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Economy Briefs

- - Tuesday, June 14, 2011

LAYOFFS

Lockheed space division to cut 1,200 jobs

DENVER — Aerospace and defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. plans to cut 1,200 employees in its space systems equipment division.

The company said Tuesday the cuts will be nationwide and trim the division's 16,000-person work force by nearly 8 percent. The company said middle management will be reduced by 25 percent.

The cuts will most heavily affect areas where Lockheed Martin is ending contracts, such as Sunnyvale, Calif., the Delaware Valley region of Pennsylvania, and Denver.

Lockheed said it will offer voluntary layoffs to eligible salaried employees to minimize involuntary job cuts.

The space systems division makes a variety of products, from satellites to spacecraft and missile defense systems, used by military and commercial customers. Lockheed didn't specify which programs are being ended.

TECHNOLOGY

Unlocked iPhones for sale in U.S.

NEW YORK — Apple Inc. on Tuesday started selling "unlocked" iPhones in the U.S. for the first time, allowing owners to switch carriers to a limited extent and save money when traveling.

Apple is selling them on its website and its store for $649 and $749 depending on how much memory they have. They're identical to the versions sold for use on AT&T Inc.'s network, but don't require a two-year contract.

The buyer will have to buy a Subscriber Identity Module, or SIM card, from a carrier to activate the phone. Apart from AT&T, the only national U.S. carrier that's compatible with the phone is T-Mobile USA, and it can provide only phone calls and low data speeds. Its U.S. 3G wireless high-speed data network isn't compatible with the iPhone.

GREECE

Future Central Bank chief: Greek default too costly

BRUSSELS — Mario Draghi, the likely next head of the European Central Bank, on Tuesday endorsed the bank's hard line against letting Greece default on its borrowings to lessen its crushing debt burden.

Greece, which was granted a $158 billion bailout in May 2010, needs tens of billions in additional financing over the coming years as it remains locked out of international debt markets.

The question is whether to get private sector investors to share the burden, and if so, how to do that without disrupting Europe's financial system.

SETTLEMENTS

Settlement approved in Chinese drywall case

NEW ORLEANS — A Miami-based supplier of tainted Chinese drywall agreed in a court filing Tuesday to a $55 million settlement of claims that the corrosive product damaged homes, all or nearly all of them in Florida.

The proposed settlement, which requires approval from U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon in New Orleans, would resolve claims by thousands of plaintiffs against Banner Supply Co., several related companies and Banner's insurers.

Tuesday's deal covers just a portion of the claims by homeowners who blame drywall for a host of problems, including corrosion of electrical wiring, appliances and electronics. Judge Fallon is presiding over more than 10,000 claims by residents blaming damage to their homes on Chinese drywall, which was used in construction throughout Florida and the Gulf Coast before the housing bubble burst.

Only plaintiffs whose homes contain Chinese drywall supplied by Banner would be eligible for shares of the $54.5 million settlement fund, paid by four of Banner's insurers.

From wire dispatches and staff reports