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UAW local to hold rally at endangered plant

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Business briefs

Toyota forecast to be No. 1 in U.S. market

Toyota Motor Corp. , the world’s biggest automaker, will become the biggest seller of vehicles in the U.S. market next year after overtaking General Motors Co. , according to forecaster IHS Global Insight. It sees Ford Motor Corp. and GM essentially tied in second place for a couple of years until 2013, when GM is expected to move ahead. Honda Motor Co. , in fourth place, will gain market share slowly, according to the Waltham, Mass.-based firm.

UAW local to hold rally at endangered plant

The United Auto Workers union local that represents workers at the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. venture of Toyota Motor Corp. and General Motors Co. will hold a "Save our Jobs" rally Thursday at the Fremont, Calif., plant’s union hall. GM has left its 50 percent stake in the Nummi venture in bankruptcy, along with other bad assets, and Toyota has not said whether it will continue production at the factory employing 4,800 people.

Judge weighs Visteon ending retiree benefits

Wilmington, Del. — A Delaware bankruptcy judge is weighing whether auto parts supplier Visteon Corp. can terminate retiree health care and life insurance benefits for thousands of current and former workers.

After a two-day hearing, Judge Christopher Sontchi told attorneys Friday he would consider the evidence and arguments. He gave no indication when he would rule.

Visteon has argued that the retiree benefits are one of its largest liabilities and pose a significant obstacle to a successful reorganization.

Qatar will take 10% stake in VW-Porsche

Porsche SE , maker of the 911 sports car, said Qatar will buy a 10 percent stake and take over most of the company’s options for Volkswagen AG shares as part of an agreement for the two German manufacturers to merge. Qatar Holding LLC will acquire ordinary shares from the Porsche and Piech families, who own the voting stock, Stuttgart, Germany-based Porsche said Friday.

Volkswagen agreed Thursday to pay 3.3 billion euros ($4.7 billion) for a 42 percent stake in Porsche’s automotive unit as a first step in the merger process. The Persian Gulf emirate also agreed to provide 265 million euros ($376 million) in a loan.

Frontier aims to exit bankruptcy soon

DenverFrontier Airlines CEO Sean Menke says the Denver-based carrier could emerge from bankruptcy as early as next month. Republic Airways Holdings won a bankruptcy court auction Thursday for Frontier with a nearly $109 million bid that had been sweetened to offer creditors other than Republic about 18 cents on the dollar. Menke said Friday that Southwest Airlines Co. withdrew its bid of more than $170 million after it became clear that pilot unions for both airlines wouldn’t be able to agree on how their ranks would be integrated.

Boeing finds new problem in 787

Boeing Co. said Friday it has discovered another problem with its long-delayed 787 jetliner. The Chicago-based airplane maker found microscopic wrinkles in the skin of the 787’s fuselage and is installing a patch, said Lori Gunter, a Boeing spokeswoman. The 787 is built for fuel efficiency from lightweight carbon-composite parts. Boeing has repeatedly delayed the first test flight and deliveries of the 787, costing the company credibility and billions of dollars in expected expenses and penalties.

JetBlue sells month of flights for $599

JetBlue Airways Corp. , working to keep planes full after the peak U.S. summer travel season ends, is offering a $599 travel pass that lets passengers take unlimited flights for a month. The program covers all 56 JetBlue cities and runs from Sept. 8 to Oct. 8 with no blackout dates, the New York-based carrier said today in a statement. JetBlue’s network includes the U.S. and leisure destinations in Mexico, Costa Rica and the Caribbean.

Author alleges she was Madoff’s 20-year mistress

New York — Bernard Madoff’s decades-long fraud might not have been his only secret. A new book says he had a two-decade affair with one of his investors. That’s in a memoir by Sheryl Weinstein titled "Madoff’s Other Secret: Love, Money, Bernie, and Me." It goes on sale Aug. 25. Both were married. Madoff is serving 150 years in prison for defrauding thousands of investors. Madoff attorney Ira Sorkin did not return a call Friday.

Colonial BancGroup is biggest failure this year

Washington — Regulators on Friday shut down Colonial BancGroup Inc., a lender in real estate development, in the biggest U.S. bank failure this year, along with a small bank in Pennsylvania.

The closures boosted to 74 the number of banks that have failed in 2009.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was appointed receiver of Montgomery, Ala.-based Colonial, with about $25 billion in assets, and Dwelling House Savings and Loan Association, in Pittsburgh. The agency approved the sale of Colonial’s $20 billion in deposits and about $22 billion of its assets to BB&T Corp.

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