Northwest, Mechanics to Meet

Northwest Airlines and its mechanics union agreed to resume contract talks on Aug. 15. The union has set an Aug. 20 strike deadline.

The airline and the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association were asked by the federal board overseeing the talks to resume bargaining, the union said. The company said a strike would increase the possibility of a filing for bankruptcy protection.

Delta Stock Falls to New Low

Delta Air Lines' battered stock plunged to a new low after a Wall Street analyst advised clients to sell their shares on fears that the surge in oil prices could contribute to a bankruptcy filing within two months. Delta fell 28 cents to close at $1.95. a share.

Meanwhile, Delta's pilots union postponed plans to elect new officers to two of its committees. In a memo to pilots, the union said it has received information indicating that Delta may have moved up the announced closing date of its Dallas hub, to interfere with the election process. The memo did not elaborate. The memo also said there is no truth to media reports that the airline is seeking $275 million in additional cuts from its pilots. The pilots union agreed to $1 billion in concessions last year.

United Reworks Plane Leases

United Airlines revised a lease agreement involving 105 planes to save $300 million a year. So far, the company has negotiated $850 million in annual savings in fleet costs. The company has only one lease agreement left to revise, involving 14 aircraft. United has said reworking plane leases was the largest remaining task before exiting bankruptcy.


SEC Launches Kodak Inquiry

Federal regulators began an inquiry into an Eastman Kodak financial restatement that reduced the photography company's profit to fix accounting errors, mostly in taxes and pensions over the past two years. The restatement covers yearly profit for 2003 and quarterly financial statements for the first three quarters of 2004.


Enron Settlement Approved

Enron received bankruptcy court approval of a settlement with the Royal Bank of Scotland that gives the former energy trader's creditors $21.8 million. Enron sued the bank and nine other financial institutions in 2003, accusing them of assisting in the accounting fraud that drove the company into the second-biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history and cost investors $68 billion.

Enron has also settled with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, for $250 million, and the Royal Bank of Canada, for $25 million. The proceeds will go to Enron's creditors.

Guilty Plea in Insurance Probe

Kevin Bott, a former executive of a Liberty Mutual Group unit, admitted to rigging insurance bids and agreed to cooperate with New York state Attorney General Eliot L. Spitzer's investigation of industry collusion. Bott, 36, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge, his lawyer said. He offered inflated bids to brokers of Marsh & McLennan who had already decided to give insurance business to another company.


Good Opening for Ruth's Chris

Ruth's Chris Steak House stock closed up on its first day of trading. Shares rose to $20.70 Tuesday on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The restaurant chain priced 13 million shares at $18 a share.

The company said it would use the proceeds from the offering to pay debt and to add five to six new restaurants a year for the next several years.

Walt Disney Co. said its fiscal third-quarter profit climbed 41 percent, to $851 million from $604 million, on the strength of its ESPN cable sports channel and ABC television network. Revenue for the quarter ended July 2 rose 2.7 percent, to $7.72 billion.

Clear Channel Communications, the country's largest radio station owner, said second-quarter earnings fell 13 percent, to $220.7 million, from the second quarter of 2004. Revenue fell 1 percent, to $2.46 billion. Radio broadcasting revenue fell 7 percent, to $931.9 million.

EchoStar Communications' second-quarter profit rose to $855.5 million, from $85.3 million in the corresponding period a year earlier, largely because of a one-time tax gain and increased subscriptions its Dish satellite television service. Revenue rose 18 percent, to $2.1 billion.

Compiled from staff and news service reports.

Northwest Airlines and its mechanics, here supported in Minnesota, will resume talks.