- - Monday, May 30, 2011

IRELAND

Government rules out second bailout, to test market

DUBLIN — Ireland’s government moved Monday to quash speculation that it would be forced to seek a second EU-IMF bailout and said it would make a tentative return to international debt markets in the final quarter of next year.

Dublin is trying to distance itself from the woes of eurozone struggler Greece, which is trying to avoid a potentially devastating default and seems certain to require a second bailout to plug a looming funding gap.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan categorically ruled out Dublin requiring a top-up to its 85 billion-euro rescue package, seeking to limit the fallout from a cabinet colleague’s warning over the weekend that another bailout may be needed.

Mr. Noonan said Dublin would test market sentiment for Irish debt in the final quarter of 2012 after a two-year hiatus.

ENERGY

Canadian utility to buy a U.S. power company

The Canadian utility Fortis Inc. said Monday that it will purchase electricity distributor Central Vermont Public Service Corp. for about $470 million to get a foothold in the U.S. energy market.

Fortis will pay $35.10 per share in cash for CVPS. That represents a premium of $10.78, or about 44 percent, to the closing price of CVPS shares Friday. Fortis also will assume the utility’s debt of $230 million.

CVPS shareholders and regulatory agencies still have to approve the deal, which should happen in six to 12 months, Fortis said.

Fortis said it expects to grow in the U.S. and the purchase would add to earnings within the first year.

CVPS provides electricity to two-thirds of the cities and towns in Vermont. It will keep its headquarters in Rutland and act as an autonomous business following the acquisition, Fortis said.

Fortis provides gas and electricity to roughly 2.1 million customers in Canada. It said it is the country’s largest investor-owned distribution utility and had total revenue in the past fiscal year of about $3.7 billion.

RUSSIA

Former oil tycoon files for parole

MOSCOW — A jailed former Russian oil tycoon kept up his fight against the Kremlin on Monday, filing for parole after last week’s court decision to keep him in jail for 13 years.

Once Russia’s richest man, Mikhail Khodorkovsky was arrested in 2003 after falling out with then-President Vladimir Putin in a case his supporters say is politically motivated.

Khodorkovsky and his business partner, Platon Lebedev, were sentenced to remain in prison until 2017 at a second trial in December, but last week a Moscow court reduced that by one year to a total of 13 years.

The two will now remain in prison well into 2016. Khodorkovsky has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. Last week’s ruling gave Khodorkovsky, who has served half of the sentence, the right to be pardoned without pleading guilty.

Their previous attempts for parole have been dismissed by the authorities. The European Court of Human Rights is to consider the case on Tuesday.

TECHNOLOGY

Show to feature Apple tablet challengers

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Computer manufacturers of all sizes and descriptions have been pushing to get a piece of the ever-expanding tablet market created by the launch of Apple’s iPad in April 2010.

The obsession with tablet computing will be on full display Tuesday as Computex, the world’s second-largest computer show, begins its annual five-day run in Taipei. The prominence of tablets underscores a dramatic shift in the personal computer industry — and keenly felt in Taiwan, which is home to some of the world’s biggest PC manufacturers — as many consumers opt to buy a tablet rather than a new PC.

Computex will feature more than 50 tablet models, organizer Taipei Computer Association said, with big names including Lenovo Group Ltd. and Toshiba Corp. having their products displayed.

AUTO

Fiat willing to buy Canada’s Chrysler stock

TORONTO — The chief executive officer of Chrysler and Fiat says he and Canadian authorities have begun talking about purchasing Canada’s 1.7 percent ownership in Chrysler.

The Canadian federal government and provincial Ontario government received 1.7 percent of Chrysler two years ago as part of a bailout that also provided $1.7 billion in loans to help the Detroit company survive.

Chrysler, already controlled by Fiat, recently paid back the last of the money it borrowed from the Canadian and American governments. Fiat then began the process of buying the shares owned by the U.S. government.

Chief executive Sergio Marchionne said Monday that he and Canada’s finance minister discussed the sale. He said the company is quite willing to consider purchasing Canada’s interest.

From wire dispatches and staff reports