows Vista this calendar year. Questions also remain about the impact of a recent accounting change, which could allow Microsoft to recognize revenue from the new operating system more quickly than in the past. (Source: WSJ)

23 Apr 07. Cobham came within a whisker of a record closing high on Monday amid talk it could be a takeover target for Finmeccanica. On Friday, the Italian defence contractor said it would be seeking shareholder permission to raise €1bn (£670m) through a share issue. The move surprised investors as Finmeccanica already has €2bn-€3bn in financial firepower. Analysts were quick to point out that a bid for Cobham at a 20 per cent premium to Monday’s opening price could cost about €4bn, including debt. Merrill Lynch said Cobham could well be of interest to its larger Italian rival. “We believe that three of the five technology divisions fit well with Finmeccanica’s defence electronics business,” the broker said. It added that a deal would allow the Italian group to expand in the key US market, where Cobham makes more than 40 per cent of its annual revenues. Cobham shares rose 3.5 per cent to 212p. (Source: FT.com)

24 Apr 07. BAE Systems has signed a definitive agreement to sell its Inertial Products business to J.F. Lehman & Co. The Inertial Products business supplies military and commercial customers inertial sensors and measurement units for the control, n

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