- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Regional

Fannie Mae, the biggest mortgage-finance company, tightened a policy on borrower equity to limit credit losses, potentially making it harder for consumers to refinance into lower-cost loans. Fannie will no longer allow homeowners to refinance loans it either owns or has packaged into bonds at typical loan-to-value ratios in areas with falling home prices if they are going to use proceeds to pay off a second mortgage.

Sallie Mae, the biggest U.S. educational lender, said it paid Albert Lord $1.66 million last year, including pay for two weeks as chief executive officer. Mr. Lord, who was executive chairman of the Reston company before being named CEO on Dec. 14, earned $358,637 for his board service. His predecessor, Thomas J. Fitzpatrick, received $27.1 million in compensation, including stock awards, last year.

Defense technology contractor SAIC Inc. of San Diego and McLean said fourth-quarter earnings rose 18 percent as it continued to win U.S. military contracts. The company said this year’s profit growth may fall short of its long-term target. Net income climbed to $99 million (24 cents a share) from $84 million (20 cents) a year earlier, topping estimates. Sales increased 12 percent to $2.34 billion in the quarter ended Jan. 31.

General Dynamics Corp. of Falls Church, the second-largest shipbuilder for the Navy, won a contract valued at as much as $375 million to provide a tactical data network for the Marine Corps. General Dynamics will do the work in Taunton, Mass.

National

Wall Street banks, brokerages and hedge funds may report $460 billion in credit losses from the collapse of the subprime mortgage market, or almost four times the amount already disclosed, according to Goldman Sachs. Profits will continue to wane, other analysts said. “There is light at the end of the tunnel, but it is still rather dim,” Goldman analysts said.

Merrill Lynch shares fell for the first time in three days after JPMorgan Chase cut its 2008 profit estimate for the third-largest U.S. securities firm 45 percent on concern that further write-downs will reduce earnings. Merrill shares slipped 53 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $47.85. The stock has fallen 44 percent over the past year.

Bear Stearns investors seeking better value than a bid of $10 a share by JPMorgan Chase asked a Delaware state judge to prohibit the issue of 95 million new shares until a hearing can be held to stop the sale.

Thornburg Mortgage Inc., the “jumbo” mortgage lender trying to stave off bankruptcy, rose 36 percent to $1.73 after disclosing plans to raise $1.35 billion. The rescue plan gives new investors debt that pays 18 percent and the chance to own a 90 percent stake. Thornburg is asking the New York Stock Exchange for permission to issue new securities without a shareholder vote because delay “would seriously jeopardize” the company.

CIT Group, the largest independent U.S. commercial finance company, reported Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Peek’s compensation fell 34 percent to $9.05 million last year, when the company lost $111 million. Mr. Peek received no bonus for last year under the company’s incentive plan. His salary remained unchanged at $800,000, and he was granted performance-related stock valued at as much as $6.05 million.

Boeing Co., the second-largest U.S. defense contractor, may see much of its missile work extended through 2013 after the current contract ends this year, the Pentagon said. The U.S. Missile Defense Agency and Chicago-based Boeing plan to enter negotiations to continue the major parts of the company’s 10-year, $15.4 billion contract that ends in December.

The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered inspections for hundreds of older model Boeing 737 jetliners after numerous reports of fuel leaks caused by a potentially faulty bolt. In August, a fire destroyed a China Airlines 737 when a bolt from a right wing slat pierced the jetliner’s fuel tank. All 165 people aboard evacuated safely just before the Boeing plane exploded on a tarmac in Okinawa, Japan.

New York Times Co. President and Chief Executive Officer Janet Robinson received total compensation valued at $2.1 million for 2007 but got no stock options, reducing her pay 38 percent from a year earlier, according to calculations by the Associated Press. Ms. Robinson’s compensation consisted of a $1 million base salary, which was equal to her 2006 salary, a regulatory filing showed. She received $1.1 million in nonstock incentive bonuses.

Google investors proposed that the Internet company create a committee on human rights and establish policies that forbid it from engaging in censorship. Google’s shareholders will vote on the proposals at the company’s annual meeting on May 8, the Mountain View, Calif., company said in a regulatory filing.

Facebook Inc., the second most popular social networking site, said it hired an executive from Internet search leader Google Inc. for the second time this month. Ethan Beard, who served as director of social media at Google, will help run business development at Palo Alto, Calif.-based Facebook. The company is bolstering management to handle an increase in advertising.

Google, owner of the most popular Internet search engine, said rival Yahoo Inc. will support its OpenSocial software, allowing developers to put their programs on a broader range of social-networking sites. Yahoo, Google and News Corp.’s MySpace said they are forming the nonprofit OpenSocial Foundation to promote the technology.

NRG Energy Inc., the second-largest power producer in Texas, said it formed a venture with Toshiba Corp. to develop nuclear power projects in North America. Toshiba, based in Tokyo, will invest $300 million over the next six years for a 12 percent stake in the venture, dubbed Nuclear Innovation North America. NRG will contribute its 50 percent stake in two new nuclear units planned for its existing plant in Texas.

International

A new report says a Chinese factory that makes light bulbs for General Electric Co. subjects many of its employees to 64-hour workweeks and many are exposed to mercury. Cleveland-based Policy Matters Ohio accuses Xiamen Topstar Lighting Co. Ltd. of violating China’s labor laws and GE’s own corporate policies.

The total value of mergers and takeovers in Brazil grew 14.9 percent last year to $64.5 billion, the National Investment Banks Association said. The amount of deals between foreign companies rose nearly sevenfold compared with 2006, mainly because of the takeover of ABN Amro’s Brazilian banking operations by the Spanish group Santander.

Paris is attracting fewer American tourists because of the weak dollar and the U.S. economic downturn, the Paris tourism office said. About 1.5 million Americans visited the City of Light last year, a drop of 5.5 percent, and fewer still came to Paris in January when the figure fell 14 percent versus the previous January.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide