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PRICE-FIXING PROBE SHIFTS TO ADM'S COMPETITORS

With the federal price-fixing probe of Archer Daniels Midland Co. resolved by a record $100 million fine, federal prosecutors are shifting their focus to ADM's competitors in the food additives industry.

ADM pleaded guilty Tuesday to two charges involving fixing the prices of citric acid and the livestock feed additive lysine.

A spokeswoman for one of ADM's competitors, CPC International Inc., said prosecutors told the company it was not under investigation.

Cargill Inc., the nation's largest privately held firm, cooperated with the investigation of ADM and has not been told it is a target of the probe, Cargill spokesman Allan Holbert said Tuesday.

CPC has agreed to pay $7 million to settle a federal class-action lawsuit alleging corn syrup price-fixing. Cargill is also named in similar civil lawsuits, but has no plans to settle, Holbert said.

The A.E. Staley Manufacturing Co. of Decatur, Ill., another ADM competitor in the corn syrup market, has turned over records to federal agents investigating price fixing.

Two Japanese companies and the U.S. subsidiary of a South Korean firm -- ADM's main competitors in the lysine market -- have agreed to plead guilty or no contest to fixing prices of the livestock supplement. A top executive from each of the three companies also has agreed to plead guilty, and all six are scheduled to appear in a Chicago federal court Friday.

TI to cut jobs as profits tumble
DALLAS (Knight-Ridder) -- Texas Instruments Inc., reacting to an 85 percent drop in profits and a collapse in prices for memory chips, disclosed a plan Tuesday that could cut its U.S. work force by as much as 15 percent.

The Dallas-based electronics giant is asking about 5,300 employees to retire early to help the company cut costs.

TI said its profits fell to $44 million, compared to $289 million in the year-earlier period. After some special charges related to an acquisition, the company said it was $148 million in the red for the quarter ended Sept. 30.

GM layoffs grow in wake of strike
DETROIT (AP) -- The Canadian Auto Workers strike against General Motors Corp. has now idled 10,187 workers in the United States and Mexico as GM partially shut down six more Mexican parts plants.

An additional 4,385 workers were laid off Tuesday from plants operated by GM's Delphi Automotive Systems parts subsidiary in Mexico, spokeswoman Cheryl Kilborn said Tuesday.

No additional U.S. plant slowdowns or closures were announced Tuesday, but more are expected the longer the strike continues.

In Toronto, CAW President Buzz Hargrove said he talked briefly Tuesday with GM's chief negotiator, Dean Munger.

"We're kind of in a holding pattern right now," Hargrove said. "We had a lot of discussion over the weekend, but it hasn't led anywhere."

Kiwi suspends operations
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- Kiwi International Air Lines said Tuesday it was grounding itself and would shut down next week if it doesn't find an investor to keep it running through bankruptcy reorganization.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Rosemary Gambardella set a hearing for next Tuesday at which Kiwi would present a plan to dispose of the company's assets.

"It may be that someone will appear in the next few days," said Kiwi's lawyer, Howard S. Greenberg. He said the airline had about $35 million in assets and $55 million in liabilities.

Rates increase on Treasury bills
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Treasury Department Tuesday auctioned $13 billion in three-month bills at an average discount rate of 5.01 percent, up from 4.96 percent last week.

Another $13 billion was sold in six-month bills at an average rate of 5.11 percent, up from 5.07 percent.

The new discount rates understate the actual return to investors -- 5.14 percent for three-month bills with a $10,000 bill selling for $9,873.40, and 5.32 percent for a six-month bill selling for $9,741.70.

Separately, the Federal Reserve said Tuesday that the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, the most popular index for making changes in adjustable rate mortgages, fell to 5.57 percent last week from 5.61 percent the previous week.

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