May 17, 2013

Briefcase

Maine tidal power company makes Popular Science cover

A Maine-based tidal power company has made the cover of Popular Science.

The cover of the magazine's June issue features one of Ocean Renewable Power Co.'s underwater turbines, which uses rotating foils that spin in the same direction, whether the tide is coming in or going out.

Last year, the company installed one of the units in Cobscook Bay and connected it to the power grid, providing enough electricity for about 25 homes. The pilot program calls for more units to be installed off eastern Maine, providing enough power for more than 1,000 homes.

The Popular Science issue focuses on five technologies that could give the nation energy independence. Ocean Renewable sees an international market for its system.

Total U.S. money market mutual fund assets fall

Total U.S. money market mutual fund assets fell $1.04 billion to $2.582 trillion for the week that ended Wednesday, according to the Investment Company Institute.

Assets of the nation's retail money market mutual funds fell $1.30 billion to $892.45 billion, the Washington-based mutual fund trade group said Thursday. Assets of taxable money market funds in the retail category fell $910 million to $705.2 billion. Tax-exempt retail fund assets fell $380 million to $187.24 billion.

Dow Chemical Co. to appeal verdict in price-fixing case

A federal judge has ordered Dow Chemical Co. to pay $1.21 billion in damages after it lost a class-action lawsuit that accused it of conspiring to fix prices. Dow says it will appeal.

The Feb. 20 jury verdict in federal court in Kansas City, Kan., was for Dow to pay $400 million in damages. The jury decided that Dow had participated in a price-fixing conspiracy for the chemical urethane, which is used in a wide variety of products.

Dow, based in Midland, Mich., had asked the judge for a new trial, and also to force the plaintiffs to try their cases individually. Both requests were denied. The final order by judge John W. Lungstrum filed on Wednesday includes a tripling of the jury verdict, as called for by U.S. antitrust law.

A statement from Dow said it believes that the jury's findings required that judgment should have been entered in the company's favor.

Ticketmaster to pay claims in rewards program lawsuit

Ticketmaster has agreed to settle claims for up to $23 million over a lawsuit affecting more than a million people who, after buying a ticket online, were enrolled in a rewards program that cost $9 a month but never gave them any benefits.

U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer in Los Angeles approved the settlement last week.

Plaintiffs' attorney Adam Gutride said affected customers will be sent an email Friday with a link to a website where they can file a claim. Each customer can get up to $30.

About 1.12 million people are eligible to file a claim. They signed up for the rewards program after buying a ticket at Ticketmaster.com between September 2004 and June 2009. The plaintiffs argued that they didn't know about the fees, which were charged to the credit or debit card used to buy the ticket.

Credit grade lowered for Berkshire Hathaway

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. had its credit grade lowered one level by Standard & Poor's after the ratings firm revised its criteria for evaluating insurance holding companies.

Berkshire was cut to AA from AA+, S&P said Thursday in a statement about the Omaha, Neb.-based company. The ratings firm said its outlook on all of Berkshire's ratings is negative.

Berkshire held the highest credit rating from S&P, Fitch Ratings and Moody's Investors Service as recently as 2009. A plunging equity market following the 2008 financial crisis hurt the value of its stock portfolio and boosted liabilities on derivatives, leading to cuts by Moody's and Fitch. The company was stripped of its last AAA rating in February 2010 by S&P after agreeing to buy railroad Burlington Northern Santa Fe for $26.5 billion

Navistar sells RV business, but not horse trailer operation

Navistar International Corp. said it sold its recreational vehicle business to Allied Specialty Vehicles Inc. No terms were disclosed.

The Lisle, Ill.-based truckmaker, is concentrating on its main business "and the sale of Navistar RV represents another important step," Chief Operating Officer Jack Allen said in a statement.

Navistar, since August, has installed a new management team as it tries to end losses. The company promoted Troy Clarke to chief executive officer in March, replacing interim boss Lewis Campbell. The company ousted Dan Ustian as CEO last year.

Allied Specialty Vehicles, based in Orlando, Florida, also entered into a leasing agreement for a Navistar recreational vehicle facility in Elkhart, Indiana, according to today's statement. The sale doesn't include Bison Coach, Navistar's horse trailer manufacturing business.

Navistar fell 0.3 percent to $36.22 at the close in New York. The shares have gained 66 percent this year, compared with a 16 percent increase for the Standard & Poor's 500 Index.

-- From staff and news services

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