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Air France-KLM Switches into Loss on Fuel Costs

Air France-KLM switched into heavy loss last year owing to high and still rising fuel costs, disruption to traffic from unrest in North Africa and an earthquake in Japan, the firm said on Thursday.

Its figures also showed that the group is suffering from competition from low-cost airlines. The overall outcome was worse than analysts' had expected and shares in the airline fell.

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Hopes for Greek Debt Swap Lift Asian Shares

Rising optimism that Greece's debt swap will be successful boosted Asian shares Thursday while markets were also supported by another batch of strong U.S. jobs data.

The upbeat sentiment supported the euro and dollar against the yen, while the Japanese unit was also pressured by news that the country suffered a record current account deficit in January.

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Forbes: Carlos Slim World's Richest for 3rd Year

Mexico telecoms czar of Lebanese origin Carlos Slim topped the Forbes annual world's richest list, holding the edge over Microsoft's Bill Gates who continued to give away billions of his fortune to charity.

Despite a $6 billion hit to his wealth from slumping stock markets over the past year, Forbes said Slim's $69 billion was enough to keep him on top of its global billionaires list for the third straight year.

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BMW Drives to Record Profits in 2011

German top-of-the-range carmaker BMW said Thursday it powered ahead to new records in unit sales, revenues and profits in 2011 and expected to continue to grow again this year.

BMW said in a statement it booked net profit of 4.907 billion euros ($6.5 billion) in 2011, an increase of 51.3 percent year-on-year, and pre-tax profit rose by 52.1 percent to 7.383 billion euros.

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Facebook Secures $8 Billion Ahead of Public Offer

Facebook has secured $8 billion ahead of the social network's eagerly-anticipated initial public offering (IPO), according to documents provided to U.S. regulators.

The company said it had secured a $5 billion revolving line of credit over three years from a bank consortium including Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, according to documents filed Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

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What Crisis? Swiss Watchmakers Eye Record 2012

Swiss watchmakers said Wednesday that they are expecting demand in 2012 to beat that of 2011, when exports hit a record, even though growth would be less pronounced than last year.

"If exports reach between 20 and 25 billion francs in 2012, we would be satisfied," said Francois Thiebaud, who heads the Swiss exhibitors' committee at Baselworld, the world's biggest watch fair.

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European Stocks, Euro Recover after Heavy Falls

European stocks and the euro rebounded on Wednesday following a day of heavy falls on concern about global economic growth and a bond swap to cut Greek debt and avert default, traders said.

London's FTSE 100 index of leading shares gained 0.19 percent to 5,776.73 points in mid-morning deals, Frankfurt's DAX 30 won 0.33 percent to 6,655.19 points and in Paris the CAC 40 grew 0.75 percent to 3,387.59.

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Carlos Slim to Invest $4.7 Billion in Mexico

The Carso Group of the Mexican tycoon of Lebanese origin Carlos Slim, who is considered to be the world's richest man, said Tuesday it plans to invest nearly $4.7 billion in Mexico this year.

"During 2012, our investments in Mexico will be $4.66 billion, generating more than 100,000 jobs," according to the conglomerate. The projects include telecoms, construction, entertainment and health companies.

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Adidas Sees Record Profits in 2012 Thanks to Olympics

German sportswear maker adidas said Wednesday strong demand for its brand pushed it to record earnings in 2011 and it hoped to beat those again this year on the back of the 2012 Olympics.

Adidas said in a statement its net profit rose by 18 percent to 671 million euros ($881 million) last year, with earnings per share hitting a record high of 3.20 euros.

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Eurozone in 'Mild Recession': EU Commissioner

The Eurozone is currently going through a mild recession, the European Union's Economic Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said on Tuesday.

"The euro area is currently in a mild recession," he said.

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