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Business Briefs


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POSTED: Monday, April 27, 2009

COMING UP

» Tuesday: Hawaiian Holdings Inc., parent of Hawaiian Airlines, releases its first-quarter financial results after the market. The Federal Open Market Committee meets on interest rates. A rate decision will be announced on Wednesday.

» Thursday: Central Pacific Financial Corp., parent of Central Pacific Bank, releases its first-quarter financial results before the market. Alexander & Baldwin Inc. releases its first-quarter financial results after the market.

 

NATIONAL

Mesa sues Delta over contract

Phoenix-based Mesa Air Group Inc., an operator of flights for bigger carriers and the parent of interisland carrier go!, is seeking damages from Delta Air Lines Inc. in federal court in Atlanta over termination of a regional service contract last year.

The recently filed lawsuit, which is sealed, involves Delta's cancellation of a contract under which Mesa's Freedom Airlines unit operated CRJ-900 jets for Delta, Mesa General Counsel Brian Gillman said. Mesa is seeking damages, he said, without saying how much.

Delta terminated the CRJ-900 contract in August, saying flights by the smaller carrier didn't meet its performance standards. Mesa had seven of the 76-seat CRJ-900 airplanes in service and planned to add seven more this year. The smaller carrier disputed Delta's claims and said the cancellation was “;driven by Delta's stated intention to reduce capacity.”;

Last year, a federal judge ordered Delta to resume flights by Mesa's Freedom unit under a different contract for 34 smaller ERJ-145 planes, or about a fifth of Mesa's fleet.

 

College fairs drawing a crowd

CHICAGO » Attendance is booming at college fairs nationwide despite the recession—perhaps even because of it.

A drop-off in turnout might logically be expected at these free, trade show-like gatherings, where recruiters and admissions counselors from hundreds of colleges distribute brochures and pitch their schools to high school students and parents. After all, the economic crunch has seemingly put more colleges financially out of reach.

But the interest level among prospective students appears higher than ever.

Attendance is up 20 to 25 percent this academic year at the 50 national college fairs sponsored by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, expected to total 850,000 students by the time the spring season ends in mid-May. Smaller fairs sponsored by regional, local and other groups also have been busy.

 

Japanese brokerage firm loses $7.2B

TOKYO » Nomura Holdings, the Japanese brokerage firm that burst onto the global scene last year by buying pieces of failed Lehman Brothers, booked a record annual loss yesterday, joining a long list of Japanese banks, and sovereign wealth funds from Asia and the Middle East, that have had punishing losses from their multibillion-dollar investments in Western financial giants.

Nomura, the largest brokerage house in Japan, acquired the Asian, European and Middle Eastern businesses of Lehman in September. The acquisition costs and extensive trading losses drove Nomura's net loss to Yen709 billion, or $7.2 billion, for the year ended March 31, the brokerage firm said.

Investors like Temasek Holdings in Singapore, which invested $8.3 billion in Merrill Lynch, and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority of the United Arab Emirates, which provided Citigroup with $7.5 billion, now have huge paper losses because banking problems have battered the value of their holdings.

 

Pension plans no longer an option for most

Most workers in the U.S. today do not have a defined benefit plan. These plans, commonly called pensions, were common in previous generations of workers.

Companies paid into these pensions and workers did not have to contribute. They have largely been replaced by defined contribution plans, which include 401(k) plans.

Employees typically contribute the largest share to these plans frequently with some company match.

 

Total recall

» Alternative Baking Co. Inc. is recalling several types of chocolate chip cookies with code dates of 015 through 036 because the chips appear to contain undeclared milk.

People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk run the risk of a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume the product.

The products caused reactions in a few children who are highly allergic to milk, according to reports the company received from parents.

The recalled cookies were wrapped and sold individually in retail stores and online. For more information, consumers can call 888-488-9725.