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BUSINESS IN BRIEF

United Makes Pension Deal

Thursday, April 28, 2005; Page E02

United Airlines will give the government $1.5 billion in securities in exchange for taking over the airline's four underfunded pension plans, according to a settlement agreement between the carrier and the nation's pension insurer. The deal with the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. would save United $4.4 billion in cash contributions over the next six years, including $1.3 billion this year, according to court documents.

U.S. Can Consider Textile-Import Limit

The Commerce Department can consider petitions to limit imports on $1.3 billion worth of clothing from China, a federal appeals court ruled. U.S. textile makers in October asked for limits on Chinese imports because a worldwide quota system that regulated textile trade was expiring. A federal judge in December temporarily barred the United States from taking any action on the textile makers' request.


The Air Force said it will hold a new competition for about $3.3 billion of a $5 billion Boeing program to modernize the C-130 transport plane after the Government Accountability Office ruled that Darleen A. Druyun, a former procurement official, tainted the deal. She admitted showing Boeing favoritism for years before taking a job with the company. (Danny Johnston -- AP)

MORE NEWS

Two North Carolina universities do not have to identify two students accused of sharing copyrighted music online, a federal magistrate ruled. The Recording Industry Association of America filed subpoenas in 2003 for the names of a North Carolina State University student and a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student.

Guidant shareholders approved the medical device maker's $25.4 billion acquisition by Johnson & Johnson. The deal is subject to regulatory approval in the United States and Europe.

DuPont shareholders rejected a proposal to force the company to disclose legal and public relations expenses for a controversial chemical, perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, used in making Teflon. Members of DuPont Shareholders for Fair Value, a coalition that includes a factory workers union, said shareholders have a right to know what information the company has gathered over the past 25 years about the potential health, environmental and financial risks associated with the chemical.

A juror in the fraud trial of former HealthSouth chief executive Richard M. Scrushy was dismissed because of "external events" that could raise questions about impartiality, U.S. District Judge Karon O. Bowdre said. She did not identify the juror and did not elaborate on why she was dismissed.

Raymond James Financial was ordered by regulators to pay $888,000 for switching brokerage customers into accounts that charge a flat fee when commission accounts would have cost less. NASD, the brokerage industry's regulatory body, censured St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Raymond James and fined it $750,000. The company was ordered to pay $138,000 in restitution to its customers.

Tenet Healthcare, the second-largest U.S. hospital chain, said U.S. regulators gave it notice that they plan to recommend civil action over the company's financial reporting of Medicare and managed-care payments. Notices from the SEC also were issued to at least six executives who left the company in 2002 and 2003, Tenet said.

Movie Gallery completed its nearly $900 million acquisition of Hollywood Entertainment, creating the second-largest North American home video retailer. Hollywood will continue operating under its brand name as a subsidiary of Movie Gallery, headquartered in Dothan, Ala. In late March, Blockbuster Inc. abandoned a rival bid for Hollywood, citing anticipated resistance from federal antitrust authorities and opposition among Hollywood shareholders.

Hedge fund assets passed $1 trillion for the first time as they attracted $27.4 billion in investments in the first quarter, according to Hedge Fund Research of Chicago. The loosely regulated vehicles for institutional investors and wealthy individuals had $39 billion in assets in 1990, when there were 610 funds, according to the research firm. There are now 7,904.

ACE chief executive Evan Greenberg said an internal investigation into the company's finite-risk insurance products, now almost complete, so far has found no accounting irregularities. ACE is one of several insurance companies subpoenaed by New York Attorney General Eliot L. Spitzer, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and state insurance commissioners.

Polaroid shareholders on Wednesday approved the company's $426 million sale to Petters Group Worldwide, a Minnesota-based consumer products company, 3 1/2 years after the instant photography pioneer filed for bankruptcy protection, blaming consumers' shift to digital photography.

INTERNATIONAL

Microsoft chief executive Steven A. Ballmer and European Union Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes failed to settle the main outstanding differences over the E.U.'s antitrust case against the company. E.U. regulators fined Microsoft $645 million last year after finding that the company illegally locked competitors out of the market for computer operating systems and other software.

Circuit City Stores said it will rename more than 900 Canadian stores operating under the RadioShack brand. The name change -- to Source by Circuit City -- follows a Texas court decision against the Richmond retailer. In March, a judge ruled that RadioShack can end its licensing contract with Ontario-based InterTan, which Circuit City acquired last year.


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