Companies with underfunded pension plans should be required to provide information on the condition of their plans as part of an overhaul of the pension insurance system, the head of the federal agency that backs them said Friday.
The executive director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., Bradley D. Belt, spoke a week after Senate leaders broke an impasse over the legislation, allowing the House and Senate to begin talks on how to safeguard the promised benefits of millions of Americans who have defined-benefit pension plans.
Lawmakers’ goal is to send a bill to President Bush by April 15. Without new legislation by then, companies will have to use an old interest rate formula to calculate their pension funding obligations that could drive up what they owe to their funds.
EU: Microsoft still not in compliance
The European Commission told Microsoft Corp. on Friday that it was “still not in compliance” with a 2004 antitrust ruling that ordered it to share information with rivals to make their software work with Microsoft servers.
The EU has already threatened the company with 2 million euros ($2.4 million) in daily fines, backdated to Dec. 15, and said it will make its final decision after a hearing for Microsoft to plead its case later this month.
“The Commission takes the preliminary view that this information continues to be incomplete and inaccurate,” the regulators said in a statement, basing their view on two reports from independent experts who looked at the latest version Microsoft had submitted.
Mining firm buys Kettle Drilling
Timberline Resources Corp., a junior mining company, has purchased Kettle Drilling Inc. for $4.8 million in cash and stock.
Kettle Drilling of Coeur d’Alene will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Timberline, with operation remaining in the hands of Kettle’s principals, Doug Kettle and Dave Deeds. Kettle, a contract drilling firm, had revenues of more than $5 million last year. The company does work in both the U.S. and Mexico.
Timberline is based in Spokane. Its stock is quoted on the OTC Bulletin Board under the symbol “TBLC.”