Business briefs: Railroad says it has met DM&E obligations

  • Updated: August 29, 2013 - 9:08 PM

Dennis Daugaard promotes South Dakota job opportunities to a visitor at the state’s recruitment kiosk in the Mall of America in Minnesota on May 13. PHOTO: SOUTH DAKOTA DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND REGULATION

Railroad says it has met DM&E obligations

Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. said it has met its obligations from the 2007 purchase of the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad. South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard earlier asked the federal Surface Transportation Board to look into whether CP has lived up to its promises as it seeks a buyer for the former DM&E line west of Tracy, Minn. Matt Konenkamp, a policy adviser in the governor’s office, said one stretch of track that needs work is the Pierre-to-Rapid City portion, on which trains can’t travel above 10 mph. CP spokesman Ed Greenberg says the railroad not only met its obligations but also made improvements to further enhance safety and efficiency by investing more than $400 million between 2008 and 2013. CP announced in December that it might sell 660 miles of track in South Dakota, Minnesota, Wyoming and Nebraska.

Jobless claims trend stays near 6-year low

Signaling that the pace of layoffs remains relatively slow, jobless claims stuck close to the lowest level in more than five years last week, Labor Department officials said. The number of people who applied for new unemployment insurance benefits declined by 6,000 to 331,000 in the week that ended Aug. 24. The four-week moving average of initial claims for regular state unemployment-insurance benefits ticked up 750 to 331,250, but remained close to the lowest level since late 2007, near the start of the Great Recession.

Vodafone poised to cash in its Verizon stake

Vodafone Group PLC is poised to exit the best investment it ever made, pocketing as much as $130 billion from the 45 percent stake it owns in U.S. mobile firm Verizon Wireless and focusing its attention on Europe. Vodafone and Verizon Communications Inc. have been in talks on and off for years over the partnership that left payouts from one of Newbury, England-based Vodafone’s most profitable businesses at the whims of the Americans. Vodafone’s U.S.-traded shares surged more than 8 percent after it said the companies were in talks.

Zurich Insurance head resigns after suicide

Chairman Josef Ackermann of Zurich Insurance Group AG resigned after the company’s finance chief died in an apparent suicide. Ackermann, former chief executive of Deutsche Bank and one of Europe’s best-known business leaders, said in a statement that “The unexpected death of Pierre Wauthier has deeply shocked me. I have reasons to believe that the family is of the opinion that I should take my share of responsibility, as unfounded as any allegations might be.” Ackermann, 65, didn’t describe the allegations and Zurich Insurance declined to provide further information.

Brazil’s ethanol imports expected to jump

Brazil’s ethanol imports, mainly from the United States, are expected to almost double this season as consumption expands for the first time in four years, according to Grupo USJ. Latin America’s largest economy is expected to import about 265 million gallons in the crop year started April 1 to meet rising local consumption, said Narciso Bertholdi, a director at USJ, which is a partner of Cargill Inc. in two Brazilian sugar and ethanol ventures. Brazil will import ethanol between December and April, when mills close for maintenance after harvest, to meet the mandatory amount of the fuel that is blended into gasoline, Bertholdi said. Most cars in Brazil run on pure ethanol or a mixture of 25 percent of the biofuel with gasoline.

Chinese tech firm hires Google executive

In a sign of the rising export ambitions of the Chinese mobile phone industry, a smartphone maker called Xiaomi has hired a top executive away from Google to lead its international expansion plans. The executive, Hugo Barra, is one of the highest-profile Westerners to join a Chinese technology company, analysts said. At Google, he has served as vice president for Google’s Android mobile operating system, which is used by the vast majority of smartphones in China.

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