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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, March 9, 2010

BUSINESS BRIEFS
Northrop Grumman won't compete for refueling tankers


Associated Press

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Wes Bush

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WASHINGTON Northrop Grumman Corp. announced yesterday that it won't compete against Boeing Co. for a $35 billion contract to build refueling tankers for the Air Force because Northrop doesn't think it can win.

The decision puts the Pentagon on a path to doing something President Obama said shouldn't happen any more: paying large amounts of money to a major defense contractor without undergoing any competition.

The decision also will probably knock out a major international competitor from gaining a foothold in the U.S. market. EADS, the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co., had partnered with Northrop Grumman to vie for the tanker but was not expected to be able to compete against Boeing on its own.

Wes Bush, Northrop chief executive officer and president, said in a statement that the Pentagon's guidelines for the program "clearly favors Boeing's smaller refueling tanker" but that the company would not file a formal protest."

UNITED SAYS IT LOST $40M IN REVENUE DUE TO STORMS

CHICAGO United Airlines says last month's back-to-back winter storms along the East Coast cost it $40 million in revenue, trumping smaller weather-related revenue losses reported by other U.S. carriers.

United's disclosure yesterday came after US Airways reported losing $30 million, Continental $25 million and Southwest $15 million. Delta and American, the nation's two largest airlines, did not report storm-related revenue losses when they disclosed February traffic figures last week.

The storms caused the cancellation of several thousand flights, many of them in a band stretching from Washington to New York.

COMPLAINTS AGAINST BANKS JUMPED IN 2009

NEW YORK Complaints to the Better Business Bureau rose nearly 10 percent last year, with banks seeing the biggest jump in unhappy customers.

Complaints about banks spiked 42 percent to 29,920 in 2009, according to the annual report released yesterday by the BBB. That made banks the third most complained about industry, after cell phones and cable- and satellite TV providers.

It was the second year in a row that banks saw a jump in complaints. Complaints about banks rose 15 percent in 2008.

IMF PROPOSES POOLING FUNDS FOR CLIMATE CHANGE

NAIROBI, Kenya The head of the International Monetary Fund yesterday proposed a plan for the world's governments to pool together to raise money needed to adapt to climate change, a rare step for an organization that normally does not develop environmental policies.

IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said the Fund is concerned about the huge amount of funding needed and the effect that will have on the global economy. He added that the proposal may help efforts to reach a binding agreement on climate change later this year.

Strauss-Kahn proposed that countries adopt a quota system similar to the one the Fund uses to raise its own money, which could bring in money faster than proposals to increase carbon taxes or other fundraising methods.

IBM CHIEF GETS SLIGHT BUMP IN PAY TO $21.2M

SAN JOSE, Calif. The pay package for IBM Corp.'s CEO rose slightly in 2009, according to calculations by The Associated Press, as he was rewarded for a year in which the technology company wrung out big profit gains despite a rocky market that clipped sales.

Sam Palmisano, 58, got a pay package valued at $21.2 million, up from $21.0 million a year earlier, according to the AP's calculations based on pay data contained in IBM's proxy document filed yesterday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The AP's calculations of executive pay sometimes differ from the totals the firms list in the summary compensation table of their proxy statements filed with the SEC.