Europe biz: Npower jobs face axe, BMW's Mini plans
By Catherine Newman

NPower unions fear 4,500 UK jobs at risk

German energy giant E.ON says it plans to restructure its Npower division in the UK, prompting union fears that 4,500 jobs could be cut.

"The UK market is currently particularly challenging," E.ON chief executive Johannes Teyssen said in a statement. "We've emphasized repeatedly that we'll take all necessary action to return our business there to consistent profitability."

Unions called the action a "cruel blow" in the run-up to Christmas. Under the restructuring plan, Npower's owner E.ON is planning to merge computer systems to save money, with call centers most at risk. 

E.ON also said that in the first nine months of the year, group earnings before interest and tax fell 6 percent to $2.4 billion.

Dyson to move global headquarters to historic Singapore building 

Dyson has picked the historic St James Power Station in Singapore as its new headquarters. The building is a sprawling power station which was constructed in the colonial era and was being used as a nightlife complex up until recently. 

James Dyson's company, which is known for its bagless vacuum cleaners, announced this year that it was moving its HQ from England to Singapore in an effort to be closer to Asian markets. 

Dyson, whose founder was one of the highest profile business backers of Brexit, will move into the site in 2021, once the 110,000 square foot building is renovated. 

Dyson CEO Jim Rowan said that the company had outgrown its current site of 12 years in the city-state and added that "The historic St. James Power Station will be a most inspiring backdrop for Dyson's people. It will be a hive for our research and development endeavors, as we focus on great technology breakthroughs." 

BMW to build new plant in China for electric cars 

German multinational company BMW and its partner Great Wall Motors have announced plans to build a plant in China with a capacity of 160,000 cars per year, which will produce BMW's electric Mini brand and Great Wall Motors models. 

The $718 million plant is due for completion in 2022. The company is already planning to build electric Minis in its Oxford plant in the UK.

Automakers and suppliers are scrambling to meet tough new Chinese quotas for less polluting cars which call for electric and rechargeable hybrid vehicles to account for a fifth of total sales by the year 2025. 

The new joint venture Spotlight Automotive will be situated in Zhangjiagang near Shanghai and is looking to employ 3,000 staff. 

French third quarter growth steady

The French economy grew by 0.3 percent in the third quarter, according to the national INSEE statistics agency. 

It is the third quarter in a row of expansion at the same rate, with INSEE saying consumer spending had picked up to 0.4 percent growth from 0.2 percent in the previous three months.