|US MAY BE OPENING DOORS TO CUBA AFTER 40 YEARS|
[excerpt from article by Michael Fjetland.]
USA and CUBA -- The American isolation strategy has failed for forty years and needs to be changed to fit modern reality. U.S. Congress is in the process of amending decades old sanctions laws against Cuba.
American rice and grain farmers see Cuba as a large and vital market because Cubans can't grow enough on their own to satisfy the needs of its 11 million inhabitants, 25% of whom are under the age of 15. But US farmers are not the only potential beneficiaries. Cuba could be the next global gold rush for businesses scrambling to sell the 7 million Cuban adults new cars, PCs and internet services, designer clothes, food, and more.
Besides profiting from US/Cuban trade, the US expects to be able to resolve political differences more easily because of relationships established over time.
[Read full article]
SAN FRANCISCO, USA -- Levi Strauss & Company, a privately held US company, is the largest manufacturer of branded apparel in the world and is a long-standing American Icon around the globe. In business for a century and a half (since the 1850's), they are now losing market share among their no longer loyal fans -- the consumer and are in serious financial trouble. While sales began to decline in the mid-90s, interest and other debt continue to mount for this family-owned enterprise, as does continued family dissonance, which many attribute to the downturn.
In an effort to turn the company around, the family agreed to hire outside leadership and brought in a turnaround specialist, Philip A. Marineau, who ran the North American division of Pepsi-Cola.
In order for Levi to survive, the company needs to address a variety of issues, including:
Though Levi's management acknowledges there is a lot of work ahead of them to re-establish their brand identity and rebuild financial strength, Levi has incorporated several strategies to build up its core brand as well as line extensions, such as Dockers and Slates. However, denim still contributes 76% of sales to the company. As such, Marineau plans to target the lost American youth market with hopes of winning their approval through "Engineered Jeans," which have already been well-received in Europe and Japan. While some industry analysts are skeptical of Levi's attempts at setting fashion trends, many agree that Levi should concentrate on its core business -- selling competitively priced jeans.
[Read full article]
TORONTO, Canada -- De Beers, the world's diamond leader, is aggressively targeting Canada's emerging diamond market for expansion. Canada is expected to produce about 10% of the world's diamonds by 2010. De Beers has offered to purchase land in northern Canada held by Winspear Diamonds Inc. for US$175 million, financed by De Beers' record rough gem sales of US$5.24 billion in 1999.
De Beers spent 37.6% (US$28 million) of its US$76 million budget on global exploration, primarily on work in Canada.
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