U.S. Productivity Rises 4.1%

U.S. workers' productivity rose at a 4.1 percent annual rate in the third quarter, up from 2.1 percent in the second quarter, the Labor Department reported. Labor costs dropped at a 0.5 percent annual pace after a 1.8 percent increase in the second quarter, it said. Hours worked edged up 0.1 percent, down from the previous period's 2.1 percent, while output's annual growth rate decreased to 4.2 percent from 4.4 percent, the department's Bureau of Labor Statistics said.


Carlyle Buys Parts Maker

Carlyle Group, the District-based buyout firm that has made more than a dozen investments in the auto and transportation industries, acquired vehicle-parts maker AxleTech International for $335 million in cash.

The sellers were Wynnchurch Capital of Lake Forest, Ill.; Resilience Capital Partners of Cleveland; and other shareholders.

AxleTech, based in Troy, Mich., employs about 450 people at three factories in Oshkosh, Wis.; St. Etienne, France; and Osasco, Brazil. It has annual revenue of about $250 million.


Opposition to Sovereign Deal

A major Sovereign Bancorp investor said it would oppose the company's controversial two-part transaction with a Spanish bank and a New York thrift. The announcement from Franklin Mutual Advisers, with funds holding a nearly 5 percent stake in the company, adds a key institutional voice to the growing ranks of shareholders opposed to the deal. Sovereign's largest shareholder, Relational Investors, is also against the deal.

Sovereign plans to sell a 19.8 percent stake in itself to Spain's Grupo Santander and use proceeds from that investment to buy New York thrift Independence Community Bank. The transaction, announced last week, infuriated shareholders who saw it as an effort to dilute their voting power and entrench management.

MBNA Acquisition Backed

MBNA shareholders overwhelmingly approved the company's $35 billion acquisition by Bank of America. Charlotte-based Bank of America expects to complete the acquisition of the world's largest independent credit card issuer in early 2006, if federal regulators approve.


Northwest Pilots Offer Cuts

Northwest Airlines pilots union leaders approved an agreement to make temporary concessions to the carrier as the two sides negotiate additional expense cuts in the company's bankruptcy reorganization.

The union's top council approved providing 60 percent of the savings sought by the airline, and results of a pilots' vote will be counted by about Nov. 14, said Hal Myers, a spokesman for the Air Line Pilots Association at Northwest. The Eagan, Minn.-based company sought $358 million in new concessions from pilots.


Spitzer Sues Guidant

New York state Attorney General Eliot L. Spitzer said he was suing Guidant for concealing information about a design flaw in its Prizm 1861 heart defibrillator. His action came as the deadline drew closer for Johnson & Johnson to complete its planned acquisition of the Indianapolis-based medical device manufacturer. The companies have until today to close the deal, which the Federal Trade Commission approved Wednesday.

CVS said third-quarter profit rose 37 percent, to $252.7 million, from the comparable quarter a year earlier, on strong performance by its recently acquired Eckerd stores, as well as growth in non-pharmacy sales. Revenue rose 13 percent, to $8.97 billion, and sales at stores open for a year ws up 5.7 percent.

Compiled from staff and news service reports.

U.S. workers' productivity rose more than forecast in the third quarter. Above, Sobeida Belliard stitches together sole parts at a New Balance shoe factory in Lawrence, Mass.