EU finance ministers swap mobile numbers to solve crises

EULuxembourg - The European Union's finance ministers on Tuesday put into immediate practice a call for better coordination during the financial crisis by swapping their personal mobile-phone numbers, diplomats said.

"All ministers have exchanged their mobile phone numbers," Finnish Finance Minister Jyrki Katainen said after the meeting.

State can fine or fire failed managers, EU agrees

European UnionLuxembourg - European Union states which intervene to bail out failing banks should have the right to fire the banks' managers or cut their pay, EU finance ministers agreed Tuesday in Luxembourg.

If the state is forced to intervene, "the government should be in a position to bring about a change of management," the finance ministers of the EU's 27 member states said in a statement.

EU to boost deposit guarantee to "at least" 50,000 euros

European UnionLuxembourg - The European Union should boost the minimum level of bank deposit which member states must guarantee from 20,000 euros (27,200 dollars) up to 50,000 euros, the bloc's finance ministers said Tuesday.

Euro area ministers discuss common approach to savers' protection

Euro CurrencyLuxembourg  - The euro area's finance ministers were meeting in Luxembourg on Monday amid plummeting stock market indexes and charges that governments were not coordinating their efforts to protect citizens' savings from the credit crunch.

About a third of the 15 European Union countries that share the common currency have already moved to safeguard bank deposits in some way or other - among them Germany, Austria, Greece, Ireland and Belgium.

But unilateral initiatives taken by some governments have irked neighbouring countries because of concerns that savers might move their money to where they think it will be safer.

Belgium, Luxembourg transfer ailing insurer Fortis to Netherlands

Belgium, Luxembourg transfer ailing insurer Fortis to Netherlands Amsterdam - The governments of Belgium and Luxembourg have transferred their shares in bank and insurance giant Fortis to the Netherlands, including the Dutch ABN Amro banking division.

Dutch newswire ANP reported Friday that Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme had made the announcement following the Belgian government's weekly meeting.

The agreement is worth some 16.8 billion euros (23.27 billion dollars), Leterme was quoted as saying.

ArcelorMittal to cut costs by 4 billion dollars

Luxembourg - ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steel producer, said Wednesday it is to cut costs by 4 billion dollars.

The cost reduction was to be achieved over the next five years, the company said Wednesday in Luxembourg, with 600 million dollars to be saved in human resources.

The strategy included an increase in productivity, a cut in jobs through early retirement schemes, natural turnover and "targeted rationalization," head of finance Aditya Mittal said at an investor conference in London.

More exact figures were not stated.

The price of shares in ArcelorMittal rose by 3 per cent to 44 euros (62 dollars).

The company today employs more than 320,000 people in more than 60 countries.