- - Wednesday, March 21, 2012


HP merges company’s computer, printer units

SAN FRANCISCO | Hewlett-Packard said Tuesday that it’s combining its computer and printer units to free up more cash for innovation in the rapidly evolving technology market.

HP will combine its Imaging and Printing Group and its Personal Systems Group (PSG) into an entity headed by Tom Bradley, who has been PSG executive vice president since 2005.

HP declined to comment when asked whether the corporate reorganization would result in a cut in its workforce.

“We have no specific announcements about changes to headcount at this time,” an HP spokesman told Agence France-Presse.

The move comes as growth in the printer market, once a gold mine for the company, slows to a trickle and people increasingly turn to smartphones and tablets for their Internet needs.

HP last month reported lower quarterly net profit and revenue as slumping personal computer sales dragged down earnings at the world’s largest computer maker.


Kraft Foods to rename snacks company Mondelez

NORTHFIELD | Kraft Foods Inc. announced Wednesday that its new global snacks company will be named Mondelez International Inc.

Mondelez was inspired by the suggestions of two Kraft employees. It is intended to evoke the idea of a “delicious world,” as “monde” is derived from the Latin word for “world” and “delez” calls to mind “delicious.”

Kraft announced in August that it would be splitting in two by the end of 2012 so both sides of the business could focus better on their priorities.

The North American grocery business will continue to carry the company name as Kraft Foods Group Inc., selling products such as Maxwell House coffee and Oscar Mayer meats. Its larger global snacks business will take on the new name to sell Trident gum and Cadbury chocolates in fast-growing countries worldwide.

Kraft said it asked employees from around the world to suggest names for the new company. More than 1,000 employees submitted more than 1,700 names for consideration. Mondelez International is a mix of suggestions from two employees one in Europe and one in North America.


Hartford exiting annuity business, refocusing efforts

HARTFORD | Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. is exiting the annuity business so it can focus on its property and casualty insurance, group benefits and mutual funds.

The company said that it also is looking to sell or pursue other options for its individual life and retirement plan segments and broker-dealer Woodbury Financial Services. It will continue to seek new business in them in the meantime.

Christopher Swift, executive vice president and chief financial officer, said in a statement that the individual life, Woodbury Financial Services and retirement plans “will be better positioned for success as part of other organizations.”

Credit Suisse’s Thomas Gallagher said in a client note that Hartford could get between $2 billion and $3 billion by selling the businesses.

Hartford’s announcement comes a little over a month after hedge-fund manager John Paulson urged the company to spin off its property and casualty insurance business, saying that it could boost Hartford’s value to shareholders by 40 percent to 60 percent. He added that breaking up the company would allow management of each new company to focus on what it does best while making each new company more streamlined.

At that time, Hartford said it would review Mr. Paulson’s plan but warned that a breakup wouldn’t be easy.

Mr. Paulson’s hedge fund, Paulson & Co. Inc., owns an 8.4 percent stake in Hartford. A representative for the hedge fund could not be reached immediately for comment.

Mr. Gallagher says Hartford’s plan doesn’t achieve the legal separation of businesses that Mr. Paulson was urging.


Frankfurt airport reaches deal with ground staff

BERLIN | A union representing ground staff at Germany’s Frankfurt airport said Wednesday it has reached a deal in its long-running pay dispute with airport operator Fraport AG, ensuring there won’t be more strikes at continental Europe’s second-largest hub.

GdF union spokesman Matthias Maas said both sides agreed to settle the dispute and hammer out the details of a new work contract for the 200 ground staffers by early next week.

“We have an agreement. There will be no further strikes,” Mr. Maas said.

The ground staff’s walkouts over the past weeks had caused sizable disruption and caused hundreds of flight cancellations.

“For our passengers and our employees, we welcome that a definitive agreement has been reached,” Fraport’s head of labor relations, Herbert Mai, said in a statement.

Fraport accepted the union’s demand to have a separate collective bargaining agreement for the 200 ground workers, both sides said.

Neither the union nor Fraport provided further details of the agreement.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports



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