- - Thursday, February 23, 2012

CALIFORNIA

Apple CEO: Company not sure about dividends

CUPERTINO | Apple CEO Tim Cook knows this much: The world’s most valuable company has more money than it needs. But he and the rest of Apple’s board are still trying to figure out whether it makes sense to dip into the nearly $100 billion cash hoard to pay shareholders a dividend this year.

Mr. Cook indicated the board is nearing a decision during a question-and-answer session Thursday at Apple’s annual shareholders’ meeting. After acknowledging Apple Inc. doesn’t need to hold on to so much cash, he said the board is thinking “very deeply” about how to spend the money.

The hourlong meeting was a mostly jovial affair, even though it marked the first time Apple shareholders have gathered since the company’s revered co-founder and former CEO, Steve Jobs, died in October.

NEW YORK

P&G to cut 5,700 jobs in restructuring

NEW YORK | Consumer products maker Procter & Gamble Inc. said Thursday it plans to cut 5,700 jobs over the next year and a half as part of a cost-cutting plan.

Procter & Gamble says it plans to save $10 billion by the end of the fiscal year ending in June 2016.

The world’s largest consumer products maker, which makes items ranging from Luvs diapers and Bounty paper towels to Charmin toilet paper, has been experiencing slowing sales volume in the U.S. as consumers continue to spend cautiously. The company also has faced high costs for fuel, packaging and other commodities.

In addition, like other U.S. companies that do business in foreign markets, P&G isn’t getting the same benefits from foreign currency exchanges that it enjoyed last year. When the dollar is weak, as it was for most of last year, revenue raised overseas translates into more dollars when converted at headquarters.

The cost-cutting plan is an attempt to address these problems even as the Cincinnati company keeps up spending on initiatives it sees as key for its future growth. These include marketing new products like the single-unit Tide Pods in North America and expanding Oral B in Latin America.

The job cuts amount to about 10 percent of the company’s non-manufacturing workforce, and are expected to be complete by the end of the fiscal year that ends June 2013. The cuts include 1,600 jobs that P&G announced earlier this month. P&G said that even though overall head count will be reduced, hiring will continue in growth areas such as China or emerging markets.

CONNECTICUT

United Technologies cuts stock issue for Goodrich

HARTFORD | The CEO of United Technologies Corp. says the industrial conglomerate is scaling back the amount of stock to be issued to finance its $16.4 billion purchase of aerospace supplier Goodrich Corp.

It also raised its 2012 profit guidance to $5.40 to $5.60 per share from $5.30 to $5.50 a share.

Chief executive Louis Chenevert told analysts and shareholders at a conference Thursday that the company expects to issue $2 billion or less in stock, down from $4 billion that executives said could be issued.

United Technologies, based in Hartford, Conn., makes jet engines, aerospace parts and other components. It has said it’s reluctant to issue shares and was looking for alternatives that could include selling non-core businesses.

PUERTO RICO

Battery recycling company to pay EPA penalty

SAN JUAN | The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says the Battery Recycling Co. of Puerto Rico has agreed to pay a $112,500 penalty and reduce lead contamination at its facility.

The company recycles used car batteries and produces an estimated 60 tons of lead daily in the northern coastal town of Arecibo.

An EPA statement Thursday says the company will invest more than $3 million in facility upgrades and launch three environmental projects to benefit the town.

The company has agreed to finish building a system that will trap all lead dust. It will also wash all motor vehicles leaving the facility and pave roads around it, cleaning the roads up to twice a day.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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