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Appeal from shareholders of Halliburton to be heard

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal from shareholders trying to sue Halliburton Co. for securities fraud in a case that may make it easier for investors to press class-action suits in some states.

A federal appeals court in New Orleans said the Halliburton shareholders couldn't sue as a group because they hadn't established that they lost money as a result of the alleged fraud. A different federal appeals court in Chicago later said the Halliburton court was putting too much of a burden on investors.

The Halliburton shareholders' lawyer, David Boies, argued in his appeal that the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had established a "virtually unattainable standard."

The shareholders, led by the Erica P. John Fund, contend that Halliburton from 1999 to 2001 falsified earnings reports, played down estimated asbestos liability and overstated the benefits of a merger. The company was led during part of that period by Dick Cheney, later the U.S. vice president.

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Jobs' holdings skyrocket

NEW YORK (AP) -- Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs' compensation package remained the usual $1 in fiscal 2010, but the value of the shares he owns has skyrocketed amid the company's ongoing success with introducing shiny new gadgets many people come to find indispensable.

Apple said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday it paid a salary of $1 to Jobs, who rejoined the company in 1997 and has overseen the company's explosive growth following the launch of the iPod, the iPhone and now the iPad.

As is customary, Jobs got no bonus or perks during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 25, 2010. Jobs, however, holds 5.5 million of Apple's shares, which gained about 60 percent in value during the fiscal year and have continued to rise since. Apple's shares closed at $333.73 on Thursday, bringing the value of Jobs' personal holdings to $1.84 billion.

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Jobless rate unchanged

OTTAWA (AP) -- Canada's economy added a better than expected 22,000 jobs in December, but not enough to change the unemployment rate, a national reporting agency said Friday.

Statistics Canada said last month's jobless rate stayed unchanged at 7.6 percent. Full-time employment rose by 38,000 and manufacturing created 66,000 new jobs last month, the strongest month seen since 1976, with most of the jobs located in Ontario and Quebec.

Economists had expected an overall gain of less than 20,000 in December.

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Rapid loan payback sought

BRAMPTON, Ontario (AP) -- Fiat SpA and Chrysler LLC CEO Sergio Marchionne said Friday that he wants to pay back the loans Chrysler received from the U.S. and Canadian governments this year if he can.

Marchionne said Friday he remains committed to that objective. He made the remarks to reporters while at a Chrysler plant in Brampton, Ont., after meeting with employees to celebrate the production launch of the redesigned 2011 Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger.

"I'd like to pay them off in 2011, if I could," he said. "I would like to get it done as quickly as I could."

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Greatbatch profits from sale

Greatbatch Inc. is cashing in on Boston Scientific's $78 million purchase this week of a Boston company that makes brain stimulation software.

Greatbatch owned a minority interest in IntElect Medical and the Clarence battery and medical device maker said Thursday it expects to make a $4.7 million profit, before taxes, on its investment because of the acquisition.

Greatbatch first obtained its stake in IntElect Medical in 2007 through its own acquisition of Biomec Inc. Greatbatch increased that stake by making two other additional investments in IntElect in the following years, participating in a $7 million round of fundraising and an $11 million round in 2008. Both of those rounds of fundraising were led by Boston Scientific.

In all, Greatbatch expects to receive about $10 million for its stake in IntElect, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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