Economy Briefs: Texas utility settles with creditors

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TEXAS

HOUSTON Utility company Dynegy Inc. said Wednesday that it reached an agreement with creditors that will allow the company to move forward with bankruptcy proceedings for one of its subsidiaries.

The agreement ends disputes over $2.5 billion in claims related to Dynegy Holdings LLC. The agreement will be filed as a settlement in the Dynegy Holdings Chapter 11 bankruptcy case, and must still be approved by the court and agreed to by other creditors who have not yet signed on to the deal. Dynegy Holdings LLC and four of its subsidiaries filed for bankruptcy protection on Nov. 7, with a plan to restructure $4 billion in debt.

Dynegy CEO Robert Flexon said the settlement could end legal disputes that might have dragged on for years. He said the company is now on track to put the Dynegy Holdings Chapter 11 case behind it during the third quarter.

Dynegy, based in Houston, operates power plants and sells electricity on the open market. It has struggled for years with falling electricity prices and infighting among investors over competing takeover offers. Its credit ratings have suffered as well.

CALIFORNIA

British online service to carry Disney film

LOS ANGELES British online movie service Blinkbox will start carrying Disney movies, many of them for rent on the same day they are released for sale.

Included in the deal announced Wednesday is “War Horse,” the Steven Spielberg-directed movie distributed by the Walt Disney Co. It was released Tuesday for sale on disc.

Disney has allowed movies to be rented online on the same day they are released for sale as DVDs or Blu-ray discs.

“War Horse,” for example, was also available to rent online at Amazon.com in the U.S. It was also available from Netflix as a mail-order disc or from cut-rate rental kiosk Redbox. Blinkbox isn’t available in the U.S.

British supermarket chain operator Tesco PLC bought Blinkbox last year.

INDONESIA

World Bank: Jakarta’s deficit could top 3 percent

JAKARTA Indonesia’s budget deficit may surpass 3 percent - the threshold set by law - if there is no fuel-price hike this year, the World Bank said Wednesday.

Indonesia’s parliament last week blocked the government’s plan to raise fuel prices by 33 percent this month. It allowed a future hike only if the six-month average price of Indonesian crude soars 15 percent above $105 per barrel that is currently budgeted.

The current six-month average stands at $116.49 per barrel.

A World Bank report estimated that the deficit could rise from the current estimate of 2.2 percent to 3.1 percent if there is no adjustment to subsidized fuel prices and oil prices average $120 per barrel over the coming year.

The World Bank said it would be more productive to redirect the subsidies, which disproportionately benefit richer households, toward promoting economic growth.

“Effective spending on infrastructure and education, along with measures to improve the business climate, could potentially boost Indonesia’s growth rate up to 7 percent or higher,” said Shubham Chaudhuri, the World Bank’s lead economist for Indonesia.

GERMANY

Daimler reaffirms ‘12 earnings target despite sales rise

BERLIN Daimler AG is reaffirming its forecast that earnings will be steady this year even though its core Mercedes-Benz Cars unit saw deliveries rise in the first quarter.

Daimler said ahead of its annual general meeting on Wednesday that Mercedes-Benz Cars sold more than 340,000 vehicles in the January-March period - a 12 percent increase compared with a year earlier. It said its trucks division saw sales rise 20 percent to 107,000.

The company says it expects total unit sales to increase “significantly” in 2012 and revenues to grow, but that it is still targeting the 2011 level of pretax earnings of $12 billion.

Daimler says global car markets should grow by 4 percent this year. CEO Dieter Zetsche says he hopes Mercedes will do better than that.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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