PARIS - Renault Chairman Louis Schweitzer and 29 other people will be tried in connection with a scandal concerning AIDS-tainted blood supplies. The charges stem from when Schweitzer was a top aide to former French Prime Minister Laurent Fabius in the mid-1980s. Fabius was acquitted in the same case.
Schweitzer is charged with participating in an alleged plan to delay screening of blood products in 1985 until a French company could match a rival American product already on the market. Testifying at Fabius' trial, Schweitzer denied the government ever had any such plan. A trial is not expected before 2000.
Stephane Farhi and Reuters News Service
Mitsubishi UK cuts
Mitsubishi's independent distributor in the UK, Colt Car Co., is making 70 out of 220 staff redundant, in addition to the recent departure of Managing Director Stephen Dixon at the end of his four-year contract. Colin Peirce, director of marketing, and Andrew Wenzel, director of sales, have also left the company. 'We have been forced to streamline and amalgamate our business operations due to the state of UK market,' said acting managing director Denis Murphy.
BMW to stay single
MUNICH - BMW Chairman Joachim Milberg wants to improve sales by more than 40 percent in the next five years to ward off a hostile takeover. 'Our strategic goal is clear,' Milberg said at the annual shareholders' meeting. 'We will maintain independence.'
Milberg said BMW wants to raise annual sales to 1.7 million vehicles in 2004, from 1.2 million last year.
Tough year for Fiat
TURIN - Fiat Auto posted an operating loss of L211 billion (euro 109 million, $117 million) in the first quarter of 1999. The unit earned L16 billion in the same period last year. Sales fell 14 percent to L10.9 trillion. Fiat group recorded a L12 billion operating profit, up from L501 billion in the year-earlier period. 'We expect a difficult year ... negative results in the first half will make it difficult to reach the goals of improvement that we had set for the full year,' Fiat SpA Chairman Paolo Fresco said in a statement.
Mazda is profitable
TOKYO - Mazda Motor Corp. has posted its first group profit in six years. In the fiscal year ended 31 March, Mazda reported a consolidated net profit of 38.7 billion yen ($321.1 million), compared with a net loss of $56.4 million a year earlier. Revenues rose 0.8 percent to $17 billion.
A story in the 26 April issue incorrectly described the products made by Rieter Automotive Systems. Rieter makes noise-control and thermal-insulation systems as well as interior trim parts.