Business news in brief

Posted: March 02, 2013

In the Region

CEDC offers debt exchange

Central European Distribution Corp., the Polish vodka producer with headquarters in Mount Laurel, made an exchange offer this week for three debt issues, including $257.9 million in 3 percent convertible notes maturing in mid-March that were trading at 16 cents on the dollar. CEDC is struggling to prevent bankruptcy. Shares fell 56.8 percent for the week, closing Friday at 60 cents. - Bloomberg News

Elsewhere

Buffett calls year 'subpar'

Warren Buffett, in his annual letter to shareholders, said last year was "subpar" for his company even after it posted a 45 percent increase in profit, because the value of Berkshire Hathaway trailed the overall market. Berkshire's net income soared in 2012 to $14.8 billion, up from $10.3 billion the previous year, but most of the increase came from paper gains on investments and derivative contracts. - AP

Penney CEO on hot seat

J.C. Penney Co. CEO Ron Johnson was in the hot seat in New York State Supreme Court after already facing investors this week over a dismal quarterly earnings performance. This time he was being scrutinized by Macy's lawyers for a stack of e-mails he wrote that they claim show he repeatedly pushed home-design maven Martha Stewart to try to break an exclusive deal with his rival so Penney could be the sole department store distributor of Stewart goods. - AP

Spending up, incomes down

The Commerce Department said consumer spending rose 0.2 percent in January compared with December. Income plunged 3.6 percent in January, the biggest drop since January 1993. But that followed a 2.6 percent rise in December, which reflected a rush by companies to pay dividends and bonuses. - AP

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