December 15, 2009 in Business

Business in brief: Exxon to buy XTO Energy

 

Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, is making a $29 billion bet that pressure to curb climate change will mean natural gas – cleaner than coal and suddenly much easier to reach – will become a crucial source of U.S. power.

Exxon agreed to buy XTO Energy in an all-stock deal at a 25 percent premium, showing how eagerly a company that is among the most conservative in a conservative industry is jumping into the market for natural gas.

As negotiators haggled in Copenhagen over a global plan to curb carbon emissions, the deal suggested Exxon sees change coming for an energy source best known now for heating homes.

Associated Press

Frenchtown mill will be closed

MISSOULA – Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. has announced it is permanently closing mills near Frenchtown, Mont., and Ontonagon, Mich.

The Frenchtown mill has 417 employees and will continue operating until Dec. 31. The University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research said the average job at Smurfit-Stone paid more than $70,000 in 2008.

The bureau estimates the closure will remove $45 million in payroll and benefits from the Missoula-area economy.

The Ontonagon mill ceased operations in September. It had 182 employees.

Smurfit-Stone President and Chief Operating Officer Steve Klinger said Monday the Frenchtown and Ontonagon facilities do not provide adequate returns over the long term.

Associated Press

Airline crews plan holiday strikes

LONDON – British Airways cabin crews will strike over Christmas, their union said Monday, throwing the plans of thousands of holiday travelers into uncertainty at one of the busiest times of the year.

Strikes are to begin Dec. 22 and run until Jan. 2, said Len McCluskey, the assistant general secretary for Britain’s Unite union. McCluskey said 92.5 percent of workers voted in favor of striking.

Shares in BA fell 0.7 percent immediately after the strike announcement but rebounded and closed Monday down 0.2 percent at 201.0 pence ($3.28).

The struggling carrier has announced sweeping changes as part of its bid to cut costs, including axing 1,700 jobs, freezing pay for current staff and offering lower wages for new employees. Associated Press


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