- - Monday, November 5, 2012

DETROIT — General Motors says it has received $11 billion in credit lines from 35 financial institutions in 14 countries, boosting its available cash and credit to more than $42 billion.

The company wouldn’t say specifically what it plans to do with the money, only that it’s a source of “backup liquidity” that may be used for “strategic initiatives.”

Analysts said it could be hoarding the cash to help pay for restructuring in its troubled European operations, buying an auto finance arm in Europe from Ally Financial, or further funding its pension plans. GM also could buy back stock, specifically from the U.S. government. The U.S. Treasury Department owns 26.5 percent of the company, which it got in exchange for a $49.5 billion bailout about four years ago.


Apple sells 3M iPads in 3 days after launch

NEW YORK — Apple says it sold 3 million iPads of all kinds in the first three days it sold the new Mini model.

Apple started selling the Mini on Friday, starting at $329. It’s a third smaller than the full-size iPad.


China files WTO complaint over European solar industry

BEIJING — China has filed a World Trade Organization case challenging subsidies provided by some European Union members to promote the solar-panel industry, adding to a flurry of trade disputes Beijing is locked in with Europe and the United States.

China accuses some EU countries of providing subsidies for power generated by solar facilities in which the main components are manufactured in European countries.

The statement did not specify which countries are being targeted in the WTO case, but the official Xinhua News Agency cited a Commerce Ministry official as saying Italy and Greece provide such subsidies for projects using EU-produced solar equipment.


Netflix moves to block possible hostile takeover

NEW YORK — Netflix is moving to protect itself against hostile takeovers less than a week after activist investor Carl Icahn disclosed he has accumulated a stake of nearly 10 percent in the online video company.

Netflix Inc. said Monday that it has adopted a shareholder rights plan, also known as a poison pill. Such a plan is designed to make it difficult or even impossible for someone to take over the company without an agreement from the board. When the provision is triggered, additional shares flood the market and make it prohibitively expensive for a takeover.

The Los Gatos, Calif.-company said its plan isn’t intended to interfere with a board-approved transaction.


Blair: Iraqi economy will surge over next decade

LONDON — Former Prime Minister Tony Blair said Monday that British forces should be proud of their role in the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, citing what he claimed was major social and economic progress since the toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Mr. Blair said Iraq was likely to be one of the world’s fastest-growing economies over the next decade. He hailed drastically lower child mortality rates and trumpeted developments in the southern city of Basra, where most U.K. forces were based after the invasion.


Germany, UK propose e-commerce tax effort

MEXICO CITY — Germany and the United Kingdom proposed to the Group of 20 meeting in Mexico City Monday that the world’s biggest economies form a common front to fight tax evasion related to Internet commerce and other revenue-shifting schemes and said they received strong support.

“We’ve just been discussing it in the meeting we had. There was widespread support,” U.K. Treasury chief George Osborne told reporters.

Mr. Osborne and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble said they don’t want to scare businesses away, but said companies must pay what they owe.


U.S. service firms grow more slowly in October

U.S. service companies grew at a slightly slower pace in October than September because of a decline in new orders. But a measure of employment rose, indicating service firms hired more.

The Institute for Supply Management said Monday that its index of nonmanufacturing activity fell to 54.2. That’s down from a six-month high of 55.1 in September. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.

The report measures growth in a broad range of businesses from retail and construction companies to health care and financial services firms. The industries covered employ about 90 percent of the workforce.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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