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.
Renault’s chief operating officer resigns
Renault announced in Paris that Carlos Tavares, the French automaker’s chief operating officer, is stepping down amid speculation that he might be headed to a top job at Ford or General Motors. Ford’s chief executive, Alan Mulally, is 68, while GM’s boss, Daniel Akerson, is 64. Tavares, 55, had long been seen as a possible successor to Carlos Ghosn, 59, Renault’s chairman and chief executive, and is the man credited with turning around Renault’s Japanese alliance partner, Nissan.
Investment firm Blackstone settles suit
Blackstone has agreed to pay $85 million to settle a lawsuit brought by a group of investors that accused it of misrepresenting some investments ahead of its initial public offering. In June 2007, at the peak of the private equity boom, Blackstone raised $4.1 billion in a share offering on the New York Stock Exchange. The settlement ends a five-year legal battle with investors who contended that the firm misrepresented the value of three investments in its prospectus. Blackstone denied any wrongdoing or liability in the settlement. By settling, Blackstone avoided a securities class-action trial that was scheduled to begin next month.
Broker use of client assets faces limits
Brokers face restrictions on using clients’ assets as collateral for other trades, as part of a push by global regulators to prevent the securities lending market from sparking chain reactions that could cause a crisis. Under recommendations published by the Financial Stability Board, brokers wouldn’t be allowed to tap client assets for their own trading, and they would have to provide “sufficient disclosure” of plans to use the securities as collateral in other transactions. Regulators are seeking to rein in how traders use collateral in a bid to prevent any repeat of the turmoil that followed the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., which was driven in part by confusion over who was owed what on outstanding trades.
FROM NEWS SERVICES