Want to know how much the chief executive of a big company in Britain, the U.S. or the Netherlands earns? Just ask the company. But not in Germany, where pay packages have long been a secret. Only 10 of the 30 firms in the DAX index disclose individual compensation; those who just say no include automakers DaimlerChrysler and BMW, chemical firm BASF and insurer Munich Re. But the pressure's on for greater disclosure. Last week a group of Germany's Social Democratic M.P.s proposed laws to force firms to provide pay details. Justice
Declaring War on Junk Food
Calling obesity a "European-wide problem of epidemic proportions" no surprise there the European Commission last week vowed that the battle of the bulge will be a high priority over the next five years. Target No. 1: junk food ads. Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner Markos Kyprianou warned that unless the food industry backs off from marketing sugary, salty, fat-saturated products to youth, Brussels could introduce legislation restricting ads during children's TV programs. In March, the E.C. will begin working with the food industry, educators, health experts and consumer organizations to launch a voluntary scheme promoting healthy eating and exercise. "In and of itself I doubt it will be enough,'' concedes Jim Murray, director general of the European Consumer Association. Also, one man's junk food is another man's job expect to hear a lot in coming months about the health benefits of chips and chocolate.
European Commission antitrust police fined three chemical firms €217 million for running a cartel in the market for a widely-used chemical between 1984 and 1999. Dutch firm Akzo Nobel, France's Atofina now Arkema and Germany's Hoechst colluded to fix the price of MCAA, used to make food and cosmetics.
|The Bottom Line|
| There will be two ways to get lucky on a Virgin Atlantic flight.
|RICHARD BRANSON, chairman of the British airline, on plans to install casinos and double beds in the carrier's fleet of six A380 superjumbos, unveiled by Airbus last week|