Business news in brief

An effigy of billionaire Li Ka-shing is displayed along with banners as dockworkers protest in front of the Cheung Kong Center in Hong Kong on Tuesday. About 450 workers, mostly crane operators and stevedores, walked out on March 28, seeking higher wages and better working conditions.
An effigy of billionaire Li Ka-shing is displayed along with banners as dockworkers protest in front of the Cheung Kong Center in Hong Kong on Tuesday. About 450 workers, mostly crane operators and stevedores, walked out on March 28, seeking higher wages and better working conditions. (DANIEL J. GROSHONG / Bloomberg News)
Posted: April 24, 2013

In the Region

Corzine sued by MF Global trustee

Louis Freeh, the trustee in the MF Global Holdings bankruptcy case, sued ex-chief executive officer - and former New Jersey governor - Jon S. Corzine and other former executives, alleging they pushed the company into risky practices that ultimately led to its collapse. The lawsuit in bankruptcy court in New York says Corzine and two other top executives "dramatically changed" the company's business plan after he became CEO in 2010. They then failed to update controls and other systems that were already weak, the lawsuit says. Corzine pushed the company into making big bets on bonds issued by European countries, the lawsuit says, a move that proved disastrous during the implosion of the debt crisis the next summer. MF Global collapsed in October 2011. A spokesman for Corzine called the lawsuit "a clear case of Monday- morning quarterbacking." The spokesman, Steven Goldberg, said the lawsuit intentionally ignored the fact that some of MF Global's trading partners failed and didn't pay what they owed to MF Global. - AP

Pa. Turnpike to get E.V. stations

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission will install charging stations for electric vehicles at four of its 17 service plazas this year, the commission said. Eventually, all of the service plazas will be equipped with charging stations. The first stations, to be installed by summer, will be at the King of Prussia plaza in Montgomery County, the Bowmansville plaza in Lancaster County, the New Stanton plaza in Westmoreland County, and the Oakmont plaza in Allegheny County. No price has been set yet for motorists to use the service. The stations are being paid for with $500,000 from the turnpike, $1 million from the state Department of Environmental Protection, and $1 million from the Car Charging Group of Miami Beach, Fla., which will provide the stations and service. - Paul Nussbaum

Aereo begins rollout

TV-streaming service Aereo Inc. expanded into its second TV market, Boston. The company, previously only available in New York, captures over-the-air broadcast TV signals and streams the content to smartphones, tablets, laptops, and TVs. Broadcast TV networks claim in two lawsuits that Aereo steals their signals, but Aereo says that what it's doing is legal and an option for those seeking to cut their cable-TV bills. Aereo, backed by longtime entertainment executive Barry Diller, could launch in Philadelphia by the summer. - Bob Fernandez

Ford sued here over mileage claim

Ford Motor Co. was sued by Pennsylvania car owners who said its hybrid models didn't deliver on fuel-efficiency claims. Ford's 2013 Fusion Hybrid and C-Max Hybrid models provide significantly worse fuel economy than the advertised 47 miles per gallon, according to a complaint in federal court in Philadelphia. The inaccurate representations allowed Ford to falsely claim that those models outperformed competing vehicles, according to the car owners. The Fusion, redesigned by Ford late last year, was the sixth-best-selling model in the United States through March. Last month, the model was selling from dealer lots faster and at higher prices than Toyota Motor Corp.'s Camry and Honda Motor Co.'s Accord. Todd Nissen, a Ford spokesman, had no immediate comment on the complaint. - Bloomberg News

Sunoco Partners raises distribution

Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P., of Philadelphia, said general partner Sunoco Partners L.L.C. raised its quarterly cash distribution 5 percent, to 57.25 cents per unit, or $2.29 on an annualized basis. The distribution will be paid May 15 to unit holders of record May 9. - Reid Kanaley


Apple introduces the iDividend

Apple Inc. is finally opening the doors to its bank vault, saying it will distribute $100 billion in cash to its shareholders over two years. Apple says it will buy back $60 billion in shares - the largest buyback authorization in history. It is also raising its dividend 15 percent. Investors have been clamoring for Apple to give them access to its cash hoard of $145 billion. Apple's tight grip on its cash has been blamed for the steep decline in its stock price over the winter. Apple is also posting results for its latest quarter that beat expectations, though net income fell 18 percent to $9.5 billion, and revenue rose a modest 11 percent from last year to $43.6 billion. Both figures beat expectations. - AP

New-home sales rise in March

U.S. sales of new homes rose in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 417,000. The increase added to evidence of a sustained housing recovery at the start of the spring buying season. The Commerce Department said sales of new homes increased 1.5 percent. The gain brought the level higher than February's pace of 411,000, though below January's 445,000 - the fastest pace since July 2008. New-home sales are still below the 700,000 pace considered healthy by most econo- mists. But the pace has increased 18.5 percent from 352,000 a year ago. - AP

CFPB defends data collection

Data collected by the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau doesn't invade individuals' privacy, is a vital regulatory tool, and mimics techniques already in wide use by the private sector, the agency's director said. "The big banks know more about you than you know about yourself," CFPB Director Richard Cordray said at a hearing of the Senate Banking Committee, where he faced criticism about a bureau data-collection initiative. "And me, too, as a consumer." The CFPB is collecting data to improve its rule-writing and super- visory work, sometimes through purchasing it from credit bureaus like Experian P.L.C.   Sen. Mike Johanns of Nebraska, a Republican on the panel, highlighted potential violations of individual privacy from the CFPB's work. "To many people," Johanns said at the hearing, "this is going to sound downright creepy. " - Bloomberg News

Senators ready 'too-big-to-fail' bill

Banks with more than $500 billion in assets would face higher capital standards meant to reduce risk and end an implied subsidy for the biggest lenders under a bill to be introduced Wednesday by two U.S. lawmakers. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) and David Vitter (R., La.) said their "too-big-to-fail" legislation would focus federal assistance on commercial- banking activities while granting relief to community banks. The measure faces tough opposition. - Bloomberg News

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